David Braben knows a thing or two about the gaming industry. The man co-wrote the enormously influential Elite, founded Frontier Developments and, more recently, worked on Lost Winds, Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 and Kinect Disneyland Adventures.
Sir Braben has now chimed in on the ever-controversial topic of used game sales, and how they are not only keeping game prices high but harming development of single player-focused 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”, Braben told Gamasutra.
“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.
“It’s killing single player games in particular, because they will get preowned, 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.”
Braben does make a very good point. Publishers are desperate to try and get any money they can from second-hand sales, hence the introduction of the ‘online pass’ system – which limits online play to those with a brand new copy or those that have purchased one seperately.
My two cents? Let’s all make a stronger push towards digital; no second hand sales, cheaper distribution and manufacturing costs, lower prices (in theory).