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Pressure mounts on pre-owned

MCV has been contacted by several bosses in the past week, following strong
comments from Electronic Arts’ UK MD Keith Ramsdale, in which he criticised
some retailers for deliberately extending the reach of their pre-owned
offers and “making brand new product look worthless”.

As pressure has increased this year on sell-through and pricing of new
releases, so games publishers have become more sensitive about the size of
the pre-owned market – which is believed to be worth as much as £50m a year to leading chain GAME and possibly £100m across the market as a whole. Publishers have agreed to discuss privately what action may be possible to stop the trend, either under the auspices of trade body ELSPA or simply via legal protection.

“Pre-owned is a far bigger issue than many think and it’s getting bigger,”
said a publisher MD who refused to be named. “We are all conscious of the need to forecast correctly and not overload the market. We are also told that retail does not have flexible walls, but the space being taken by pre-owned restricts new releases. “The fact that pre-owned is now on PSP is frightening. If consumers can buy new games at knock-down prices, how will the market grow? We’re not sure what can be done, but we are making it a priority to look
into it.”

For its part, GAME refused to be drawn, offering only that it has been
selling pre-owned for 10 years and considers this an important consumer
offer.

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