Secondhand games and new consoles

Aside from Zelda Twilight Princess (completed yesterday), I've been buying a bunch of cheap secondhand Gamecube games.

This copy of Shrek 2 was one I bought since it's multi-player and suitable for my kids. I was surprised to find the copy that arrived was a new game and still in shrink-wrap.

It's the first new game I've bought in nearly six years of owning a secondhand Gamecube and it seemed an interesting coincidence that it arrived in the same week as reports that the next generation of consoles may not allow secondhand games.

I can understand that the companies who make games might be upset they don't receive money from these ongoing sales, after all it's an issue that artists have had to deal with -- don't you think Van Gogh would've liked to see some of the money his paintings now earn?

Look at the price on this game pictured above and consider that I paid one-tenth of this price on Ebay (again because it's a multi-player game suitable for my kids). Now consider I could've bought the game for a third of what I paid if I downloaded Super Monkey Ball 2 onto my Apple device.

On one hand I think it's really petty to limit consoles so they won't play secondhand games. It limits the functionality of the device and this will frustrate users. On the other, I can see this is a paradigm shift in terms of how content is delivered. Physical objects are giving way to digital information and I like Jeremy Denk's assessment on his blog.

While Nintendo could complain that I've bought a lot of their gear secondhand, it's been something of a gateway drug and has introduced my family to their intellectual property. Just look at the joy we got from Mario for one example.