Used Game Sales "Killing" Single Player Titles

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Used Game Sales "Killing" Single Player Titles

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New game prices would have dropped long ago if publishers got a piece of the re-purchase.

It seems like a simple transaction. You buy a game for 60 bucks (or however much it is in your region) and you own the physical copy of that game. You have the right to sell that property in whatever way you see fit, usually back to the store you bought the game which then has the right to resell it. The whole process is completely legal. The problem is that, for many publishers of games, that second or third or fourth sale doesn't add up to more revenue for the title and because of that lost money, some game developers can't get their game published because the audience is more inclined to buy it used. According to David Braben - a veteran game developer since he made the space trading sim Elite in the 80s - the used-game market has stopped the publishing of some narrative games without a multiplayer component because they simply don't make enough money.

"Pre-owned has really killed core games. In some cases, it's killed them dead. I know publishers who have stopped games in development because most shops won't reorder stock after initial release, because they rely on the churn from the resales," said Braben. "It's killing single player games in particular, because they will get preowned, and it means your day one sales are it, making them super high risk."

Braben said that having a game sell out the first day is not a good thing anymore. "The idea of a game selling out used to be a good thing, but nowadays, those people who buy it on day one may well finish it and return it," he said. "People will say 'Oh well, I paid all this money and it's mine to do with as I will', but the problem is that's what's keeping the retail price up.

"Prices would have come down long ago if the industry was getting a share of the resells," Braben stated.

The situation is a tough one, with no clear solution. I don't think game publishers have any legal recourse to try to get a cut of the profits from used games. We, as a society, would have to fundamentally shift the way we think about property rights and possession in order for publishers to ask for a kickback from GameStop. Imagine if book publishers began demanded every yard sale or book swap demanded $1 be sent back to them for every copy of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo sold. I can see the looks on the old ladies' faces now. Horror.

On the other side of the counter, the kind of games you want to play are no longer thought as viable options for publishers and therefore might not get created at all. That's not really an option either.

I suppose the only saving grace we have is Kickstarter.

Source: Gamasutra

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Protip: Don't sell games at sixty bucks, then.

Ironically its the high price of games that make for such a large used game market.

Well that an the complete absence of much beyond the game disk at this point, there simply isn't much value beyond the game at this point and since we all have hard drives that keep our saves, the value of the games is less and less.

Add digital distribution to new range of consoles. No ability to resell. Laugh Manically. (hey, it worked for PC, along with online registry and other douchey tactics that pretty much killed the used PC game market.).

Sure. And the price of new cars would have dropped if they got a slice of resale.

Oh wait, it wouldn't. Because shareholders would just consider it extra profit.

or they could just develop for PC, and put it on Steam, have a huge customer base and sell their game for years down the line, not having to worry about used sales

fix for consoles - put Steam (or something like it) with a full library on consoles with good games that work for a reasonable price

not sure if the current online distribution platforms for consoles carry enough games, perhaps offering an alternative to retail purchase is the answer - buy physical copy for 60 bucks, digital for 50, or 45.

And why do PC games cost 60 Euros now? There is no resale market on them.

DonTsetsi:
And why do PC games cost 60 Euros now? There is no resale market on them.

That is pure greed especially considering publishers pay ~$10 royalties for publishing every console game. Notice that the only companies that are doing $60 games are EA/Bioware, Blizzard/Activision, Ubisoft, and "Horse Armor" Bethesda.

In before someone denounces this as some greedy fascist corporate statement bluh bluh industry bad bluh bluh consumers are always right bluh.

EDIT: Never mind. Got ninja'd on that one.

While single-player only games are far from dead (Alan Wake for instance), he is probably right that they tend to make up more of the pre-owned market. You're more likely to give a game up if there's nothing to do once the story is done, especially if it's one you don't feel like experiencing again. People may complain about tacked-on multiplayer modes, but in the end, those same multiplayer modes are probably a calculated decision made to try and retain as many consumers as possible.

The whole thing regarding book swaps and yard sales isn't really analogous. From my limited knowledge, movies make their money on the silver screen (mostly) and from DVD sales (a only a little bit) from the fans who want home copies, so they're not really affected all that much by their rental industry. Books in the meantime seem to be doing better than ever, especially with the advent of e-publishing, and book publishers don't really have to compete with a "used book" market. The only thing vaguely similar are libraries, but those function in such a different way that the situation really isn't comparable. And (from what I've observed), book lovers tend to retain their products, even if they don't really care for them so much.

Because videogames make the bulk of their money in the first two weeks of sales, used game retailers have much more of an impact on the industry than their proponents are willing to let on. It's as if theater movies had to compete with their own rented DVDs. Would it kill the industry? Probably not, but it would have a measurable impact on the way movies were to be produced.

