Obsidian CCO Embraces Digital Distribution To Kill Used Games Market

In addition to the altruistic benefits of digital distribution, Obsidian's chief creative officer, Chris Avellone, also loves because it might spell the end of second hand games sales.

"I love digital distribution," he started by listing the altruistic benefits. "For one thing, being environmentally conscious, I really appreciate that we're not making more boxes and shipping them and creating all that waste. It's better just to download the game through Steam and not have to have all that packaging."

Another benefit of digital distribution is the flexibility it gives to developers. "One of the things I enjoyed with Fallout: New Vegas was that digital distribution of the DLC made things more flexible in terms of getting the content done," Avellone explained. "You didn't have to worry about production times for discs, and so you could take an extra week if you needed that to get things right."

But the most important benefit for the creative director is not so selfless. "Of course, one of the greatest things about digital distribution is what it does to reduce the used game market," Avellone put it simply.

"I hope digital distribution stabs the used game market in the heart."

Obsidian Entertainment is best known for developing Fallout: New Vegas for Bethesda and Dungeon Siege 3 for Square Enix. The studio is currently working on the South Park MMORPG.

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If games werent so stupidly

If games werent so stupidly priced for what they are then more people would buy games new... 50 - 60 quid hell even 40 quid is a LOT for a game of this day and age.. Nowdays Games are far too short, full of bugs and are of mediocre design and quality..Devs rush them out the door long before they should be released in some cases.. The amount of bugs that has become 'acceptable' for a RC is ridiculous..especially with PC games as devs think "Oh well we will patch it soon".. thats ok if its a small number of bugs and they arent serious ones..

Another thing is developing games for console first then simply hashing/hacling the PC verion leaving it with a shitty UI and overall console/arcadish 'feel' and look to it..

Go back to Baldurs Gate and Baldurs Gate II and other 'good' rpgs from then, they were all around 100 hours long - BGII was around 200 hours.. Compare that with the megre 20 - 30 hours of BUG FILLED crap they produce now, for more money..??? No wonder people wait for the price to drop or buy 2nd hand.. Also the whole industry is full of games that are all the bloody same.. the industry has goten lazy.. its all about the sequels now as they think they have a better chance of turning a profit.. There are a handful of IPs that are in development...they are near enough ALL sequels.. Dont get me wrong, as long as they keep upping the bar and they dont flogg the title to death there is more than enough room for sequels.. But it seems that is ALL ther is nowadays.. Who wants to pay top dollar for what will more than likey be a inferior 'clone' of a title thats already been copied so many times before..? I'm thinking Halo here.. BF, CoD.. Why not have a crack at something 'new' and a little different..? There is no longer enough brand new IP's in the industry that are any good.. The AAA games are generally a load of shite nowadays in certain genres..with the other generes soon to follow suit..There are so many more great games out there but many pass unnoticed due to lack of advertising as they are indie titles.. The 'big boys' could learn 'a LOT' from the indies at the moment..
If they are moaning about not selling games, and 2nd hand games are destroying the industry , then they need to wake up and smell the coffee It is THEM they are destroying their own industry with mediocre products and charging a stupid amount for them.. They need to change their attitudes towards the industry and what they 'think' people want..
I have bought very few AAA titles this year on release, but the ones I have bought I had no problem paying top dollar for..and yes a couple were sequels, but they still have a lot of life left in those IP's that is they have enough untold storyline to support the title adn at least one more.. Not all series can support 4 - 5 games, some cant support 3...
In short, 1 :) dont realease really buggy titles..
2 :) If your going to charge the current price then make sure there is enough content to warrant such a price... At least 30 hours gameplay for most titles as a bare minimum for the current price, RPGs more..espcially non linear ones.. 200 hours is a good size.
3 :) Be creative.. new IP's and keep things fresh.. dont copy gameplay from the current best seller in the hope to better it and steal its player base..try something new..
4 : ) learn to admidt that you failed..

Yeah, but...

Not every viable gamer has a super fast connect with unlimited data to be downloading GB's of games regularly, not to mention redownloading for reinstalls of OS's. When everyone has access to very high speed internet, I can see the benefits of digital distribution. But the fact is, we are not there yet and I personally like my boxes. And the used game market is what has kept some games afloat. He better be careful what he wishes for.

"And the used game market is what has kept some games afloat."

Hate to brake it to you but developers don't make any money on used game sales. Think about it. The Developer makes the game and the publisher sells it. If someone buys the game they get money. If someone then sells there game back to say bestbuy or gamestop the profit for that used game then goes to bestbuy or gamestop not to the developers. SO you are very wrong when you say the used game market is what has kept some games afloat. The used game market has done nothing to help make the developers more money to invest into making another game. You mite want to think things though a little better next time you post something so ignorant.


There is something wrong with peoples interpretation of game engines and dev costs. It actually costs a dev nothing as far as investment goes, time and deadline are far more critical. The reason behind all that is that 1. A game engine to these companies is like butt wipes are to us. 2. These companies are filthy rich to start off with otherwise they wouldn't be in the business of game development. Loses do happen but piracy has little to do with it, it's just a form of psycho dribble concocted by the man to make more money. If you as design firm can pay the salaries of say 100 people and afford to buy them the needed tools and hardware coupled with the expenditure of $50k on some next gen technology then what they make out of their market is just lunch money and some extra stuffing to take home. Welcome to economics.


