Published in Games
Used game sales continue to be a problem
by David Stellmack on29 August 2008
New content hopes to help customers hang on to games
The sale used video games continues to be a problem for console video game publishers as it continues to cut into sales of titles. The stores that are selling the second hand or recycled games continue to reap the benefits of buying and selling the second hand titles, while the publishers don’t get any additional cut from these sales.
Many consumers look at the purchase of used titles as a way to play the latest games and save money in the process. In many cases a consumer purchases a title, pays full price for it, and then sells it or trades it in after they have beaten or mastered the title. It is good for the consumer, but bad for the publisher.
Many of the publishers are starting to fight back with additional content for titles in an effort to keep the title fresh and create an additional revenue stream. By releasing extra content right away or shortly after release, they hope that they can delay the consumer trading in or selling the title to dealers in an effort to force those interested in the game to have to purchase a new copy because used copies are not available for sale.
The other front that publishers are using to attack second hand/used sales is the use of digital distribution for games. While this is popular already for new titles on the PC platform, it has not yet become viable on console systems yet because of the large storage requirements that are necessary to hold the titles. As the hard drive sizes for consoles increases however, digital distribution for new “A” list titles will become possible.
Still, one has to wonder if additional content and online play will be enough to help curb some of the most popular console titles from being sold or traded in to dealers. Publishers will continue to struggle with this issue as the escalation of the production of titles increases and publishers need to squeeze ever thing that they can out of a title.
In the mean time, we expect publisher to give continued to focus on smaller games that can be digitally distributed to console owners as these continue to be a very lucrative revenue stream for publishers. The recent release of Bionic Commando: Rearmed proved that there is money to be made with the release of titles of this type and consumers are willing to pay for these types of games.