Some hardcore gamers aren't too happy with the explosion of multiplayer and the fact that single-player adventures seem to be taking a back seat. On top of which, players often complain about the cost of games.

And Frontier Developments founder David Braben says if you feel games are too pricey, and you feel single-player popularity is on the decline, blame the used game market. In a lengthy Gamasutra interview , Braben said he won't buy a pre-owned game "on principle" and in fact, the used game market is "killing the core games."

"The real problem when you think about it brutally, if you look at just core gamer games, pre-owned has really killed core games. In some cases, it’s killed them dead. I know publishers who have stopped games in development because most shops won’t reorder stock after initial release, because they rely on the churn from the resales. I won’t buy a pre-owned game out of principle."

For years, publishers and developers have been complaining about used games, as they only result in more profit for retailers, but not another dime for the companies that actually produced the title. Furthermore, Braben added that day-one sales are no longer an automatic indicator of success, and this goes double for single-player-oriented games.

"But it’s killing single player games in particular, because they will get pre-owned, and it means your day one sales are it, making them super high risk. I mean, the idea of a game selling out used to be a good thing, but nowadays, those people who buy it on day one may well finish it and return it.

People will say ‘Oh well, I paid all this money and it’s mine to do with as I will’, but the problem is that’s what’s keeping the retail price up — prices would have come down long ago if the industry was getting a share of the resells."

Strong statements. What do you think?

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Oyashiro
Oyashiro
9 years ago

"I won’t buy a pre-owned game out of principle."

David Braben and I seem to have the same principles. 🙂

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Indeed, I too share such principles. Confuses the hell out of the gamestop drones.

Oyashiro
Oyashiro
9 years ago

Tell me about it! Its like there lives depend on making that used sale.

Do…Do their lives depend on them now? I'm not up to date on GameStops employee policies.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Based on their desperation I can only conclude that GameStop pays commission to their employees based on the number of used titles that they can sell instead of new. They probably have 'conversion' rate targets for staff demanding that they convert a certain % of new game sales to used game sales in order to achieve a performance bonus or something.

Underdog15
Underdog15
9 years ago

"Error 637 – Entitlement factor returning a null value in line(s) 3, 7, and 48. Infinite loop detected in logic. The following comments are not up to standards and are not objectively secure. Please try again at a later and/or grownup age."

At least that's what I get on my screen when I scroll through the comments sections of these types of topics. Nothing so far, though.

Anyone else get it? I'm using Mozilla Firefox.


Last edited by Underdog15 on 3/19/2012 12:31:06 PM

Palpatations911
Palpatations911
9 years ago

I'm getting that error message too.

Underdog15
Underdog15
9 years ago

Wow, I was expecting to get downvoted to kingdom come…

Perhaps I wasn't clear enough? You all realize I'm agreeing with Highlander and Oyashiro, right?

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

You know what I think…. 😉

One thing to add though. i wish we were hearing Braben's name in conjunction with a new Elite game instead of this. As important as this topic is, I want that new version of Elite.

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

I sort of see this as chopping at the branches and not at the root of what's actually going on. Many arguments can be made to explain why gaming is in the the state it is, I know, I've been on message boards for a while. I don't doubt that in the current system we have now, where a commodity can be bought and resold freely, with businesses having the capacity to choose to market this product on their terms, allows for this sort of sub-market of revenue.
Over the last week, or so, the next-gen has really turned into a downer for myself. The next-gen I invisioned. This technological arms race in making bigger more realistic looking games is killing off niche games. While I have yet to read a NG3 review not written by a biased idiot, I have little doubt the dumbing down and whoring out to blood lovers has something to do with trying to stay profitable. So while we can be all upset about the re-sale market, I think it's wise to consider, under the budget limits of the last gen, a wide variety of high profile niche games appeared to survive just fine even with Gamestop's skimming money off the top to sustain their own market that, in turn, does create much more accesibility and visibility of gaming in the market place.


