A new digital distribution platform called Green Man Gaming is promising to throw a curveball at the industry by letting gamers trade in their digitally purchased pre-owned games.
The pre-owned games market is a big thorn in the side of most publishers. Retailers make significant margins on used game sales, far more than they do on new releases, but publishers and developers see none of that income. Epic Games President Michael Capps went as far as to equate buying used games with piracy, while BioWare introduced "anti-used-game" DLC in Dragon Age: Origins and will do the same in the upcoming Mass Effect 2. But it's through the advent of digital distribution that some see the final end of the pre-owned market, as games bought electronically have no inherent tangible value, and thus no resale value.
Green Man Gaming claims it will challenge that assumption, however, when it goes online with a new system that will allow customers to trade in digitally purchased games. "Previously the minute you had paid and downloaded your game it had no resale value. This is extremely expensive for the gamer and does not encourage the consumer to try new genres or franchises," said Green Man Gaming COO Gian Luzio. "Our leading edge technology gives downloaded games a value that gamers can trade-in at any time."
Unlike conventional used game sales, GMG also promises that publishers will see "substantial remuneration" from its used sales. "We will pay significant royalties to the publisher each time the game is traded in perpetuity," Luzio added.
Green Man Gaming is expected to launch with 400 titles by the end of March 2010 and have over 2000 games available by the end of the year. Keep your eyes on greenmangaming.com (currently just a little green man placeholder) for more information.