At the very least, letting publishers and developers have a slice of the used market would substantially cut down on the incentive for things like Project Ten Dollar and Online Passes, etc., which would be a win for all customers.

"Prices would have come down long ago if the industry was getting a share of the resells,"

Are we just supposed to believe this? Because he is a veteran developer.

Kickstarter only works when there is a beloved name or franchise involved. I'm sure Kickstarter is littered with dozens of games that didn't get enough interest to be funded.

There is a big difference is size and scope between Gamestop and a yard sale. The two can't really be compared.

VonKlaw:
Sure. And the price of new cars would have dropped if they got a slice of resale.

Oh wait, it wouldn't. Because shareholders would just consider it extra profit.

An agreeable statement. Besides, resolve the resale and they'll just shift back to piracy for things continuing as they are.

Nothing would change, they're just blowing smoke.

CardinalPiggles:
[quote]Are we just supposed to believe this? Because he is a veteran developer.

Well, he did presumably come from an area where the Metacritic score was not a prime determinant on whether a studio got paid.

Stop making shit games that cost $60 that people wont buy once all those that can afford the $60 say the game is shit and sell it back to the game stores. I know, start punishing the fan base like the MPAA and the RIAA. MPAA has started stifling rental companies like NetFlix and RedBox and the RIAA has been out for blood on file sharing and streaming sites for years now. If the product is good, people will buy it. The snake oil salesmen are calling foul, well too late, we've already called foul on you! Next thing you know we'll be owning $5 Billion game systems, http://www.ted.com/talks/rob_reid_the_8_billion_ipod.html.

I'm calling bullshit. If you want to blame things on game resale, that if fine. That dog has been beaten to death. We all know that publishers want all the money from games. There is no secret there.

The thing I'm calling bullshit on is the fact that they say game prices would have dropped if not for those used game sales. That is just a big fat lie. There is no line of reasoning that should/could arrive anyone at that conclusion. It's just a new angle of attack on used games. That is fine, as I said. We all know the EA's, Activision's, and Ubisofts of the world hate used game sales.

The thing that I find most annoying is the outright attack on stores this causes. If not for those stores (who have been selling used games since the NES days) there would not be a game industry as we know it today. Couple that with the fact there are many large retailers that do not sell used games (such as Walmart). Triple-A title only exist because of stores like Gamestop. If not for them, video games would still largely be a niche part of the market, and not the king of the entertainment industry. Like it or not, without those big evil game retailers, we wouldn't even be having a conversation about videogames.

Edit: It all has to do with loss aversion. The publishers get money for their games, so they take any money they don't get that they feel they deserve as loss, which is not explicitly true. It's easier to trade in used games because people who think of things like "traders" think of things, do not experience the loss aversion (that is why getting less for a game than what you payed is ok). They also largely ignore bringing up the sales of the Walmart's of the world because the there is a greater emotional reaction to loss than there is to gains. To illustrate on a scale that is easy: Imagine you have no money. Someone gives you $10, you are happy about it. We'll say that increases your overall utility by 10 points (to keep it simple). Now, imagine if someone then steals that $10. While it seems like you simply lost 10 points of utility and you are simply back to where you started, you have an emotional reaction to that which makes it seem like you are put into a negative utility position. So, now instead of having 0 points of utility, you have -5 points of utility. While it's not true, the reaction is much worse at the loss than it is at the gain.

Being able to re-sell a purchased title could in many cases be an incentive for an initial purchase in the first place. His argument is invalid.

Seriously digital distribution would end all this. The vast majority of gamers who own the newest gen console are probably gona have an internet connection. And those with one or their parents are gona have a credit card.
But no they continue to make physical copies of games.
Nobodies gona lose their job really in NA, just abunch of Chines workers are.

Just do it and quit bitching.

You do know WHY people wait to buy used don't you?
Oh wait let me guess, You don't know any gamers but you're friends with people who run game companies.

DeadlyYellow:

VonKlaw:
Sure. And the price of new cars would have dropped if they got a slice of resale.

Oh wait, it wouldn't. Because shareholders would just consider it extra profit.

An agreeable statement. Besides, resolve the resale and they'll just shift back to piracy for things continuing as they are.

Nothing would change, they're just blowing smoke.

And if they couldn't blame piracy, they'd say its because of development costs.

I really wish people would just accept these game publishers are out to make as much money as possible, and will use any strawman they can in an attempt to "hide" it (not that it should really need hiding, but then who else would give all these PR guys jobs?)

I call shinanigans on this article. The person writing it, or the people making the claims, have no idea how economics work. Everything is worth what the buyer is willing to pay.

To state that without the used game market prices would drop with any certainty is a bold faced lie. Maybe pricing would drop, maybe it wouldn't It all depends on if consumers won't pay $60 for a game. Personally I very rarely buy a game at full price. Steam and Impulse have sales so often that there is little point in buying most games on the first day. I haven't even bought MAss Effect 3 yet since I am waiting for the price to drop.

