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Braben: "Pre-Owned Has Really Killed Core Games"

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
Core games, David Braben, Pre-owned games, Singleplayer games, Used games

Braben: "Pre-Owned Has Really Killed Core Games"

Industry legend and Frontier Developments-founder, David Braben is a man unafraid to speak his mind, and the latest thing that has gotten his goat would appear to be pre-owned games. According to Braben, pre-owned games are ruining the industry, with singleplayer "core" experiences suffering the most.

"The real problem when you think about it brutally," began Braben, in an interview with Gamasutra, "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 preowned game out of principle.

"Of course, none of that revenue or chart position gets recorded, or VAT [value-added tax]... it's borderline whether that's legitimate. But 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."

According to Braben, it's the lost revenue from retailers recycling pre-owned material that has not only lead to a certain sense of creative stagnation, but has also kept prices up.

"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.

"Developers and publishers need that revenue to be able to keep doing high production value games, and so we keep seeing fewer and fewer of them."

We're no strangers to the notion that pre-owned titles are bad from an industry perspective, but the idea that inflated prices would drop were the pre-owned market to disappear seems a little fanciful if we're honest. It's not as if there's a towering precedent of trust in such goodwill in the age of Day 1 on-disc DLC, online passes, and punitive DRM.

 

Add a comment8 comments
DivideByZero  Mar. 19, 2012 at 16:54

Yes, but that doesn't change the fact that HOME TAPING IS KILLING MUSIC!

misc103  Mar. 19, 2012 at 19:25

"prices would have come down long ago if the industry was getting a share of the resells" ERRM.... My god you are deluded, Yes the prices surely would have dropped massively,

no they would not!

Please also acknowledge it is the damn shops who are selling the games which would not be able to be there without the revenue they receive from pre-owned, without that given DEVELOPERS take such a high margin shops die.

ERRM POINT AND CASE GMG (GAME)

So seriously try another argument as that one is absolute malony and the developers have being trying to cut out retailers for years.

Preowned applys for EVERY SINGLE OTHER MARKET the game industry needs to realize that money is never theirs and never should be.

New games are purchased from recycled money without preowned, gamers run out of money, new sales slow down, smaller developers lose sales and woo we are left with EA, and they dont keep churning out the same old rubbish at all...

My god gaming developers are dumb

just say it rather than Bull around the point,

YOU WANT ALL THE MONEY,

MattGardner  Mar. 19, 2012 at 22:07

I think it's important to note the difference between developers and publishers. That's not to paint all devs as struggling, penniless creatives, nor all publishers as greedy, corporate shills, but the point remains.

Braben's statements are worthy from a developer's standpoint, if unoriginal. But they also fail to take consumer fears into account. There's nothing, NOTHING AT ALL to suggest prices will fall if pre-owned disappears, just idealistic speculation in the face of disheartening precedent. Furthermore, with Day 1 DLC proving more and more prevalent, consumers aren't even sure if they're getting "the whole game" any more. In fact, the entire notion of a "complete game" is becoming something of a farce.

Rubisco  Mar. 19, 2012 at 23:16

PC games (for which there is far less of a second-hand market) cost less than console games. Pretty big 'suggestion' prices would fall IMHO, it's bordering on QED!

In fact, the higher-priced PC games are by and large the ones that are also available on consoles. Which would suggest that the high prices demanded by the console sales model is also keeping PC prices artificially high...

Rubisco  Mar. 19, 2012 at 23:25

"Preowned applys for EVERY SINGLE OTHER MARKET the game industry needs to realize that money is never theirs and never should be."

LOL. What other preowned product is stocked in UK supermarkets? If they tried that on with any other industry there would be uproar! The only reason they get away with it is because Game et al have set a precedent.

DivideByZero  Mar. 19, 2012 at 23:59

PC games (for which there is far less of a second-hand market) cost less than console games. Pretty big 'suggestion' prices would fall IMHO, it's bordering on QED!

In fact, the higher-priced PC games are by and large the ones that are also available on consoles. Which would suggest that the high prices demanded by the console sales model is also keeping PC prices artificially high...


I disagree with that. PC is cheaper because you can release for free on PC, whereas you have to pay MS / Sony to release on the Xbox / PS3.

The cost of games (on PC) is due to demand, they will always try and charge as much as they can get away with. If a title is huge then they will charge a big price tag. They have to get the price point right. Charge too much and no one buys, charge to little and everyone buys and you don't make as much as you could have.

I agree that 2nd hand is pretty dead on PC, with things like Steam and other harsh DRM. This however, is not why prices are the way they are IMO.

MattGardner  Mar. 20, 2012 at 00:40

A slightly sideways argument might be that games have held their high prices because that's simply where the bar has been set with each new generation. In other words, the value argument of "that's the way it's always been", give or take a little for inflation over the years.

iOS has kinda **** that, mind.

Tsung  Mar. 20, 2012 at 08:41

"- prices would have come down long ago if the industry was getting a share of the resells."

Rubbish, he knows, as well as I do that prices only go in one direction and that is up. Sing from a new song sheet this one is getting old.

Years ago it was piracy to blame for high game prices. "If people didn't copy our games we would sell more and thus they would be cheaper.". Now it's the 2nd hand market being blamed. Once that gets sorted who's next to be blamed? Indi Developers? for releasing high quality games at low prices?. Hows about DLC for adding value to existing games stopping people from buying the new ones?. Or maybe Steam/GMG/etc for having weekend sales dropping prices offering discount? or maybe GOG for selling old games people should have forgotten about?

It's all GREED; however we might not have long to find out if this is true. If the next Xbox is released with cartridges and no way of reselling bought games by "Braben Rules" the games will be cheaper. Can anyone really see that happening?

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