Last edited by Temjin001 on 3/19/2012 12:38:06 PM

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

GameStop is not "skimming money off the top", they are gouging holes in the revenue sheets of small and large game makers alike. When Gamestop's revenue from used game sales represents a significant fraction of the annual gaming market (which is does). More than 2 years ago, Gamestop reported billion of USD in revenue from used games alone. I don't have the up to date figures, but I know that the amount of revenue generated by used games has been increasing for them to the point where it is now their primary revenue stream and dwarfs their revenues from selling new consoles and games. GameStop is essentially in the business of selling used items, and has a side line of premium 'new' item sales. That's hardly "skimming money off the top" is it?

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

I have to apologize on behalf of Ryan Mccaffrey's US OXM review of NG3. His seemed to read legit enough and not like an editorial with a score attached at the end of a subjective opinion piece.
CVG and IGN should both be ashamed.

And what's with UK OXM using a screenshot with a massive screen tear slicing through it… lol

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

Well, I haven't looked at any numbers, Highlander. But in regards to the topic, I think its wise to look closely at many variables that could be contributing to why gaming is the way it is. I don't doubt whatsover that single player gaming, in the state it's in right now, is probably suffering as this guy states it. And while you seem to be looking at Gamestop's used game protitability, I have to ask you. Do you know of Amazon's, eBay's or other used outlets as having grown or declined over the last few years in game sales? Could Gamestop have won over their users with their aggressive marketing? Has the used game market actually grown or shrunk as a whole? Do we know that? How does online offered DLC and digitally distributed revenue help balance out revenue streams? How has the explosion of iOs and Androids this gen affected people's buying trends? How has the economic recession affected the buying budgets of gamers? How has the explosion of online gaming contributed to the decline in single player gamer interests.

These are the kinds of questions I ask myself concerning this matter before I'll form any hard opinions.

Personally, I like having the option, used or new, based on my terms; freely chosing how I engage this free market. Trading, lending or selling as I see fit. I know many who do it, and I know many who don't do it through Gamestop. And I'd like that not to change.

Havoc
Havoc
9 years ago

Why wouldnt the people who make the games not want to be able to make really cool looking games. Its like making a little big Planet lvl, its more enjoyable because it can look so good graphicly.

It seems laughable to suggest that the industry (which has games on phones that look better than last gen games) should keep thier console tech old just to do what let more games be made each year. Cause last year had so many incredible pretty games it was hard to keep up with them all.

Keepem coming prettier and prettier I say.

Tried to reply to your comment above I dont know how I got on this one.lol


Last edited by Havoc on 3/19/2012 6:13:27 PM

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

I know Havoc. I want incredible looking games as well. Escalating budgets to generate huge realistic worlds, or massive set pieces, is proving to be precarious to the health of many publishers and developers. The more realistic and more open games become, the more coding and asset creation becomes necessary. This may be all well and good for the major studios, like EA and Activision. But as medium and smaller sized pubs, like THQ and Tecmo Koei, try to maintain their footing, they appear to have to take less risks with their product offering to compete. I know there are exceptions this gen, Demon's SOuls, for one. But really, if the next-gen begat a 7x increase in production over this gen(as we have seen similarly from the past), all for the sake of production expense, are we really going to be winning in the long run with games that play little more than simple, pick-up and play, interactive action movies? With ample amounts of stimuli for very little player investment. Sorry, but if that becomes the dominent state of gaming for the next gen. I think at that point, I'd just as well watch movies and not waste my time pushing buttons to get the experience. I'd probably pay a lot less, too 😉

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Temjin, I know you're being genuine, but come on, be serious. the used gaming market has never been more significant. The chunk of revenue that is represented by used game sales at retail outlets has grown year on year over the last decade, especially the last 6 years or so.

frostface
frostface
9 years ago

One game I never see appear on shelves 2nd hand is Red Dead Redemption. It's because Rockstar believe that if you make a game so good and keep supporting it long after it's release, people won't want to trade it in.

