Soren Johnson (ex-Firaxis and current Maxis designer) at Designer Notes has a great article on "The Case For Used Games". Whenever the matter comes up in the gaming press, the slant of the article almost always sides with the publisher -- how used games cut into publisher profits, impact royalties publishers can give developers, cause tooth decay, etc. Johnson points out some of the "good" points on this aspect of the gaming business that's often looked down upon. He says:
"By opening up retail sales to a larger segment of the market, used game sales mean that more people are playing our games than would be in a world without them. Beyond the obvious advantages of bigger community sizes and word-of-mouth sales, a larger player base can benefit game developers who are ready to earn secondary income from their games. In-game ads are one source of this additional revenue, but the best scenario is downloadable content. A used copy of Rock Band may go through several owners, but each one of them may give Harmonix money for their own personal rights to 'Baba O’Riley' or 'I Fought the Law'."
Johnson presents a pretty meaty case for used games and it's excellent to see. I'm tired of reading how selling used games is bad for the publisher. I'm more interested in what's better for the consumer and what gives gamers more options. Gaming is a very expensive hobby and while I understand that creating games costs tens of millions of dollars, my empathy is limited. I can identify far more easily with a kid that struggled to buy a $400 console and can barely afford $60 games. If used games help him or her enjoy the hobby then I'm all for it.