I also chose not to buy used games. The cost of a used game is usually about $5 less than a new. I once saw a used game that was $2 less than a new. Now why would I bother buying a used game, that has a higher chance of having issues as you do know know what care someone took with their disk, for such a non-existant savings. This is the issue with the used game amrket and with the other points, will likely lead to it's death. I buy a game new for $60. Sell it for maybe $25 (I don't sell games, so maybe it's more, I don't know). The used game store sells it for $55, making more than a 100% profit. I won't contribute to that unless they lower the price, or give me more for the game.

Everyone needs to remember companies only listen when you speak with your wallet.

Baresark:
I'm calling bullshit. If you want to blame things on game resale, that if fine. That dog has been beaten to death. We all know that publishers want all the money from games. There is no secret there.

The thing I'm calling bullshit on is the fact that they say game prices would have dropped if not for those used game sales. That is just a big fat lie. There is no line of reasoning that should/could arrive anyone at that conclusion. It's just a new angle of attack on used games. That is fine, as I said. We all know the EA's, Activision's, and Ubisofts of the world hate used game sales.

The thing that I find most annoying is the outright attack on stores this causes. If not for those stores (who have been selling used games since the NES days) there would not be a game industry as we know it today. Couple that with the fact there are many large retailers that do not sell used games (such as Walmart). Triple-A title only exist because of stores like Gamestop. If not for them, video games would still largely be a niche part of the market, and not the king of the entertainment industry. Like it or not, without those big evil game retailers, we wouldn't even be having a conversation about videogames.

um where they come from isn't really that important?
do you think oh that came from this awesome industry 100 years ago, so i should support it. No because thats retardeed, the thing is its what your asking people to do for this market.

Its retail, if they can't keep up with the times then they deserve closure, nature of capitalism.

Paragon Fury:
At the very least, letting publishers and developers have a slice of the used market would substantially cut down on the incentive for things like Project Ten Dollar and Online Passes, etc., which would be a win for all customers.

It would also create more sequels, because without a used market, a lot of original IPs wouldn't get circulated, which would reduce the demographic for a title. This would actually raise the prices of games, because they would need to make up for lost sales, because they can't sel titles to as many people.

RoseArch:
Protip: Don't sell games at sixty bucks, then.

And don't sell them for $120 in Australia.

I bought a pre-owned Gold edition of Resident Evil 5 from EB Games a week ago for just $25. It's seriously made me consider exclusively buying older, pre-owned games for cheaper and playing them while I wait for the new releases to become old, pre-owned and cheap.

*Reads Title*
Yeah, because Nintendo and Bethesda are just losing money hand over foot making single-player focused games

*Reads Lede*
Yeah, because PC Gamers have been paying so much less for titles with the all-digital model.

*Reads Article*
Yeah, because used sales are the only thing that are killing single-player.

3 degrees of bullshit right here, man. 3 degrees of bullshit.

Tiger Sora:
Seriously digital distribution would end all this. The vast majority of gamers who own the newest gen console are probably gona have an internet connection. And those with one or their parents are gona have a credit card.
But no they continue to make physical copies of games.
Nobodies gona lose their job really in NA, just abunch of Chines workers are.

Just do it and quit bitching.

well if gamestop shuts id imagine many people would lose their job.

Thats the reality of the digital distribution market.

(plus theres the whole monopoly flaw of digital distribution onconsoles in that their would be no drive for price competition due to the exclusivity of the m$oft or sony download stores.)

Shitty singleplayer games with shitty multiplayer, or okay multiplayer and shitty single player campaigns are killing single player games. With online activation now an industry staple (which i'm fine with, i loves me sum steam) how long can this excuse be milked?

We buy used because retail prices are so high. But obviously its the used game sales fault, and it is they who have to change, not you.

Obviously it's no fault of the developer and producer, but the used market that drives up prices.

RoseArch:
Protip: Don't sell games at sixty bucks, then.

Exactly. It could just as easily be said that if prices were lower there would be less incentive to buy used games.

scotth266:
You're more likely to give a game up if there's nothing to do once the story is done, especially if it's one you don't feel like experiencing again.

This is nothing new though, and the latter portion of this statement is specifically the developers problem to deal with. If gamers are selling a re-selling a single player game because it isn't compelling enough to warrant more than a playthrough then expecting them to pay more to buy your mediocre titles brand new isn't going to win more sales. I own plenty of compelling single player games I've played more than once. Those that stuck with series like Mass Effect until the end weren't doing it because of multiplayer either.

