Crytek believes blocking used on next-gen "would be absolutely awesome"

Crytek's director of creative development says it's "weird" that second-hand is allowed

The next PlayStation and Xbox consoles have been rumored to introduce anti-used games technology for some time, and while some doubt it'll actually happen, others, like industry veteran Richard Browne, would love the console makers to employ the "Nuclear Option" and completely block used titles. Crytek would seem to fall into that camp as well, judging by recent comments from Rasmus Hojengaard, Crytek's director of creative development.

When Hojengaard was asked by CVG what he thought about the rumored initiative to block pre-owned, he said, "From a business perspective that would be absolutely awesome. It's weird that [second-hand] is still allowed because it doesn't work like that in any other software industries, so it would be great if they could somehow fix that issue as well."

In addition to used sales, Crytek says it's been hurt quite a bit by piracy. Crysis 2 was one of the most pirated games in recent memory, with the PC version alone having been illegally downloaded about four million times. That's a scenario Crytek would like to avoid with the recently revealed Crysis 3.

"We obviously want to avoid that this time, but even if we can convert 25 percent of those gamers into paying customers [you have an extra million sales]," Hojengaard said.

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Latest comments (30)

James Prendergast Research Chemist 7 years ago
The question is whether you believe that software is uniquely allowed to do this or not in comparison with every other creative/business (that aren't services) work out there. So i guess:

"From a business perspective that would be absolutely awesome. It's weird that [second-hand] is still allowed because it doesn't work like that in any other software industries, so it would be great if they could somehow fix that issue as well."

Could be one way to look at it. The other would be why other software industries are allowed to get away with it (disregarding service industries once again).
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Graeme Foote Lead Writer, Lupiesoft7 years ago
How long do you think any proposal to make it impossible to sell on DVDs, Blu-Rays, CDs, Books, etc. would last? I'm sure there are publishers in those industries who would like to do that but they know it just won't work as it would do more harm than good.

It's true second hand is much larger in games than anywhere else, but one might suggest that the price points set by publishers forced that on them. Instead of letting budgets bloat and punishing the customers with higher price points to make a profit, why don't companies try actually managing their resources properly instead of blaming those nasty customers.
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Gregor Burns Environment artist 7 years ago
"It's weird that [second-hand] is still allowed because it doesn't work like that in any other software industries"
Wait a sec, other software is for productive or service purposes. Games are entertainment, like movies. He's comparing apples and oranges. You should block any 2nd hand DVDs with interactive menus using that philosophy
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 7 years ago
If Crytek really dislike the pre-owned market then why didn't they didn't add an Online Pass to Crysis 2?

I can see both sides of the argument, but I do think locking software to an account or console is bad for the consumer and MS and/or Sony would lose a lot of fans if they did it. Surely the Online Pass is the fairest way of ensuring everyone profits from each sale, even if the stage at which it becomes necessary is lowered so you cannot play a pre-owned game without first paying £8/$10 to the publisher.

On the other hand, if next generation trading games in is no longer an option I will most likely buy fewer games on launch and buy more new when they hit the £15 region. If there is no trade-in value against a product then you are taking a bigger risk buying it as there is no chance of recouping some of that money if you dislike the game.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Terence Gage on 25th April 2012 5:02pm

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Morris Kanyowa Studying MA Games Art, University of Hertfordshire7 years ago
I say go with just an online pass

You have to remember some people can only afford pre owned stuff but they do buy new stuff every now and again.

Think about university students, the unemployed etc etc. Blocking used games will def lead to chipped/bootleg consoles and super pirating. I love what iOS games are doing with the ads and coins and all that
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CK Hicks Developer, Writer 7 years ago
This proposal removes one of the fundamental pillars of gaming: social equity.

There is a lage amount of simple respect between peers at the used/second-hand gaming level. "Oh, you have that game? Can I play it for a while? Here's one of mine you can use in the meantime." It harkens back to the basic swap mentality that keeps the market fresh.

How about this: if people could no longer use second-hand games, what happens to those of us old-timers that still take games to someone's house to play with them?

