Online Pass Isn’t Hurting Used Game Sales

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U.K. retailer GAME says the introduction of Online Pass and similar programs hasn’t had any impact on the popularity of pre-owned videogame sales.

Online Pass, also known in EA lingo as Project Ten Dollar, is a simple concept: Encourage people to buy new videogames by including a single-use code for access to DLC or multiplayer, which will cost extra for anyone who buys a used copy. THQ quickly followed suit and Sony is considering a similar program of its own, and while both EA and THQ have reported success with their programs, they don’t appear to be having much impact on used game sales.

“Publishers are using content to extend the life of games, to extend the reasons to keep them – that’s a good thing, as it’s good for us and we’ll sell more of the games,” GAME Chief Executive Ian Shepherd told MCV. And despite predictions that the strategy was a frontal assault on pre-owned game sales, Shepherd said consumer interest in used games remains strong.

“We’ve not seen the changes in the commercial nature of how some games have launched make any impact on the trade-in category,” he continued. “It’s still a strong part of our business.”

It’s still a bit early to draw conclusions on the long-term impact of Online Pass-style programs, but if publishers can meaningfully take part in the pre-owned market without diminishing a very important revenue stream for retailers, not to mention cutting off trade-in opportunities for cash-strapped gamers, it’s good news for everyone.

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