Instead of moaning about the used game market, make some bloody games people will want to keep. I'm not saying that people don't also trade in good games but they're a hell of a lot more likely to keep it and support the developers if they don't feel like they're being shafted 50/60quid.

Rogueagent01
Rogueagent01
9 years ago

Really there is a fairly simple solution to this, though it won't work for everybody. With the leap in HDD sizes available to say the PS3, these devs need to keep their eyes on Gamestops and other stores like it and keep the digital version of their games slightly cheaper then what Gamestop offers for its used copy. Mind you there would need to be a timeframe in which the game still holds a higher price for the first say month or two. Also when it comes to the digital copies make sure they are cheaper than the physical media, this should be common sense.

The Mom and Pop store I use all the time offers coupons for 5 to 10 dollars off of new copies of games, and they sell like hotcakes. I really don't see the used market as an issue, since the devs/ publishers have in my eyes backed themselves into a corner. Just look at the Shivering Isles Expansion on the PSN it is still 30 dollars, and it has been out for how many years? No wonder people will buy the used physical copy from Gamestop, hell I DID. And really as time goes buy I feel less and less sympathy for these publishers, as they don't want to change with the times, they just expect used game stores to shut their doors or the goverment to step in and make used copies illegal, rather then find a work around in which they can both survive and make money.

Trust me, I know some of you will hate my post/thoughts on the subject but it is my opinion. The used game market has been here since day one and now we have a multi-billion dollar industry, it is not the used game markets fault that these devs have forgot how to make a good game with a smaller budget in which they could then maximise their profit.

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

I agree with several of your points =)

Helghast
Helghast
9 years ago

I buy used games BECAUSE of the high price of new games. I do buy most of my games new because I buy them just after release, but I do buy some used; and I keep ALL of the games new or used, forever. I have never sold or traded a single game. I have all of my games all the way back from the PS1/N64 days when I first started gaming. Make the price of new games lower, or even decrease them by $10 per year after the release and maybe I would stop buying used games. If the price of new games was lower, used games would have to be sold for less and retailers would would not like that. If a new game is say $50 and a used copy costs $35 or $40 I would spring for the new game just to support the developer, but at the current price of games the money saved buying used can be too good to pass up.


Last edited by Helghast on 3/19/2012 1:34:46 PM

wackazoa
wackazoa
9 years ago

Right on… Its not like people are buying used games $5 or $10 cheaper. Most WOULD buy the new at that price. Its the $20 and $30 games (and cheaper) that supports the used game market.

Palpatations911
Palpatations911
9 years ago

Maybe he should occupy gamestop. What a whiner.

Underdog15
Underdog15
9 years ago

Nah. That won't work.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

lol

___________
___________
9 years ago

companies are going broke, families are going without dinner, all because of this, and hes the whiner!?
god, i cant believe how selfish people have become these days!

CrusaderForever
CrusaderForever
9 years ago

Couldn't agree with him more. The only thing I disagree with is the day 1 sales. I have bought many games 4 or 5 months after they were released brand new. Resistance 3 will be another. Probably picking R3 up this summer. Sorry to have to say it but an all digital world is the only way to go for the developers. I really wonder if the X720 will ban used games. Now that's an interesting thought.


Last edited by CrusaderForever on 3/19/2012 2:10:30 PM

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

I don't see the connection he's trying to make. There's no evidence that the used game market caused the multiplayer trend which in turn caused the decline of single player.

Game prices are actually very good considering what goes into them, and furthermore the loss of core games is actually due to the popularity of the faster and dumber mentality currently trending.

wackazoa
wackazoa
9 years ago

Oh… you mean it might have been the ADVERTISING selling all those copies of COD ?

coverton341
coverton341
9 years ago

Yeah, I can't really make the logical jump from "used game market" to "decline of single player".

