Long medium right.

Ninety left.

Hairpin left.

Very long easy right. Maybe.

If you're of a certain age, and were lucky enough to have a few fifty pence pieces to spare, then you will know exactly what those previous four sentences refer to.

You young whipper-snappers probably won't know, but I will tell you anyway. It's Sega Rally. The finest arcade rallying game ever made. Ever. And this evening, I have been reliving my youth, thanks to the wonders of ebay, £6, and the Royal Mail actually working for a couple of days.

It's just as much fun as the old arcade game, a full on sideways, keep you foot in (well, right finger on the trigger), muddy, slidey, sideways rag your favourite rally car round the mountain thrash-up. It even has my old favourite, the Stratos.

If you're wondering why I saw fit to mention both the price and the purchase method of the game, then read on, and I shall elaborate.

I initially found out about Sega Rally for the XBox 360 whilst browsing the XBox Live games market, in particular looking through the games on demand section. A game on demand, is pretty much what it says on the tin. Just like video on demand, you browse a list of games, make your choice, pays your money, and the game downloads to your console, ready for you to play.

I paid £6 for a second hand copy of the game via ebay. Looking around for new copies, play.com only appear to have it in their play trade section, and similar with amazon, where it's only available from a third party vendor. In other words, it looks like it's probably a deleted disc, so you can only get it new if you get old stock of the disc, or if you download it. So, price check time.

Play Trade: £7.75 used, £9.76 new
Amazon: £5.95, plus whatever the third party postage is
Ebay: I paid £6 for mine.
XBox Live Games Market download (where you don't get the physical media, so there are no printing, distribution, storage, sales, and shipping costs): £19.99

Double-ewe tee eff?

Yes, that's right. More than double the cost of the physical media, which you can take round your mate's house so you can have a blast multi-player, and, ultimately, promote the game to him (how many times have you played a multiplayer game, then your mate has bought themselves a copy so they can play it single player, or with their other mates).

Not only is it more than double the price, but when you've played through for a while, and become bored of it (yes, apparently some folks get bored of games and sell them on/trade them in), you're left with a twenty quid block of data, burning the metaphorical hole in your hard drive. You can't sell it on to a friend/ebay stranger to recoup some of your money, and you don't really want to delete it, just in case you can't download it again in the future.

I can see why the games companies like this downloadable direct to your console model. DRM the game so it is locked to your account/console, and kill the second hand market stone cold dead. It's a game company's wet dream. It's why Sony dropped the UMD format and went to a downloady app store style set up for their new PSP Go.

And it's a bloody awful idea.

I can see a way out though. I can make it so that your games on demand style sales techniques don't kill the consoles.

Drop the price of the games to a reasonable level. You could even monitor the larger online sites, suck as Amazon, play, and even recently completed ebay auctions, and update the price to reflect the current market rate for the game.
Make it so that I can copy the game to a USB stick, and run it on a mate's console. I sign in with my credentials, and as soon as my own console is turned back on again, all permissions are revoked from his console.
Let me sell him the game, the transaction transfers the DRM from my account to his, hell, I'll even put up with you creaming off five or ten percent.

Wow, not only did I fix this shitty games on demand model, I even provided an additional revenue stream.

Now, how to I get Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo on board, and who do I have to cuddle to get my one percent of the profits...