Now I’ve looked the what of lock-boxes and the potential increases in profit, whether lock-boxes are gambling or not, and finally what makes lock-boxes in games different? For all the parallels we can draw between gambling and lock-boxes today, they are still different and those differences shouldn’t be glazed over–they are definitely important.
Because why not beat a dybbuk that just won’t die?
For a hot minute back when I was in 7th grade, I got really into Magic: The Gathering. A group of us used to play during a study hall (we were definitely the cool kids). I loved the artwork and the premise of the game and it was generally fun. But I began to realize something–my friend who would bring a 10-gallon garbage of cards to school on our battle-days seemed to always win.
Wait…who’s surprised? Definitely not me. In the grand scheme, it’s not overly unexpected. In our industry’s little survival of the fittest battle, the publishers try to kill off the used game business, and the used game business finds new in-roads to stay alive. I think there this gets really interesting is how this will effect the idea of ownership of digital properties. Right now, games are all sold as “licenses” to the software — meaning that you don’t actually own the software, you just purchased a license to use that software. Sometimes, that involves a physical medium, other times it doesn’t.
Big Publishers are likely to push against this and say that the license is non-transferrable (meaning it can’t be sold). The counter claim to that will likely be the Doctrine of First Sale, which basically says that the publisher only has control over the first sale of the product, and not any subsequent sales of the product. Again, the publishers are currently holding the stance that because they are only licensing the software, it doesn’t qualify for First Sale Doctrine.
When this battle comes up in the courts, I’ll be really excited because this has larger repercussions outside of gaming, specifically in cracking the lock on content to certain platforms (like those tied to the iTunes store, or the Zune store, or Amazon). Anyway, the article doesn’t say much other than GameStop mentioned exploring the possibilities, which again … surprises no one.