One of the UK's leading retail execs has claimed that the vast pre-owned video games market is vital to the sale of new release titles.
HMV's UK & Ireland CEO and MD Simon Fox adds that while he understands the militant position some publishers have adopted toward the pre-owned market, for many customers the opportunity to trade-in games is a key part in the buying proves.
The vast majority of our pre-owned sales are to support new releases,” he told GamesIndustry.
By providing a trade-in offer on a new release you can make that new release affordable, perhaps even cheaper than the supermarket price – but it's part of a deal. They bring something back, and in exchange they can have the latest product at a very competitive price.
We genuinely think that actually what it does is enable people to buy new product and it allows them to trade-in previously-played product to get a credit and put that back into the games market. The way we've certainly geared our offer is that it's far more advantageous for the customer not to take cash, but to take a credit that's then used in buying another game.”
Fox goes on to explain that while he has sympathy for publishers, he struggles to think of another sector in which companies want a piece of the re-sell pie.
I think it's slightly odd that publishers should somehow think that they have a claim to profit that a customer might make on a second sale.
I understand where the publishers are coming from. On the other hand it's hard to find a market where I think the original owner/publisher/manufacturer benefits from the future trade of products – whether it's the second-hand book market, the second-hand furniture market or the ticket resale market.
The fact is, in every case, the manufacturer of whatever it might be makes their profit from the original sale, transfers the IP or ownership to the buyer. And if the buyer then chooses to sell that item, it's up to them. You don't hear book publishers asking for a share of the second-hand book market. I've never heard that.”