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Ready At Dawn: "Retail Outlets Are Taking Everybody For A Ride"

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
GameStop, Pre-owned games, Ready at Dawn, Ru Weerasuriya, The Order: 1886, Used games

Ready At Dawn: "Retail Outlets Are Taking Everybody For A Ride"

Ready At Dawn boss, Ru Weerasuriya, has slammed the current state of the used games market, saying that although he appreciates the principle of consumers being free to trade in their old games, the current system is far too heavily weighted in favour of certain retailers.

Yes, GameStop, we're talking about you.

"I think the problem is right now there are retail outlets that are really taking everybody for a ride. You can't make a living at the expense of everybody else. Unfortunately, they're not just making a living at the expense of developers but also the consumers because the consumers will see less and less games come out if developers can't get revenue to make more new titles and keep going as a business," Weerasuriya told GamesIndustry International.

"I think this is something we need to curb on the retail side. We're putting the consumers in an awkward spot and we shouldn't have to. Why should they be the ones to deal with a flawed system? They are the guys we do this for. They are the ones who should be able to benefit the most from being able to buy it."

It's a point we've made before: that we consumers are finding ourselves in the middle of a revenue battle between creators and traditional distributors. Weerasuriya's seen the consumer manipulation for himself, too:

"I walked into a GameStop, asked for a new copy of a game and without telling me he tried to slip me a used copy and wanted to sell it to me for $5 less. I flipped out in front of the guy. I was like, 'Dude, wrong guy... You're doing this to the wrong guy.' I don't think people realize, and the guy was trying to justify it to me. I was like, 'You have no idea.' There are developers out there who are making games for [years] and some of them will go down purely because the revenue stream is basically flawed and creating this place where developers don't see even a little part of it," he said.

"I don't think we should stop used games, but we should do something about getting part of the revenue back from GameStop and places like that. That's not penalizing the consumers; they'll still get what they want. But I don't know who's going to address it. [...] Think about it this way. What the consumer wants is choice. It doesn't mean we have to kill the $60 game, but you should have the choice for other price points. I would love to go home and play a two-hour game at night right before I go to bed. You play the game, get a full experience and a full story and go to sleep afterwards. I love that idea, but I also love the idea of playing the 15-hour game that I have to pay more for. I think there's room for different tiers. And I think the market is already breaking those out."

Elsewhere, Weerasuriya also explained why his company's game -- The Order: 1886 -- will be PS4 only. Yep, you guessed it. It turns out developers like that creative freedom thing that Sony keeps banging on about...

We saw the initial talks about PS4 and what it was going to be and we've had a relationship with Sony for 10 years, so we felt it was the right time to not only move but to move to a single platform again where we could bring our expertise to something that could make us realize the game we wanted. Once we knew that internally, we approached Sony and said this is what we have and here's where we want to go, and they listened to us and we had a great discussion about how big it was going to be, and it turned out to be bigger than expected. So it's a good conscious decision from us to target a platform that we could make the most of," he continued.

"For us, the number one factor in making our decision was always creative. And to a fault over the last 10 years, we sometimes chose creative over a lot of other things. Yes, of course, there's an opportunity to make a dual-platform game and there are third-party publishers we can go to, and it's not something we'll ever dismiss, but for now since we've been so targeted towards working on a single platform it felt natural for us to make that decision regardless of the financial hit we would take," he said.

"In the future, who knows? I can only imagine that if the platforms get more and more similar in the future, maybe hardware manufacturers will only make hardware. I don't think that's ever going to happen because you still need to support your hardware. Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo still need to support their platforms. And Sony always takes chances on their hardware to make very, very risky games as far as ideas and content is concerned, but it pays off. You have to be willing to give part of that financial aspect up to see your vision through."

Add a comment7 comments
Breadster  Jul. 22, 2013 at 18:40

I do think we need used games, but I agree that the games retailers push used sales far too aggressively, they really have no shame when it comes to trying to get people to buy pre-owned. I've had similar experiences to that mentioned in the article, where they just try to get you to buy used when you're specifically after a new copy.

DivideByZero  Jul. 23, 2013 at 10:21

"I don't think we should stop used games, but we should do something about getting part of the revenue back from GameStop and places like that."

FFS, this again.

Does this happen with:

Games Consoles: NO
Music: NO
Books: NO
Films: NO
Cars: NO
Houses: NO
Mother F***ing Toasters: NO!

Wait... it doesn't happen with ANYTHING... so why should it with games?

I don't even trade in games yet this really p***** me off. Occasionally I will but some crappy old used game for mega cheap just to give it a try... and often, I become a fan of the series and buy the next one new. If there were not cheap used games to do this with I wouldn't have tried it and would just play CoD and FIFA forever.

If shops are trying to trick people in to buying used games, that is bad, but I do get the feeling that he is more p***** with the used games market than anything else.

revolter69  Jul. 23, 2013 at 18:56

all developers need to do is make a game people don't want to trade and the problem disappears

when they bring out a game that costs $60 for 10 hours of game play its their own fault

Last edited by revolter69, Jul. 23, 2013 at 18:58
Anarchist  Jul. 24, 2013 at 07:40

"I don't think we should stop used games, but we should do something about getting part of the revenue back from GameStop and places like that."

