It’s no secret that game developers are less than enthused by the proliferation of used game sales in today’s market.  With rumors of the next generation of consoles finding ways to prevent the play of titles not purchased new, hardware manufacturers are even beginning to take precautions against used software.

And there is good reason for it, as used games accounted for 46% of GameStop’s total profit in 2011, with none of that money going back to developers.  Though there is no concrete data to suggest all of these used sales would translate into new purchases, developers are still taking a stand.  Head of Silicon Knights Denis Dyack is only the latest to vocalize his opinion.

In speaking to GamesIndustry International, Dyack explained used games have killed long-term sales on game titles.  “Literally, you will get most of your sales within three months of launch,” Dyack said, “which has created this really unhealthy extreme where you have to sell it really fast and then you have to do anything else to get money.”

We have seen signs recently of developers doing “anything else” to prevent gamers from buying used.  Online passes frequently accompany games today, providing access to content or modes that cost someone who has purchased the game used an additional fee.  Similarly, with season passes promising downloadable content over the course of a few months, developers are hoping they are giving players enough reasons to buy new and hold onto their games.

Dyack fears that the used market is “cannibalizing the industry,” as evidenced by the amount of money used games could be making for developers.  With ever expanding budgets, it will be more difficult to develop a top-tier game, and the amount lost from used sales could in fact make or break a studio.

Denis Dyack is not the first to speak out against used games, and will likely not be the last.  Expressing his sentiment with a bit more metaphor, Obsidian’s Chief Creative Officer Chris Avellone said last year “I hope digital distribution stabs the used game market in the heart.”

And a move towards an all-digital marketplace is likely what will be the final nail in the used game coffin.  Sony has already begun to move in that direction, with Vita titles releasing day-and-date on the PlayStation Network.  Until all systems adopt and commit solely to digital sales, however, it seems there is little developers can do to truly stifle the rampant sales of used games.

via [Kotaku]

12 COMMENTS

  1. Had I been forced to pay full asking price for Too Human, I would of wished Gonorrhea on Mr. Dyack. Used game sales saved Mr. Dyack’s genitals. He should be pleased.

  2. The whole reason that there’s a blossoming secondhand games market, as I’m sure any gamer on a budget will tell you or already has, is the price of new games.  I have a price limit of $40 for a game, $50 if it’s something I’m _really_ hanging out for.  If a game doesn’t hit that price point I won’t buy it until it does, which usually happens a year or two down the track. 

    I’ve been playing games since the days of the Commodore 64.  Having to pay $80 – $110 just for a game is ludicrous.  Even on Steam a new release game costs around $90.  The developers will get my money, eventually, unless I find a cheap secondhand copy of the game. 

    If they it sold brand new for $40 they’d get my money a _lot_ sooner.  They’d probably have a smaller problem with piracy as well. 

    The developers have heard all these comments before I’m sure, yet I don’t see smaller numbers on the pricetags at my local game shop, or on Steam.  Just more and more of them decrying that we’re not forking out a ton of cash for what is essentially a luxury item.

  3. The whole reason that there’s a blossoming secondhand games market, as I’m sure any gamer on a budget will tell you or already has, is the price of new games.  I have a price limit of $40 for a game, $50 if it’s something I’m _really_ hanging out for.  If a game doesn’t hit that price point I won’t buy it until it does, which usually happens a year or two down the track. 

    I’ve been playing games since the days of the Commodore 64.  Having to pay $80 – $110 just for a game is ludicrous.  Even on Steam a new release game costs around $90.  The developers will get my money, eventually, unless I find a cheap secondhand copy of the game. 

    If they it sold brand new for $40 they’d get my money a _lot_ sooner.  They’d probably have a smaller problem with piracy as well. 

    The developers have heard all these comments before I’m sure, yet I don’t see smaller numbers on the pricetags at my local game shop, or on Steam.  Just more and more of them decrying that we’re not forking out a ton of cash for what is essentially a luxury item.

    • Yep. If I buy a single game and feel bad for spending so much… there’s something wrong. $40 would be the perfect spot where I’d feel much better about my purchase. Mobile games should max at $20.

      I bought Uncharted with my Vita because I wanted it bad enough to fork over the money, but, like I did with my PSP, I’ll be waiting for most other titles to hit the $20 mark before I buy them. It’s one thing to tell me that a console game is worth $50 or $60, but to say a mobile game is the same is insane. While I have issues with the ‘throw-away nature’ of most of the content on smartphones… they’ve got it right changing a few dollars for the content which millions of people are willing to buy into. Steam sees this and offers deals all the time, Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo still struggle with the idea of a proper price drop and/or sale.

  4. I’ll listen to what Dyack has to say about the industry when hell freezes over. Guy is responsible for maybe three good games and he thinks he’s God’s gift to the industry.

  5. There are plenty of games where you can pretty much get to know all the content the game has to offer in about 20 hours. I don’t buy used games but I sure as heck won’t pay over 20€ for those kind of games either. The vast majority of games are way overpriced.

    I buy plenty of games when the price is ‘right’. I think I have even now a bit over dozen games that I haven’t yet played at all. Most of them picked up from Steam sales and others from sales bins. I don’t pay for over 10€for a game very often and the ones I pay over 20€ for are rare. They just don’t make many games with actual content these days. I’m hoping Wasteland 2 will be one of the games that will reverse this trend.

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