I can however see how used games keep prices high. I think the real decline of the single player games has been the desire of developers and publishers to fall lock-step in line with COD and other franchises that have fared extremely well on their multiplayer offerings.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

I'm not sure I follow you about advertising wack, I think that CoD sells because it manages to be both hardcore and casual while appealing to the "constant action" crowd.

wackazoa
wackazoa
9 years ago

I find it funny that the ones who make the most noise about the used game industry hurting gaming are the ones with the most to gain money wise should the used game industry fall…..

Underdog15
Underdog15
9 years ago

Well…. yeah…. of course… Gamestop's not gonna complain about the used market. Why would the people up to LOSE money promote losing money? The people who want change are the ones that are going to voice wanting change. No surprise there.

wackazoa
wackazoa
9 years ago

Was actually meaning gamers and most non CEO programmers arent the ones complaining. Its the presidents and CEO's of these companies coming out complaining. The ones who truely make the money of the games.

Norrin Radd
Norrin Radd
9 years ago

The real issue for gamers, as I see it, is what do I do with this game when I'm done with it? Not everyone wants to collect. Some of the collections I've seen from people on here are astonishingly large – and take up an entire room in a house! With a wife and 3 kids – I ain't got that kind of room.

Perhaps if the publishers offered a buy back program and the selling of refurbished copies for less than new, they could eliminate the third party "used" game market altogether. Just a thought off the top of my head, so sorry if it seems crazy. I'm not a fan of $60 games (although I recognize the bargain in that price compared to when I started home gaming on my PONG – I am not kidding) – that's a LOT of dough. Believe me – if they cost $40 or even $50 a shot, they'd be much easier to justify in a family's monthly budget. As it is, I buy fewer games each year. WIth 3 young kids, that means every LEGO release and few others for dad (thank you, Rocksteady, for giving me some games that last for months!!!).

In any event, I wonder if digital copies are the answer. Are they easier to pirate and use than hard copies? If no – then maybe they ARE the answer. All I know is I've been gaming a long time and the games now are more engaging and fun than they ever have been. I have been LOST in Batman AA & AC for the last couple of weeks and will be for weeks more to come. I love the games this gen – Uncharted? Awesome. Dead Space? Smokin'! You get the idea. I want to have happen whatever it takes to propel the industry forward with excellent games. If that means killing the used market – in whatever means necessary – is required, then do it!

wackazoa
wackazoa
9 years ago

Good ideas. The buy back thing I dont think so as they want to keep your money not give it back..

How about making sequels to game DLC instead of a new disc. That way the game could continue as you had played it, or expand that world. Not have to recreate the feeling you had playing through the first.

Squirrelicus
Squirrelicus
9 years ago

I don't buy used games, not on principle or anything like that. I just don't see the logic in spending $54 for a used game when I can buy it new for $59.99
Honestly I don't know how Gamestop stays in business. There are three right next to each other over here. One in the mall, one across the street from the mall and one in the strip mall next to bestbuy that shares a parking lot with the mall. But I suppose when you charge $54 for a game you paid $5 for you can afford to open a store every thirty feet.

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
9 years ago

Squirrelicus,

As a hardcore gaming collector, I seriously doubt you'll ever frequent as many GameStops, or as often, as much as I do, so believe me when I tell you this……

So please….stop spreading that $54 vs $59 because for the most part, it's mostly misleadingly false, & utter bullshite.

Only most of the COD's stay at $54 for any length of time.

Almost every other USED game quickly drops to around the $35 range within just a few months time, and you get another 10% off if you get gameStop's own PowerUpRewards(PUR) card.
Examples….(yesterday's actual prices)
Catherine now $34.99 (PUR price $31)
Shadow of the damned now $24.99 (PUR price $22)

Plus, PUR card holders can also D/L money off coupons from their rewards card points that they've accumulated.
Example…..And just yesterday, I used my PUR card to get 10% off L.A. Noire, plus a $20.00 off PUR coupon too, making my L.A. Noire purchase only $4.80. And that price included the tax too.

