Retail: Stop online codes and we will share pre-owned revenue

Dominic Sacco
Retail: Stop online codes and we will share pre-owned revenue

Publishers can get a bigger slice of pre-owned game sales at retail – if they’re willing to reach a compromise with stores.

Several games retailers have told MCV they’d be happy to share revenues from used game sales if publishers scrapped Online Pass codes or gave them a better deal on new stock.

A number of publishers such as EA, Ubisoft, THQ and more recently Warner Bros currently include one-time digital pass codes in certain new releases. These give customers free access to part of the in-game content which buyers of second hand versions must pay extra for.

Gordon Crawford from indie Gamespod told MCV: “As a retail store we would happily share part of the sale from a used game if we get something in return. Perhaps new games at better prices and no more online codes.”

In a statement sent to MCV, HMV said: “We all know how the business model in the industry is changing. So if there is any merit in this idea then it may be worth looking into.”

Julian Slater from Bits and Pieces added: “If you want to stop these one-time codes then yeah, fair enough, we’ll share revenues. If publishers gave me a better deal, then maybe. The publishers are not the poor man here.”

Other retailers are less confident publishers will stike a deal at all.

”We’d definitely like to do this, but I don’t see it being something publishers would implement,” said Chris Muckell from Xpress Games. “With new releases dropping in price after just the second week, I’d have thought their investments would be better in making money from DLC.”


Tags: Retail , online , pre-owned , share , pass , code , revenues

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While this impasse continues, neither retail nor publishers/developers are going to sell this current 'mess' to the buying public. Talk to the average 'Joe' on the street and he doesn't really understand how online passes work, or who is implementing them. To him, it's either the retailer or the publisher ripping him off and with each publisher running a slightly different system that perception is never going to go away.
The suggestion that retailers 'share' their second-hand revenue is preposterous, simply because it is unworkable and the cost of implementing and administering it is impossible and just drives the business underground.
There is a simpler solution and that is for the publishers to engage with the retailers, instead of trying to fight them, by allowing them to sell DLC codes themselves, all done via the web and their Epos systems.
Rather than try and gain revenue from an activity the publishers have no part in, the obvious recourse is to gain revenue on the back of that activity.
Price DLC on used games modestly and share a small part of it with retailers, they would love to sell a used game and then say, "Would you like a DLC code to go with that, Sir?"
The solution really is so simple, but at the same time so difficult because of the entrenched positions.

Chris Ratcliff

Chris Ratcliff INDUSTRY
Jan 11th 2012 at 12:38PM

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Perhaps publishers should start sharing profits from new games with retailers......

stuart milton

stuart milton INDUSTRY
Jan 11th 2012 at 2:47PM

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There was a point when I was against
publishers getting a cut of pre owned sales
Since this doesn't happen in any other industry
But then few other industries push 2nd sales
so much as games retailers do.

This has meant less and less shelf space for
new releases and it being very hard to buy a
new game after just a couple of months.

I've seen this happen before my very eyes in
the major game retailers in my home town of
Derby so I hope retailers and publishers really
sit down and get talking for the benefit of gaming
which we are all very passionate about.

Stuart Rick

Stuart Rick STUDENT
Jan 11th 2012 at 3:42PM

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Developers and publishers can also push harder for digital distribution - retail gives much smaller % of final price back to develops/publisher (around 30-40% in my experience) while digital distribution services give develops/publisher around 70% of final price.

Jakub Janovsky

Jakub Janovsky ELITE GAMER
Jan 11th 2012 at 3:53PM

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