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Nintendo vs. Video Game Rentals


Phillyman
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Shoot, time was that not too long ago, the second-hand market for video games itself was illegal in Japan. :)

 

*huggles*

Areala

 

Interesting.  If you know anything specific about this or know of an article online discussing it, let me know, since I'd love to know more about it.  I didn't come to Japan till 2005 and used games were legal then.  The only reference to used games being illegal my weak google-fu can find is a story suggesting that a court order in 1999 made them illegal for a few months before it was overturned.  I've also seen lots of reports of game manufacturers putting "no resale" logos on the backs of their games, but haven't been able to find any confirmation that this was actually enforced by retailers/the law.

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  • Retromags Curator

Interesting.  If you know anything specific about this or know of an article online discussing it, let me know, since I'd love to know more about it.  I didn't come to Japan till 2005 and used games were legal then.  The only reference to used games being illegal my weak google-fu can find is a story suggesting that a court order in 1999 made them illegal for a few months before it was overturned.  I've also seen lots of reports of game manufacturers putting "no resale" logos on the backs of their games, but haven't been able to find any confirmation that this was actually enforced by retailers/the law.

 

I researched this law back in college, so I'm sure things have changed (and twenty years will rust anybody's memory), but if I remember correctly, it was started some time in the 1950s as an anti-monopoly law which dealt with "unfair business practices". A business practice was deemed unfit if it worked to impede fair competition, and the re-sale of previously owned goods like books at a discount price was looked at as impeding the ability of new book shops to compete. Assume a book store paid ¥250 for a book they sold at ¥750. A discount retailer could sell a previous owned copy of the same book for under ¥250, a price the new store would be unable to match without losing money on the transaction. From what I remember, the purpose of the law was to prevent businesses from doing things like deliberately selling a product for less than the cost to manufacture it in order to obtain a monopoly or majority ownership in the market. The resale shop deal was a side-effect of the law being passed, as the Diet looked at this as unfair competition: you were paying less money to acquire the same product which you were then selling at below-market value. :)

 

By the time 2000 rolled around though, many of these laws had been changed, updated, or re-written to account for a second-hand marketplace and used bookstores became a legit business venture as opposed to a black market cartel operation. I don't know if the law was ever updated to include previously-owned video games, but many of the PS1 and PS2 games I have imported carry a "Not for Resale" graphic right on the cover art. Like Kitsu-chan though, I've no idea if this law is actually enforced and something tells me it's not, or half the shops in Akihabara would have to close down. ;)

 

*huggles*

Areala

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I see. Well, I can't speak for anything pre-2000. Used book/game/music stores are everywhere now, though.

The best thing about them is the impeccable condition everything is in. It's usually impossible to tell the used from the new! You never have to worry about creased spines or scratched discs. Dunno if they only buy back mint condition goods or if all Japanese people just take excellent care of their stuff, but it's quite different from typical used goods in the states

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Philly, I had watched that video a while back, and it's a good one. As for Nintendo "maybe" having a hand in the NP removal, who else would it be? They surely own the copyright, and therefore would be the only one legally able to request that something of that nature be removed from the site...

 

Kitsunebi, I'm curious, but why are game rentals illegal?

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Kitsunebi, I'm curious, but why are game rentals illegal?

 

For the same reason Nintendo was trying to make them illegal in that video above.  Nintendo (and others) argued that game rentals would unfairly cut into their profits and hurt the industry.  Japanese courts agreed.  American ones didn't.  It does help explain why they were so aggressive in pursuing it in the states, since they had already been successful in shutting down game rentals in their home country.

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Ahh, it's been a while since I watched it, and I've slept since then, so... probably didn't commit that to memory too well.

 

Honestly, I think demos are the best thing to have happened to gaming in the last 20 years. Rentals are also a good thing. I figure there is a certain price break where a trial is not only warranted, but should be expected. I think games fall above that qualifying point. Gives developers incentive not to suck.

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Nah, Nintendo knows what's best.

 

Getting people excited and pumped full of nostalgia at the prospect of reading through a bunch of old Nintendo Powers before the release of a new mini console capable of playing lots of the games covered in those mags would surely be considered free and effective advertising, right Nintendo?

 

:unsure: Err...

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there's nothing more infuriating than when a company owns a copyright on something but refuses to use/monetize it. it's like, obviously there's a demand for these vintage mags, why not digitize them and sell them for a buck or two apiece? it's better than making no money. or hell, use these (obviously already digitized) versions.

if you refuse to make money off your own IPs, then of course people are going to get their hands on it some other way.

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if you refuse to make money off your own IPs, then of course people are going to get their hands on it some other way.

Hence why I have no problem with the way a vast majority of folks play old console games these days. PC at least has GoG for their classics.

 

I like the "buck or two" model you posit. It's not like hosting a ROM takes much of their bandwidth on their digital store, nor is it particularly taxing on their system to play a 100% legit emulator. I figure if they sold these classic games at the buck or two mark, it would only serve to pad their bottom line. Sell old issues of NP on their website (or better yet, use that Wii U tablet to view them) at the buck or two point.

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  • 2 weeks later...

As a kid, most of the video games I played were rentals. I could only afford to buy a video game once or twice a year. But once I grew older, I stopped renting games since 1998. The last game I rented was for the Sega Saturn. Even during the era of Saturn, N64, and Playstation, I bought about 70% of my games, probably due to having a job.

Of course, these days, you can't rent games anymore unless it's online via Gamefly or from Redbox at the kiosks. I don't support rentals anymore because it does hurt the game industry. I can always play the demo if I want to try out the game. Plus, I love collecting video games as you all know. As a side note, I don't rent movies either. Although, I do watch them on streaming. However, I still buy the physical copy if I really like it.

As a spiritual person, I support all industries (industries that don't hurt, steal, lie, or promote bad health/behavior for people), and I will purchase their products. If I can't afford it, I'll just won't buy it. There is no point in renting in my opinion.

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When is gamefly gonna move into streaming rental business.

I don't know that they will. Sony already has a streaming service, I believe it is called PS Now. Cool idea, you pay a monthly fee and get to stream as many games as you like. Downside is, not all games are available, although going forward I don't really see that being an issue seeing as how many games are released digitally these days.

 

Other downside is, I wouldn't want internet quality ruining a gaming experience. Not everybody has blazing fast internet...

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Despite rentals being illegal, I'm not convinced that the sale of used games has ever been illegal in Japan, although as Areala points out, they did used to print "not for resale" on the packaging.  I think it was just a hopeful suggestion by the game companies more than an actual legal mandate, though.

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  • 2 months later...

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