French developer Quantic Dream has estimated that it lost anywhere between €5m and €10m to pre-owned sales of its PS3 hit Heavy Rain.
It came to this number by comparing the number of players registering Trophies on PSN and the game’s actual sales.
“On my small level it's a million people playing my game without giving me one cent,” the studio’s co-founder Guillaume de Fondaumiere told GamesIndustry.
There are mitigating factors to consider here, of course. Firstly, a pre-owned sale does not automatically equate to a lost sale. A consumer willing to pay, say, £10 for a second-hand game may never have been prepared to spend £40 on the new version.
Secondly, how many legitimate sales of the game would have been lost had consumers not been able to trade-in against it and reduce the cost? de Fondaumiere acknowledges the second point.
“Now I know the arguments, you know, without second hand gaming people will buy probably less games because they buy certain games full price, and then they trade them in,” he conceded.
“I'm not so sure this is the right approach and I think that developers and certainly publishers and distributors should sit together and try to find a way to address this. Because we're basically all shooting ourselves in the foot here.
“Because when developers and publishers alike are going to see that they can't make a living out of producing games that are sold through retail channels, because of second hand gaming, they will simply stop making these games. And we'll all, one say to the other, simply go online and to direct distribution. So I don't think that in the long run this is a good thing for retail distribution either.
“Now are games too expensive? I've always said that games are probably too expensive so there's probably a right level here to find, and we need to discuss this altogether and try to find a way to I would say reconcile consumer expectations, retail expectations but also the expectations of the publisher and the developers to make this business a worthwhile business."