Fuck digital shit. I'm not going to wait around few days to download a game that i might not have time to play by the time it finishes. And I wont buy some new overpriced shitty game ether. environmentally conscious fuck you. (I really appreciate that we're not making more boxes and shipping them and creating all that waste.) people are going to loose even more jobs. I bet he would not be saying that if his ass was on the line. I hope used games burn you alive.

If the game is good and

If the game is good and advertised properly, it will make money.

If you make a crappy game, you cant blame poor game sales on every little thing, man up and admit your game is crappy, you tried, but failed.

I'm sure some good games get the crap end of the stick, but that's because they aren't advertised properly, so nobody knows about it.

Even some crappy games get lots of sales just because they get advertised between every Saturday morning cartoon.


So I can legally trade my $600 ZBrush software copy at my expense but can't trade digital copies of cheesy games with other users?? Gee I wonder why people pirate again.

Second hand/trade in games

Second hand/trade in games cause more loss for game developers than pirates. Because when you buy a 2nd hand game the porfit goes straight to the store and the developer see none of it, its really no differnet to stealing. Not to mention they buy them of you for ~5% of new price and sell to only ~10% than a new game anyway.

Then they can lower the

Then they can lower the prices. The only real reason people buy used games, it because the price is lower. There a plenty of games I buy used, only because I don't want to pay full price for something that through media reviews, and public reviews, is a lackluster product, too short, or any of many other problems a video game may face.

It seems to me your real argument is with yourself, and the fact that at one point you took a game to GameStop and sold it for less than you wanted, and they had the audacity to run a business and turn a profit. The other guy said it best, you think the auto industry is suffering because of resales? it will happen.

your insane. i guess no one

your insane. i guess no one should buy used cars and houses either then? so you must be stuck with every car you've ever owned, since it would be stealing from GM to sell it to someone else. and what do you do when you want a new home? toss your old on a pile of other houses you've bought, so no one thinks you're ripping off the contractor that was hired to build it? used game sales do not hurt new game sales. neither does pirating. bad games, hurt game sales. the economy hurts game sales. better and bigger games released in the same time period hurt game sales. stop believing the crap the companies tell you about why their sales are poor. if they feel the need to complain about sales, it's a sure sign they aren't making anything worth buying

how is that stealing? if I

how is that stealing? if I have a garage sale, should I return some of the profit to the store were I got what ever I'm selling? or to the manufacturer?
and heres a good question, how many people do you know that have all 100% brand new appliances that they themselves bought?

pointless bitching about being a pointless bitch. thats all you get when you try to complain about second had sales, especially for video games which most of them are basically a 1 shot use then dispose of item

I completely agree with u.

I completely agree with u. Whats mine is mine if i choose to sell it to gamestop or to someone at a yard sale its the same shit. Its mine, i paid for it, and now I'm done with it and feel no need to keep it. I noticed a lot of game stores closing down because they cannot compete with what gamestop offers. Most the time when i look for a game at gamestop they don't have it new for 20 bucks anymore, they only have them used. And some times paying 10 or 15 over 20 is worth it especially since there kind enough to give you a copy that isn't scratched so its basically like getting it new just that the money goes to them. If gamestop wasn't doing this they wouldn't be around much longer either.. Of course we gamers are already suffering from this since EA and other companies are following with that Activation process when you get a new game.. Want finish that game that you bought used that you can't finish because you don't have a activation key well too bad, either pay $10 to pass it or don't ever pass it. I find that wrong that the publishers/developers are doing that now. Its there way to make a profit off what Gamestop made it big off of. So you can't say its stealing since there trying to fight off the used market. They even created a new market for money by doing DLC's as well, instead of the content being in the game already now you got pay extra just so you get this extra stuff that should of been in it in the first place. So in reality fuck all these fuckers who think how this guy does =D

Used game Market for PC?

Don't we just call that borrowing from friends. At least here in CA we are not able to trade in PC games for credit. Nor are we able to buy a used game from game stop, Wal-Mart, Best Buy ect, so really what used game market is he talking about?


He's talking about the Steam Client like it's going to end the second hand market for games and i don't know of many games that have been on steam and all of the closes besides Portal 2 and those indi games all of witch Obsidian had no part in so again where is this uses PC Game market that h wants to Die?

He used Steam as an example

He used Steam as an example because this type of service hasn't been fully implemented for consoles yet. He's talking about digital distribution in general, which is probably coming in the next set of consoles.

So every game you buy is going to be through LIVE or PSN, and will be attached to your account forever. They may still sell discs for those without highspeed internet, but every game will authenticate online with a key of some sort. This has been the PC model for a long time, and it's about time consoles catch up. IMO it will help the industry as a whole and eventually help us as customers.

When they are fully confident they can add and strip games from our accounts, than they can offer exchange programs like giving us 2 hours of playtime to decide if we keep the game and that it plays properly on our system. I would really look forward to that, and it would help developers to stop this trend of rushing games.

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