Braben’s pre-owned action plan

This is an extract from a blog piece on MCV’s sister website Develop. Click here to read the full feature.

It would be possible for retailers to pay a slice of the pre-owned revenue to publishers and developers, but I can hear the calls already: ‘Why should we?’ Perhaps they are right. The inaction of our industry so far has essentially given them the go-ahead. There needs to be a real likelihood of things changing imminently right across the industry for any action to be taken.


There are six ways we can go:

1. Carry on with the array of ad-hoc one-time codes, online ‘passes’, DLC, to tilt players toward new purchases.

2. Introduction of cross-industry serial numbering of discs. This shouldn’t mean the complete freezing out of pre-owned – it would be up to developers and publishers what to do – but it does give the option of a whole range of possibilities, including ones currently covered by the one-time codes.

3. Industry participation in pre-owned sales. This has to be with the retailers’ agreement, but this may come, as long as there is an upside to them, and that upside could be as part of holding off on the worse excesses of (2).

4. Bring in ‘Not for Resale’ SKUs. Why is there no parallel with DVD sales? It is because they do not allow resale or rental – and in fact have special ‘for rental’ SKUs at a significantly greater price.

5. Make the discs just data discs costing say, 5, perhaps containing an extended demo, but requiring online validation to become a full game (eg by withholding the executable file), even for the first user.

6. Move to online-only. This is where the retailers seem to want us to go after all, so perhaps it’s time to make the jump.

Whatever the tactic, let’s do something soon, and stop all the shouting about the unjust iceberg.

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