THQ is now confirming that they will continue to deploy what they are calling a “premium content strategy” going forward that is intended to help curb the used video game market. Most recently, the company tested this concept with the UFC 2010 release that included a code for online play that was only included with new purchases of the title.
The strategy that apparently is modeled somewhat after Electronic Arts recent releases, and THQ is apparently planning to take things a step further with downloadable content to be blocked in addition to online play. Of course, THQ will continue to make an option available to purchase access to these features for the buyers of used THQ titles.
Activision also recently confirmed their intention to start taking a more heavy handed approach in dealing with the sales of used titles. Our sources tell us that publishers Ubisoft, Atari and Take-Two are also looking at deploying a similar strategy going forward to deal with the used title market.
The news isn’t making those retailers selling or those companies renting used titles happy. While some think it will cut into the used sales and title rentals, some are predicting that it could have an affect of publishers actually selling fewer numbers.
As one retailer who both sells and rents titles told us, “I am not sure that the publishers actually understand how much used sales and rental actually might be helping them make their sales numbers.” Another independent used retailer tells us, “…many buy titles new and play through them quickly to get maximum trade-in value to be able to afford to buy more new titles; and since we will be paying less for titles that deploy this strategy, it is possible that many buyers will re-evaluate how many games they are actually going to buy.”
We will have to see how this plays out, but you can expect unless there is a radical change that this is likely the norm going forward for the majority of titles released.