Pressure piles on pre-owned

LEADING developers have spoken out against pre-owned games at retail – warning that studios could turn their back on the ‘traditional’ publishing model if the trend continues.

TimeSplitters and Haze developer Free Radical Design and Frontier Developments’ David Braben have both told MCV that the current system is flawed – as, while retailers rake in profits on a title every time it goes through the trade-in system, developers are left with nothing.

Of course it isn’t fair that retailers are claiming all of the profits from the sale of second-hand titles, and it is bizarre that our industry tolerates it,” said director at Free Radical Design Steve Ellis.

I can’t imagine going into PC World and buying a pre-owned copy of MS Office. It just wouldn’t happen. The logical conclusion of this – the retailers’ ultimate goal – is that they only ever sell one original copy of any game and then they pass it around between everyone who wants to play it, keeping all of the profit for themselves except for that initial sale. How can that possibly be fair?”

The brains behind Frontier Developments David Braben agrees:

Clearly from the developer and publisher point of view, the second-hand market is a real problem. The shops are essentially defrauding the rest of the industry by this practice, whether they intend it or not.

It also means that while newly released games do still sell well, it is only a matter of a month or so before pre-owned stock often saturates the channel – with a single copy rumoured to go around the sale/return/sale loop ten or more times – amounting effectively, to rental.”

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