Is Another Obstacle In Digital Only Gaming Poised To Fall?

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Steve Anderson
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Is Another Obstacle In Digital Only Gaming Poised To Fall?

The concept of digital-only gaming just got a little closer to reality, thanks to one company that's working with a whole new business model: buying and selling used digital games. The name of the company is Re-Digi, and though they've been in the news before, they're looking to expand their market a bit.

Re-Digi, as recently discussed out at Gamasutra, has been dealing in used digital music for some time now, though not without some opposition as Capitol Records took them to court just over three weeks ago. But Re-Digi isn't just planning to deal in used MP3s, they're also looking to get into used e-books. From there, it's literally only a matter of time until digital games gets into play.

Naturally, there's more than a little resistance to this idea, especially from the copyright owners who don't much like the thought of the same easily-copied media they're selling being copied by the user and the sold off, essentially allowing buyers to have their game and play it too. Yet at the same time, it's being suggested that there are not only ways to work around that--Re-Digi has actually planned measures to differentiate between copies of games, and intends to react to attempts at piracy with removal from the network--but moreover, that the law is on Re-Digi's side by dint of the First Sale Doctrine.

Whether or not that will actually come off in a court of law remains to be seen, but that's one of the big points keeping a digital-only gaming market from launching. People like being able to trade or sell old games for discounts on new ones, and a service like Re-Digi's might well allow that to happen. Of course, it's not the only problem, as the issues of bandwidth limitations would still be in play, but it's certainly a big part of the problem taken care of.

We likely won't see a digital gaming market for some time, at least not one completely free of physical media. But we'll likely move at least partly in that direction, and in the fairly immediate future as well
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