BTW, I actually wanted to buy L.A. Noire new but being out of work without the needed funds, plus factoring in that I just recently spend over $400 for my G3 Vita & it's games, & another $40 for Red Dead Redemption:GOTY brand new at Amazon, I really had no choice, otherwise I wouldn't be play L.A.Noire at all for quite a long, long while.

PS: And what if Gamestop is on almost every 5 blocks???
There's 5 GS's localized in a 10 mile radius around me, so that just leaves me 5-times more chances of finding a huge variety of used games to add into my older gaming collections.


Last edited by BikerSaint on 3/19/2012 3:55:46 PM

Jawknee
Jawknee
9 years ago

"So please….stop spreading that $54 vs $59 because for the most part, it's mostly misleadingly false, & utter bullshite."

Sorry Biker, but it's not BS. I was just in GameStop two days ago and most of the newest titles that they had used were retailing for $5 less than the MSRP for new copies. It wasn't just Call of Duty. I even found a few used Wii games that they were selling $5 to $10 more than you could get the new for on Amazon. Epic Mickey for example is going for $30 used at GameStop. I got it new at Best Buy for $20. GameStop drops there prices when develeprs do but they are pretty consistent in keeping them $5 less than the new prices. Whether it be $59.99 vs $54.99 or $29.99 vs $24.99.

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
9 years ago

Jawknee,

OK, I can't vouch for the Wii games cause I rarely buy them anymore for my collection, plus there's so many shovelware games for it.
And also because no matter what I do to fix my Wiimote's sensitivity, I still can't calibrate it enough so that I'm not constantly spinning around instead of doing anything else.
And because of that alone, I've really learned to hate on my Wii.

But as for both the PS3 & Xbox games, you're absolutely wrong, because over 90% of those new games drop to around $35 within a few months.

Matter of fact, if you've noticed, a few of the 360 version titles price drop even faster than their same PS3 counterparts, just because the Xbox crowds seem to turn the same ole, same ole, titles, and in a much quicker rate.
So GS has tons of the same ole used 360 overstocked titles that they're trying to turn over quicker than PS3 stock.

BTW, I'm quick to bitch by email about "console discrimination to Gamestop's upper management whenever I see a used 360 game that's $5 to $7 dollars cheaper, than it is for the PS3.
It may not be getting anything done, but at least I'm getting the satisfaction of firing away at them about some of their shady practices.

Jawknee
Jawknee
9 years ago

I'm not wrong. I sat in there for an hour comparing and contrasting and just about 80% of their used games were $5 less than the new copies they had. What I am saying is even if a game at Target drops to $35 Gamestop will drop their price to $30. They stay within $5 of new prices whether it be a Greatest Hits that goes for $19.99 new, Gamestop sells it $14.99 used. The games you are collecting are likely older games or games that aren't sold new or hard to find so there is nothing to compare it too. The games I am talking about are ones that are still in stores like Target, Walmart, Best Buy etc and those prices are generally $5 higher than what Gamestop is selling them for.

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
9 years ago

Jawknee,
I do the same comparison shopping between different brand stores too, & you'd be right if I were talking about that very subject.

But I'm not talking about comparison brand shopping in my post above, I'm only talking about GS & GS alone.

At the very least, I've been in 2 of my 5 local GS's almost daily for years now, just to see what used titles might've popped in.

So you can bet I'm always price-checking current games while I'm there and the vast majority of the PS3/360 games(sans COD & a very small fistful of others) definitely do drop to around $35 within a few months.

Anyway, I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on this point.

slugga_status
slugga_status
9 years ago

I agree with him to an extent. My thing is that you can't directly relate the lack of SP games due to the used game market. Sure it happens with some games and/or devs. I know that much..but not all.

I still believe if you make a high quality SP game then people will buy it. You can't seriously put out a average SP game or ofcourse people are going to buy it used. Seriously who wants to pay top dollar for a game that isn't worth it?