FFS, this again.

Does this happen with:

Games Consoles: NO
Music: NO
Books: NO
Films: NO
Cars: NO
Houses: NO
Mother F***ing Toasters: NO!

Wait... it doesn't happen with ANYTHING... so why should it with games?


+1

This is exactly my argument. I'm not sure why the gaming industry thinks it is above everybody else.

Being able to resell our purchases once we're finished with them is a way of life. Once we no longer need/want something, we get rid of it and recuperate as much of the cost as possible, especially where money is tight. It happens with almost everything else we ever purchase that is not consumable.

Games publishers have never had a problem with it up until a few years back - now it is ALL we hear about, at a time when the publishers are already trying to pinch as much money from us as possible with day one DLC, excessive DLC that should have been in the main game anyway (In the good old days, these content updates used to be known as a 'patch'. Now, a patch just refers to them fixing bugs that they missed because they were rushed to get the game out...), microtransactions, online passes, serialised creativeless annual releases, and so on.

Whatever happened to when fans were treat with dignity and respect...?

MattGardner  Jul. 24, 2013 at 12:22

DBZ, you've missed the point. It's not that used games are bad, it's that the industry has progressed to a certain point without evolving.

The answer is a healthier digital ecosystem. Every other service you mention - books, films, TV shows, and music - all have massive digital services and multiple distribution platforms with diverse pricing models. We can buy films individually in physical and digital form or subscribe to streaming services.

The used market is there to allow physical media buyers to retain some value in the items that they've bought. No one complains because in these other markets consumers have plenty of choice. We can buy books or films or music digitally for less money, we can pay monthly fees for unlimited content, but the physical market and preowned options are still there and physical media often depreciates at a quicker rate, making for a long tail.

In gaming, it's a console problem, really. You rarely get PC complaints because the PC has had diverse digital distribution that undercuts physical media quite often for some time now. You don't have fixed points really in other media and, if you do, there's often backwards compatibility (eg. Blu-Ray players playing DVDs, DVDs/CDs that can be rendered in digital format).

It's not used games' fault. And there wouldn't be a problem if the console side of the industry was more open. The industry is straining to evolve, but many publishers and retailers aren't ready for that to happen, so in their panic they're squeezing tighter to try and stop it.

Weerasuriya isn't calling for an end to used games, he's calling for more choice for developers, for publishers, and for consumers. He's calling for an end to the "pay £40-50 or bust" mentality. And that's a good thing.

Last edited by MattGardner, Jul. 24, 2013 at 12:24
DivideByZero  Jul. 24, 2013 at 15:20

"We can buy books or films or music digitally for less money"

Sometimes, sometimes not.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1st book I could think of)
Kindle = £4.99
Ebook on Pottermore = £4.99
Paperback book delivered = £4.50 (Amazon new).

Books, Films and Music are relatively new for being on electronic format - games, by definition, have always been electronic. They probably should be in a much better state than they are!

I couldn't agree more that if there was some sort of Steam like digital client for consoles where you could get the online version cheaper than the physical version it would be a good thing... but look at Steam, look at MS and Sony digital prices... well above shop prices and even more so to online shop prices. Greed is the problem here, surely?

"Weerasuriya isn't calling for an end to used games"
Well, he says he's not - but you can clearly see where he stands on it. You can feel his hate for the concept of used games in his statement.

For instance: "You have no idea.' There are developers out there who are making games for [years] and some of them will go down purely because the revenue stream is basically flawed and creating this place where developers don't see even a little part of it,""

That IS how the used market works for ALL of the things I have listed. Again, why should games be any different?

Now don't get me wrong, I do think it would be good for the Devs to get some money back on used sales to support gaming... but for that to happen, publishers and SONY / MS would also take their cut and then the price of used games would hike, gamers would just get ripped off, causing the price of new games to also hike and a whole load of other debates to kick off.

But this doesn't happen elsewhere, so again, why should it happen in gaming?

Last edited by DivideByZero, Jul. 24, 2013 at 15:23
Breadster  Jul. 24, 2013 at 20:26

There is a difference between games and music/films that you're missing though. Films are released at the cinema first and (ideally) make a crap ton of money there, and music artists are paid to perform shows regularly and often sell tons of merchandise at said shows, and they get royalties whenever songs are played on the radio or tv. Plus it doesn't cost half as much money to make an album as it does a game or film.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for used games, I'm just pointing out that the different forms of entertainment can't be so strictly compared.

I think the best way to combat used games is to lower the prices. Sure it's risky but the only reason I buy used games is because they're cheaper. And yes I know that used games would obviously still be cheaper anyway, but if the price of games could go as low as say £20 (obviously I don't think that would ever happen though), I would probably always buy new.

I also liked the incentives to buy new games that were all the rage at one point. Not the online passes obviously, the deals where you got extra characters/missions/weapons/etc for buying new. It's always better to reward people for doing something than to punish them for not doing it.

Last edited by Breadster, Jul. 24, 2013 at 20:35

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