Heavy Rain dev lost €10m to pre-owned sales

Ben Parfitt
Heavy Rain dev lost €10m to pre-owned sales

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."


Tags: pre-owned , sales , second hand , trade-ins , lost , revenue , heavy rain

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(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.)

my point exactly above

also how about all the new sales that would not have happened if customers were unable to trade in games against Heavy Rain?

how many shops would take the risk selling new games for minimal margin if they are unable to take profit from trade ins?

Gordon Crawford

Gordon Crawford INDUSTRY
Sep 12th 2011 at 11:28AM

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Publishers and Developers are always complaining of the lost sales to Retail, they often forget that the Public also sell games to each other. How much revenue is lost to that?

The figures for other trophy achievers would also include brothers/sisters and friends who borrowed or were given the game once the purchaser had finished with it.

Matthew Brady

Matthew Brady INDUSTRY
Sep 12th 2011 at 12:31PM

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How many Gamers bought Heavy rain second Hand and have realised that this the Developer Quantic Dream actually make superb games - so when their next Blockbuster comes out those who bought Heavy rain second hand will be first in the Queue to get it. Publishers do not realise that those gamers who but second hand games do so because they cannot afford £40 to buy new. As and when they have disposable income they will buy Brand New @ £40

Simon Gough

Simon Gough INDUSTRY
Sep 12th 2011 at 1:23PM

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If Quantic Dream are preparing to release games with DLC or online codes just for new buyers I would say don't. It is my personal opinion that Online Codes and "Buy New Only DLC" is ruining the New Sales Market. These codes are restrictive and damaging to the market - Gamers want to Trade-In and have the choice to buy Pre-Owned if they want to. What they don't like is being told how to buy a product and having bought it, being told how they can dispose of it. Gamers are not buying as many games with Online codes due the the huge drop in Trade-In value when they want to Trade-In for the next game. MORE NEW GAMES WERE SOLD BEFORE PUBLISHERS TINKERED WITH ONLINE CODES & DLC THAN NOW !!!!!

Simon Gough

Simon Gough INDUSTRY
Sep 12th 2011 at 1:31PM

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Agree on all points above. Perhaps another point worth considering is that this game, as beautiful as it is, is a novel and new genre/format to many gamers. Myself included, I took a gamble on the point-and-click/choose your own adventure style and for me at least, I have to say I didn't massively enjoy it. So I sold it on and bought another, safer-choice game that I felt I was more likely to enjoy.

Had Quantic released a dead-cert genric shooter, or a game with perhaps more replay value, then maybe trade-ins would have been lower ?

I'm not advocating the churning out of copycat titles - in fact the studio should be lauded for its ingenuity (which it was) - but just another point to consider - a studio has to accept that a less safe title has the possibility of leading to more trade-ins....

Anthony Golden

Anthony Golden INDUSTRY
Sep 13th 2011 at 8:44AM

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