You give me a Alan Wake, La Noire, DMC series, MGS, etc. then you have my money. It's the quality that counts. It amazes me that some devs have such a enormous budget but then put out crap and wonder why they're not making money

Palpatations911
Palpatations911
9 years ago

Good point. This guy isn't responsible for any games of the caliber you mentioned. According to Frontier's website, they make games like Kinectimals and Disneyland adventures. I could see the challenges with selling them for $59.99 to the audience that buys those types of games. That audience being children.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Just a general comment about this whole thing about used copies and whether people can justify a game in their monthly budget and whether people collect their games or not.

Gaming today is different to me. two decades or more ago, people didn't buy a new game every week or month, you might have got a new game once a month if you were well off, or perhaps once every other month – because they were expensive. You didn't trade in your games, although you might lend them to friends or whatever, but mostly you played them and played them. Relative to that time, thanks to the effects of inflation, games are relatively cheap now. But I think that people play games for less time now than they used to. Once they complete their play through they don't want to replay they want a new game. no attention span, attention deficit, call it what you will, but people don't play games for the length of time they used to, and that feeds more product into the used market.

The used market is hugely significant in terms of retail game sales now, and no matter what people want to say, it does truly represent a significant amount of revenue *lost* by the developers and publishers.

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
9 years ago

Well, as a non-rich but serious gaming collector I'm in a much different boat than non-collecting gamers, so I have no choice but to buy some of my games used in order to fill in my collections.
And at 59, there's just no freaking way I could have ever accumilated even a 1/3 of the 2,325 game I have in all of my different console/handheld collections.

FYI,
I try to buy smart….
I will always buy new for the games that "I want to play", just by waiting a while for either a price drop, a sale, or a Buy 2-Get 1 free deal(Example: I got Duex Ex:Augmented Edition for only $47 when it was selling for $89.99).

For all others that I don't have much of an interest in playing(such as sports, RPG's, RTS), then I'll buy those genres as used games & only when they're old, super cheap, or in the bargain bins. And yes, even at thrift shops for $3 each.

Underdog15
Underdog15
9 years ago

I agree with World, and Slugga, and a little bit the guy mentioned in the article.

The cold hard fact is that the used industry definitely needs change. I think there's more than enough evidence out there to show the used market is hurting the industry. A secondary market should -NEVER- in any market have this much power over a primary market.

However, used sales are a cost effective thing for buyers that still needs to stay. There are disadvantages to buying used, hence the smaller price. (At least there should be) But they need to stay. However, in it's current state, it's definitely toxic.

Change is necessary… but not necessarily for the exact reasons this guy states. I think there are many better arguments than what he raised. (Although, there are a few good points)

jimmyhandsome
jimmyhandsome
9 years ago

I agree with you that a secondary market should never be more profitable/powerful than the primary market its in. Change is needed in that sense.

I don't however agree with his comment about single player games being a casualty of the used game market. I think that has a lot more to do with the rise of multiplayer, and as Highlander pointed out, lesser attention spans of gamers. For most, a single player-only game better be either really good, really long, or both to justify a day one purchase. And thats because of the preceived "lack of value" of not having any multiplayer by today's gamers. I guess some correlation can be drawn from the used game market, but I don't think its the direct cause.

Underdog15
Underdog15
9 years ago

Yeah, that's why I say despite an occasional good point, I didn't think it was necessarilly for any reason he states and that there are better arguments to support his point than what he raised. He just didn't have anything to refer to for support. It's a nice thought, but it sounds like it is a conclusion he came to after a series of different thoughts based off the previous thought, but never on any objective measurable.

Know what I mean? (All of us have done that on some topic in our lives at one point or another)

comicozi
comicozi
9 years ago

as long as used games are cheaper then new ones i will be buying used… dont have much money to spend on games to begin with.

tes37
tes37
9 years ago

I don't buy used games. I'll wait until I have the money to get it new.

Digital downloads are probably the only way to stop it, but I don't want my entire library to be sitting on a hard drive.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

I'll only support digital downloads over disc when there is a 20% or better discount on the digital copy vs the physical one. Digital copies should never cost the same as retail.