By Eelcire 16 Comments
Used games won't go away. Publishers need to realize this; and the more they fight against the will of the customer, the more they will lose out. There will always be a market for used items, be it books, movies, music, cars, houses, whatever. And a sale in a used item does not equate to a lost sale of a new item, which is also something the industry fails to understand.
When I purhcase a game, there is a set price I'm willing to spend on it based on my interest (e.g. demos, word of mouth, hype, knowledge of the series). So when a game is released for $60 new, I have to decide if that particular title is worth $60 to me. If not, I'll wait for the price to drop. What usually happens though, is that the used price drops more quickly than the new price does, so I end up with a used game. The problem is that most games released are all priced the same, instead of a relative value of production or worth. Not all games can be AAA million sellers. Unfortunately, the market can also disagree with this theory at times in that games like Viva Pinata were released at a lower price and still sold low (though that may have been due more to poor marketing).
If the industry feels they should get a cut of used merchandise, then it should work with retailers and not fight them. Why not work out a deal with retailers that sell used games so that they get a bigger percentage of profit selling new games, and in return, a portion of the used sales will go to the publisher. As it stands now, retailers make almost nothing on new games, with most of the money going to publishers. However, this business model relies on front-loaded sales; whereas Gamestop makes most of it's money on used games over a longer period of time.
One point I would have to side with the publishers is the Gamestop practice of used game prices on recent releases, where the savings are minimal. In this case, the publisher is losing a new sale, which in the end is lost financial support for the publisher and developer. After watching the Bonus Round on Gametrailers, I would have to agree with Michael Pachter that used game prices would need to be a minimum percentage off of the new price. This king of change can only happen though if the gaming industry is willing to work with used game retailers such as Gamestop; find a way to make the new game market more appealling for the retailer.
The industry needs to look critically at it's business model now, and see how it can work with emerging trends; and not spend money, time, and effort fighting against it. This is especially true with the emergence of direct-download sales. What of those sales? What can I with these games once I no longer want them? Will I still be able to play them when the next generation of systems is out? If activation is required, what happens 10 years down the line if I get the urge to play it again?
Books, movies, and music are still all surviving (despite what certain **AA groups might think), and there are healthy markets for both new and used items. None of them see any profits on used items either, why is gaming any different. Work with retailers, price your product accordingly, make better products that offer more value to the consumer; and most importantly don't fight against change, embrace it and use it to your advantage.
The used market isn't going anywhere. Instead of fighting retailers, work with them to find a solution that is beneficial for both parties.
The game industry is no different than that of books, music, or movies.