We destroy the REAL LIFE social element of gaming if second-hand goes away. Since many games nowadays already do away with split-screen experiences, perhaps this is no big deal to some. What I fear, is that it will drive our REAL LIFE social interactions further into non-existence, solidifying gaming as a hobby that can only be experienced by yourself. This is unhealthy, unnatural, and would be completely unfounded if proposed when the first games were created.
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Simply put, second-hand games exist because the games suck: there's no mystery to it, your game sucks, the customers regrets having wasted a good chunk of their money ($50-$60) and their time (which won't come back!) so they'll try at least to get some bucks back for their trouble.

There has always been second-hand for lots of entertainment media (books, music, films, etc) including games, but if its a problem right now then it's because the whole Industry sucks and therefore is releasing games that suck and are not worth the price they're asking for them. But instead of admitting it's the Industry's fault for making such third-rate games (with first-rate price tags), they blame the second-hand market, which is tantamount to blaming the customers for not liking their games. And nothing good will come out from this.
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 7 years ago
@ CK Hicks

Good point. I suppose given how hard MS have been pushing Kinect over the last 18 months as this magical social platform, it would be a little at odds with that if you couldn't take Dance Central 3 or Kinect Sports 3 over a friend's house to play.

On the other hand, I think this is exactly why Nintendo will never introduce any such schemes - the Wii has been built around social gaming and they'll want to retain some of that with the Wii U, even if it's not the platform's sole focus. If MS and Sony were to go down this path (I think MS are more likely to but still suspect neither will do it if the other doesn't also) then it would make Nintendo look really appealing to a lot of folk as they won't be implementing these anti-consumer restrictions.
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Corey Fong Director of Marketing, Flashman Studios7 years ago
I completely agree. I think blocking used game sales is going to stifle the industry. And really, this is coming at a bad time where the economy is down and sales on games are down across the board. This will do more harm than good.

However, it isn't the publishers setting the price point. It is first party that set's the prices, royalty rates, and margins that both publisher's and retail make.

Publisher's make strategic choices on the quality of the title and what price point to go out at. The higher the price point means a longer life cycle at retail as they will drop price to drive more sales, drop again drive more sales, until the title no longer sells and retailers stop taking it in. It's just the way it works as retailers only have so much physical retail space to allocate to product.

I think though, blocking used game sales is going to directly affect new game sales. Not all people have disposable income to constantly buy 4-5 new games a month.

IMO, if publishers don't like seeing retailers like Gamestop make so much money of used game sales, then I say, "quit whining about it" and get into the used game business via their online stores. They don't want to build the infrastructure and investment it takes to setup a business like that, but they're willing to screw their own customer to prevent it.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 7 years ago
Were these dopes who keep slamming used games born this century or have they ONLY played games since the Halo days? So, does this mean I now need to throw out my 2000+ games collection or sift through all of them and pay a royalty on any used games I've ever purchases since around 1980 or so?

What, Crytek also wants to shut off trades between gamers who get fed up with this nonsense and want to drop out from using retail to get rid of used titles? What about the rather large amount of console gamers (that the industry chooses to IGNORE) with shitty broadband worldwide who not only can't USE a damn online pass (or ANY DLC, for that matter, which is losing a lot of money for ALL publishers who embrace the model), buy NEW games when they can afford them and USED when they can't?

If anything, all killing the used market off with DLC and online-only crap will do is crash the industry into the ground harder than in the 80's. I've been saying this for years, but of course, if things got hat way, at least I'll have stockpiled a nice collection I can use offline without anyone knowing what I play, when I play it or whatever forced information we're all accustomed to coughing up these days through social profiling.
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James Landi Web Journalists | PC Gaming Advocate 7 years ago
"From a business perspective that would be absolutely awesome. It's weird that [second-hand] is still allowed because it doesn't work like that in any other software industries, so it would be great if they could somehow fix that issue as well."

In "any other software industries" means you install said software and use a unique key to unlock said software. In the console world, you don't install anything, it's run from the disc thus.... if you sell the disc to someone else, you no longer get to play the game. The other person does.

I really hope Microsoft and Sony implement this new feature so they can kill their respected console platforms off. Then developers can move to a better platform like handheld and maybe back to PC with F2P (you know to curb all that piracy).

