Publishers and retailers must get together and figure out a way of working together to tackle the dual problem of pre-owned and digital retail, Codemasters CEO Rod Cousens has stated.
Pre-owned is regarded by a threat by publishers as they don’t see any returns from sales of used games – further more, a proportion of pre-owned sales come at the expense of new game sales.
However, from retail’s perspective the threat from digital is just as vast. With console platform holders in complete control of the walled gardens that surround their digital content platforms, big question marks hand over their future.
“What we have to figure out is how we're going to work together to make this happen,” Cousens told GamesIndustry. “Retail takes a confrontational point of view and says that if we go online, they won't stock the box. And publishers then say that all they're going to do is put out DLC after launch that retail can't participate in. It's ridiculous.
“The way it's structured today is destructive, and it's negative to creativity and innovation. I believe it has to be managed – there's an element of it which is acceptable, and there's an element that isn't.”
The comments are in contrast to those made to MCV by supermarket Asda yesterday when head of games Andrew Thompson claimed that the chain “had to make a move [into pre-owned] to protect our long term games business, and I think that publishers understand that”.
Cousens believes that both problems could possibly be overcome were there to be increased cooperation between the two sectors.
“If the content creators could participate in the secondary or subsequent exploitation, I think that's fair game,” he added. “I think equally the retailer then has an argument that he should participate in some of the DLC, which they ordinarily wouldn't. By default, you manage the process.
“It's not inconceivable that you're going to ask them to give the box away at some point in time. But then, they participate to an extent in the subsequent DLC exploitation.
“What I don't buy off on is that retailers are responding to pre-owned because that's what consumer traffic tells them. If you put the price at zero, you'll get even more traffic, but where does that go?
“You could argue for the retailer in that context, but also what it's done is kill things like subsequent exploitation in platinum and classics... and it expands the potential for piracy by default.”