I recently read an editorial piece on Gamespot called Buying Used Games as a Matter of Principle.  In it, the author lays out his reasoning behind buying used games to punish companies that discourage used sales.

While I can appreciate his sentiment, I think he’s missing the point on this one.  This is not an “us against them” issue between consumers and publishers.  As in all markets, there is a constant back-and-forth pull between the prices that they want to charge and the prices we are willing to pay.  Somewhere in the middle lies the market value of the product.

I want to get my games at the cheap, used-games prices; and it is the demand that I am creating that continues to feed companies like GameStop.  Incidentally, I think THAT is the source of the problem.  When they have middlemen reselling their products at ridiculously marked-up prices, it’s no wonder that the developers want to figure out a way to stifle this process.

So how can I, as a gamer, get the games at the prices I want and still allow the publishers to continue to make a profit months (or years) after launch?  Also, how can a developer get its games into the hands of the gamers at properly marginal prices without losing the sales to the used game market?

I think the answer is digital delivery.

While I want to pay used-game prices, I still want my money to go to the developer.  Digital delivery lets me do that.  Digital services like Steam, GOG, XBLA, PSN, WiiWare, and OnLive give me a chance to dabble with older games at deeply discounted prices and still ensure that the developers are getting my money.