Hey lets blame the customers for our terrible games.....
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Hugo Dubs Interactive Designer 7 years ago
Killing second hand games market is going to hurt so much retailers... There is more than a few coins to loose for them, versus a little extra for publishers.

By the way, where does this guy get info on piracy downloads? Don't think those number are exacts, and I really would like to know where to access such datas.
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 7 years ago
My gaming days will soon be over. I feel a very strong sense of oppression over items I work hard to purchase. This will feed piracy... because if Im gonna be screwed even when i do spend money UYING an item, might as well get a cracked copy and not deal with online passes and crap. What they want for you is to spend money on stuff that truly does not belong to you. So why spend it in the first place?

And that sucks I think the EKGaming alternative to distribute royalties on used goods is the way to go. Now a days i cant play a game at a friends house unless I drag my entire playstation there. Cause my playstation and game are connected to some online account.

Honestly Crysis is nothing special, the market is saturated with first person shooters. Plenty of other games to play. And quite frankly, they are so many I wont even get around to playing any of there games. Good luck selling me your games. As I wouldnt even bother to buy used or pirate a copy.

But the biggest issue I have is that i like gaming and I spend money on it. But when so many restrictions are enforced on goods you spend money on, I ask myself why spend money on something that doesnt really belong to you? Its easy to want to want to get items through other "means" when your being jerked around too much.

On second thought I bought a copy of Xenoblade and placed a preorder for Last Story.

Edited 5 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 26th April 2012 6:24pm

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Josh Meier7 years ago
How does Crytek know that anyone who pirated their game would actually buy it if the option to pirate was impossible?
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Weston Sohlden7 years ago
They don't. Number of illegal copies downloaded a very (very) "optimistic" out look. The number of illegal copies downloaded =/= the number of sales or even potential sales lost.
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Tin Katavic Studying MSc-Games Technology, University of Abertay Dundee7 years ago
I cant help it but when I read statements like Cryteks I can help but feel they are greedy. Its probably cause for now I am on the other side of the game market. :D
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Andrew Jakobs Lead Programmer 7 years ago
I don't really understand the bitching at blocking second hand, it's not like you can sell your 'Steam/iStore/Android Marketplace/Windowsstore/whatever digital store' games, and nobody complains about those.
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James Verity7 years ago
If a game only provides 7-10 hours of single player value and people choose to sell it, that's an issue with game design, and should not be blamed on the consumer or the used game market. If the game had value, it wouldn't be re-sold so quickly...

btw: looks like Crytek will see a bigger increase in piracy on their products due to saying such stupid things that pee off there potential customer base... but thats their own fault...

@Andrew Jakobs an iOS title dosnt sell for £40+ for a start, second it isn't locked to one device, thats why customers don't bitch about the sub £5 title they just bought as a digital download...

Edited 2 times. Last edit by James Verity on 25th April 2012 7:59pm

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Bryan Robertson Gameplay Programmer, Ubisoft Toronto7 years ago
While it's true that there are inefficiencies in game development, the reason that game budgets are increasing is that games are getting more and more complex. If you want AAA game budgets to decrease again, then games are going to have to get simpler. But this isn't going to happen unless consumers are happy with less fancy graphics and less game features. Right now, releasing a game with inferior graphics or less features than your competitor is commercial suicide.

It's also worth pointing out that game prices have been pretty constant over the past couple of decades, and haven't increased in-line with inflation, so games are cheaper than they've ever been.
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Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus7 years ago
Hey, it's cool, Crytek! I haven't bought any of your games, new or used, so don't sweat it, it'll be like nothing ever changed!
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Peter Stirling Software Engineer, Firelight Technologies7 years ago
It will happen and it will work. People will bitch an moan just like they did with Steam in the early days. Steam has been an amazing success at turning many pirates into paying customers as can be seen in Russia. This is a great step forward in directing more of the revenue back to the people that actually make the games.
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Harrison Smith Studying Games and Graphics Programming, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology7 years ago
I love how they only think about themselves and not about the affects of the consumers. It's like the consumers are all in the wrong for purchasing used games, and it the developers right to not allow them to perform such an act.
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Boris Vigec Technical Art Director, Zootfly7 years ago
Do they really think that everybody that bought a used game or pirated one would actually buy a full overpriced one? That's not how it works. You can not just assume that.