The whole thing regarding book swaps and yard sales isn't really analogous. From my limited knowledge, movies make their money on the silver screen (mostly) and from DVD sales (a only a little bit) from the fans who want home copies, so they're not really affected all that much by their rental industry. Books in the meantime seem to be doing better than ever, especially with the advent of e-publishing, and book publishers don't really have to compete with a "used book" market. The only thing vaguely similar are libraries, but those function in such a different way that the situation really isn't comparable. And (from what I've observed), book lovers tend to retain their products, even if they don't really care for them so much.

I don't think I've ever seen sales numbers for DVD and Blu-ray copies of movies (I'm not sure they're even widely available) but I doubt they're as meager as you imply compared to ticket sales. Regardless, used markets for DVD's and books are common. I can regularly go to the flea market every week and buy plenty of both, including an excellent selection of current titles not to mention that there are several brick and mortar stores dealing significantly, and even exclusively, in used sales of either in my area and I do not live in a huge city. The two are directly analogous to used game sales, and the real irony is you used book publishers success moving into the digital distribution realm in an attempt to show how it isn't analogous to games, despite games already moving that way and platforms like Steam seeing the sort of revenue growth that most companies don't even dream of because growth that high almost never happens. If anything games are even better suited to digital distribution than books and movies.

Greg Tito:
New game prices would have dropped long ago if publishers got a piece of the re-purchase.

I'm going to call bullshit on this as well. If publishers and devs suddenly got a cut of used sales then they wouldn't give ground on new game prices unless they absolutely had to. If they could suddenly exploit a new revenue source while maintaining the old one at similar levels of growth then you'd have to be pretty naive to think that many of them would give that up.

Oh no, someone dared to touch this theme on the "wrong side".

I really don't care for the used market and I despise everyone who supports retailer chains like GameStop.

Car / everything else analogys don't work. They don't sell you products which don't decay in some form (and yes, the only "damage" games receive doesn't impact your gameplay at all if you have two working eyes while buying used).

It has jack to do with pricing. Gaming as a hobby got cheaper over the last 15 years and I can get new games for less than GameStop lets you pay for used. I buy my new games for 30€ (thats 39$).

The industry can't change as long as we have bloodsuckers like GameStop and GAME who not only keep prices high but also damage every possible retail options for the PC market.

With this post I made myself lots of friends. I am happy that you throw way too much money in your specialised store in the blind belief you get it cheaper there. I prefer to support retailers with reasonable pricing and less damaging practices towards the gaming industry.

Im pretty sure there was a news piece on this site not too long ago about Game actually offering to do exactly this but no publishers took them up on it.

Do you really think Activision-Blizzard or EA would drop prices if there were no used sales when they're already charging $60 for PC games which have zero resale market?

Fucking bullshit. The reason I often buy games used is because the price isn't justified when I only get eight hours of gameplay from them. Make better, longer, single player campaigns with replayability and people will a) be more likely to buy the game new, and b) be less likely to want to trade the game in after a week. Case in point: Red Dead Redemption. 40 is a hell of a lot, and I'm only gonna pay full price if I will get my money's worth.

Greg Tito:
Prices would have come down long ago if the industry was getting a share of the resells

Gee so if they were getting money they have neither a legal or moral right to then the prices would go down? Well you may as well say if people just started mailing us envelopes full of money then we might thinking of lowering game prices. Get the fuck out of here with that nonsense. Developers need to man the fuck up, shut their mouths get the sand out of their girl parts and make games. If they can't do that then maybe they should find a new line of work.

In the ENTIRE history of people making and selling goods has there ever been a single maker and seller of goods that enjoys this perk. Why in the blue hell do video game makers think they are all of a sudden special? I'm sick and fucking tired about hearing developers and publishers bitch whine and moan about something they, again, have no legal or moral claim to. Fuck em, fuck em all. They can go bugger each other with rusty railroad spikes for all I care before I will ever think they deserve a single penny from used sales.

Here's the thing, the video game industry is posting record profits in an economy that's one of the worst we've seen since the great depression and they have the fucking gull to bitch about used game sales. Again, fuck each and every last one of them. I'm sorry they aren't making big enough piles of cash but the fact of the matter is most any other industry would gladly trade places to be where video games are right now.

Let me be clear as a fucking bell. If somebody works in the gaming industry and feels this way then they deserve to lose their fucking job and go work someplace they can't inconvenience me and people like me anymore. I hear McDonalds is usually hiring. Barring that I'd imagine jizz moppers have a high rate of turn around. These arrogant fucks don't realize how good they have it right now and if they can't learn to start appreciating just how good their industry is then they don't deserve to work in it.

The bottom line is this, use games and piracy aren't the things killing gaming right now, greed is. These publishers and developers see and treat gamers as nothing more than an piggy bank that they can nickel and dime to death. They need to stop blaming the people paying their bills for their problems and start looking inward at any one of hundreds of fucking cancers killing them from the inside.

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