Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ryan's Rants, The Project $10 Edition

Electronic Arts has recently announced a "new" feature that will be included with their sports titles, which has playfully been titled Project $10. Their plan is to charge gamers $10 in order to access online features, including online matches and updated rosters.

I call it "new" because this feature has been used in games for a while. For example Battlefield 2 comes with a VIP code which offers the game's first downloadable content for free, so the gamer basically ends up saving $10. This same reward comes with a lot of new games but most companies.

Some people are claiming that this added bonus for new game purchases is aimed to hurt used game retailers, like Gamestop, because EA gains no profit from used game sales. I disagree. Retailers will make this money back anyway they can. What they will do is offer gamers less money for their trade ins, then resell the game for just enough that shoppers will still save money by buying used games. For example (math alert!!!) Skate 3, one of EA's most recent releases, retails new at Gamestop for $59.99, they sell it used for $49.99. At this price they would make a lot more money off the used copy then the new copy. What will happen is instead of offering say $30 to someone who is trading this game in, they will now only offer $25 and will sell it for $47.99. Before they sold it for $50 and bought it for $30, making a $20 profit, now they sell for $48 and buy it for $25, making a $23 profit. On top of this, gamers trade in games and use the money they make to buy more games.

I would argue that it will affect gamers that are selling these games (AKA their customers), not the stores that buy and resell them.

At least for me, I sell just about every game I buy. I'll buy it, play it for a couple months, then list it on eBay. I generally make more money on eBay then I would if I traded it in somewhere. This $10 charge doesn't affect me very much because I rarely play EA Sports games online. I recently looked at my Xbox Live games played list and I had one game of Madden 10, that ended badly. I was leading by two touchdowns when my opponent abandoned the game. Instead of giving me a victory, it gave my opponent an abandoned game and my record stayed at 0-0. That is the exact moment I stopped playing Madden online, after one game.

Instead, I will probably be able to get a little more when I list it on eBay, because my copy will come with the online access code.

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