Think about the consumer for once!

And what's really "weird" is that they are actually that greedy. How would you feel if you were to sell your used book and the author came to your door demanding his share. A game is an entertainment item, same as a movie or a book.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Boris Vigec on 26th April 2012 5:37am

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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 7 years ago

This needs proper analogies. :)

A game is not like a movie. A movie is single-use only, social or romantic experience.

Books are cheaper than games, so if people can't sell their copy of A Game of Thrones, they just give it to a charity shop, because, hey, why not.

The console sales model really should follow the example of PC. Single use codes, either for the entire game (like Steam), or for certain content (Project 10 dollar). It might annoy people to put-in a code before they start their game, but it will annoy them less than blocking second-hand entirely for no apparent reason. People already install their games on consoles for faster loading times (or just because they have to - PSN and XBLA purchases), but tying a game to a machine is just shockingly bad mechanics. What's wrong with having a game tied to a PSN account, not a PS3? It would immediately solve the issue of lending games to friends - remove any credit card info from the account, then let your friend play on your account whilst you go to work, or out on a date.
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James Prendergast Research Chemist 7 years ago
@Bryan Robertson:

That comparison doesn't really hold true now, does it?

Yes the upfront costs have increased but the downstream costs have been reduced (packaging/formats) and at the same time the market/audience for games has increased several fold.

If the second two hadn't happened then, yes, the cost of an individual unit of a game would be more expensive but they have happened and they can generate far more revenue than is lost by the "exploding" cost of development.

Let's face it: If publishers and developers thought that they needed to increase prices and that the market would bear it (thinking about the curve of price/units sold here) and it would generate more revenue then they would be on it in a minute. Do not think that because prices have remained "stable" that there's some sort of unfair balance or kindness being proffered by publishers and developers on their markets.
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Sarah Carter Studying MSc Computer Games Technology, University of Abertay Dundee7 years ago
@Peter Stirling: I'm not sure that's a fair comparison. Steam simply made buying games from them simple, cheap and easy. Easier than going to the store and easier than pirating, while at the same time making them pretty affordable. The fact that Steam allowed players to play their game on any device and keep them no matter whether their hard drive melted also helped convert people. Simply blocking the used game market on the consoles wouldn't really be the same thing at all. Stonewalling an option isn't the same as providing a better alternative.
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David Radd Senior Editor, IndustryGamers7 years ago
Agreed Sarah. When you think about things from a customer service perspective, taking away an option that users have always to trade/borrow/sell their physical games and expecting everyone to be fine with it is mildly naive. It strikes me as a last ditch effort to try and make some more money, and with all the other factors making it difficult to make a profit with AAA games, I'm not confident it will work.

If publishers/developers want a product that users cannot resell, offer it completely via digital. If that's at retail, that means a code on a card. But if it's on a disc that's locked, the industry will have to endure the confusion and hurt feelings from consumers no longer able to trade/borrow/sell their games.
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Boris Vigec Technical Art Director, Zootfly7 years ago
The games today are way overpriced. They should think about lowering the prices to solve their problems. If the games were cheaper I wouldn't buy them used.
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John Bye Lead Designer, Freejam7 years ago
The (unverified) reports about the PS4 system were that once you locked the game to your PSN account you could redownload it any time you wanted. Currently you can have your PSN account active on a few different systems at once and share your games across all of them. So you could still take a game round to a friend's house and play it on their console, you'd just need to login as yourself. If that's the case, it doesn't sound too odious.

I'm not quite clear how that works if you trade the game in - does it somehow become deactivated on your account (maybe at the point someone else activates your old copy), or can you keep playing your installed copy after reselling it and the only catch is that the new owner has to pay a fee to unlock it.
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 7 years ago
The biggest issue I have with all these methods to control how people buy games, is that i like gaming and I spend money on it. But when so many restrictions are enforced on goods you spend money on, I ask myself why spend money on something that doesnt really belong to you?

