Despite being designed specifically to make buying new games more appealing, analyst Michael Pachter says that Project Ten Dollar and its ilk are yet to make a dent in pre-owned sales.
Michael Pachter says that retailers haven’t experienced any decline in their pre-owned sales since the launch of schemes like EA’s Project Ten Dollar or the online pass for EA Sports titles. Speaking in a post-financials report of GameStop, Pachter said that the retailer estimated that only a quarter of gamers who bought used games played them online, so having to shell out for things like the online pass wasn’t much of a disincentive.
But while the DLC bonuses might not have hurt retailers, Pachter doesn’t think it will especially help them either. Again speaking about GameStop, he believes that the company’s attempts to sell DLC via in-store kiosks would not be a major boost to sales, despite having exclusive content like Spartan armor for Halo: Reach. Instead, he thought it would, at best, “forestall the inevitable cannibalization of physical disc sales and allow GameStop to capture a small percentage of this cannibalization, with relatively insignificant margin contribution.”
There’s always going to be a place for physical game sales, just as some people will prefer physical books over e-books, but as Pachter suggests, the balance will eventually shift over to digital distribution as people become more used to the idea. Exactly when that will happen, however, is very hard to say.