As much as I like buying my games new, bug free and legal... piracy and black market goods seem more attractive, even with all the bugs and crap that come from cracking serial codes and missing patches. i say this because they will actually make piracy more attractive. When now a days people feel more compelled to buy new stuff because its easier to get a hold of, providing the price is right.

Its easy to want to want to get items through other "means" when your being jerked around too much. Future consoles want to prohibit used games buy not only registering a game to an online account, but possibly maintaining a constant conection and tie-ing games to a console. So what happens when my console breaks?

They also want to sell you parts of a game after you spent 60$ playing half of it. Then there is memory, storage space, which is cheap, but they want to sell expensive like in the case of the VITA.

You cant go to a friends house to play a game to lend it to them. You have to drag your entire console with cables and all to have a nice time with friends. The gaming industry pretends we lock ourselves up in a room, with virtual friends, people we have never seen and have a good time? You cant even lend a game to a friend without breaking the law or spendin MORE money? WTF man?!

On top of all this there is the issue of backwards compatibility. With SONY now expects gamers to buy all "their" PS3 games again, if they want to play on their next console. And some games like dragons crown, have a PS3 and VITA version. Dragons Crown can easily be played on both consoles with the same software. But NO, they expect you to buy it twice. SONY expects you to buy every game you "own" again for every new device they make. WTF is wrong with em? Id like to play "Hardcorps Uprising" on VITA as well as my PS3. it would be nice to be able to play games at home and continue them on the go. VITA looks like it can handle it. But NO. If a version does come for VITA, Ill be expected to BUY it again.

And then the issue of game saves where you need a differant save for each device, thats strapped to that device and the device strapped to an account, which your game is also strapped on to. So I cant simply play on a friends device either.

I think a happy medium like the one presented by EKGaming is worth a try. i also think if you own a game you should be able to play it on multiple devices and move game saves around. Some PS3 games, the PS VITA can shurely handle.

The EKGaming option, will lower cost of new games, increase developer revenue and production resources, plus give people freedom of choice on how they purchase and play as well as share. People can still buy used games and developers get income off it. And us gamers dont feel like we are under a dictator leadership where all our actions are being manipulated and monitored constantly, for the sake of squeezing every penny out of us, because we are evil and deserve to be punished for taking a game to a friends house down the block. Gamers are being punished for any stupid thing now because it either breaks some law or infringes on some copyright or end user agreement license that you "agree" to but they always change it. You agree to something that if you break the agreement you get into trouble. however they can rewrite and change that agreement when ever they want. Dont know but i feel dark days are on all gamers.

I cant just put in a game and play, now i gotta sign up to different places, download and register shit, to then play. And do it all over again if I go to a friends house. And I gotta remember gazillions of passwords, and if I happen to forget the password to an email i dont use, but I needed it to have a PSN account, then i am screwed, because Im open to losing access to an account where all my game purchases "belong to" when they are supposed to belong to me, because I paid for that shit.

Game developers complain that development costs are high. i dont know if its true... but I heard the team producing Resident evil 6 is like 600, people. Is this true? And if so, do you need 600 people to make a resident evil game?

i think the real pain in the gaming business comes simply from bad business descisions. like selling games at 60$, PS VITA at $300+100+40+tax to play. Playstation orbis is gonna have 4000p resolution... wow... then they complain they arent making money...

And then there is capcom who thinks that turning all there games into shooters will make them mor money. No wonder Shinji Mikami and Keiji Inafune are gone. Dont forget Squeare Enix, who thinks that turning final fantasy into a subscribtion survice will make them more money, like they are doing with XIII-2. Some people payed 60$ for the damn game already.

Also bad business on the retailers end for not giving a cut of used games to developers. I think better business models are key to ensure, everybody wins. gamers, retailers and developers.

And if I download games, DLC and patches, i want to be able to make back ups on a variety of storage mediums, incase i run out of space on my console or my console breaks, so i dont have to download them again. Also sometimes publishers go out of business and when that happens, there catalogue of games dissapears from the service you purchased it from. If that happens your at least authorized to play it from a backup copy you have.

I probably wont stop gaming, but I will game less... and face it, alot of you have gone through many of the things i discribe here.

Crytek.... I got plenty of other games to play and your games arent even on my list.

Edited 9 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 26th April 2012 8:09pm

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