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Braben Suggests Tactics To Combat Pre-Owned Sales

The pre-owned pie.

Gaming God and creator of Elite, David Braben, has written a blog about the pre-owned market. David suggests six different strategies that may combat the pre-owned market.

  1. Continue with online passes and one time use codes with each release.
  2. Introduce industry-wide serial numbers on discs, giving developers the opportunity to lock a game to a console.
  3. Industry participation in pre-owned sales.
  4. Bring in ‘Not For Resale’ SKUs effectively killing the market dead.
  5. Make games a disc that costs £5 and works as a demo, if you want the full game pay a further fee online.
  6. Move to digital distribution.

David urges an industry wide response to the pre-owned market and said, “Whatever the tactic, let’s do something soon, and stop all the shouting about the unjust iceberg.”

The debate is bound to continue, retailers are unlikely to give up larger profit margins from pre-owned games. One comment from an independent games retailer on MCV is as follows.

There is little or no profit in new release games, the outlay to buy say 10 units of a new release game will be around £370, (£37.00 per unit) to sell back at £399.99. (£39.99 per unit). So for your original outlay you make a whopping £29.99.

If I buy pre-owned stock I normally double up my profits so for £370 I spend I would get back £740, be this on games or consoles. Do the maths & then explain to me why it’s better to make £29.99 rather than £370.

Should publishers get a cut of the pre-owned market? It’s worth noting that in the past few weeks the games industry has boasted that:

  • Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood has logged more pre-orders than any other game in the history of Ubisoft.
  • Medal Of Honor has sold over 1.5 million copies in five days.
  • Black Ops has more pre-orders than Modern Warfare 2 and looks like leapfrogging its older brother to become the biggest game of all time.
  • Playstation Move managed to sell 1.5 million hardware units in Europe alone.
  • Halo: Reach generated $200 million worth of sales on its first day.

Source: Develop / MCV

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  1. nofi
    One for all.
    Since: Forever

    It’s coming, one way or another. I reckon this time twelves months down the line the pre-owned market will be pretty much dead.

    Comment posted on 21/10/2010 at 21:31.
    • Tuffcub
      On the naughty step.
      Since: Dec 2008

      Can they risk alienating HMV, Tesco, GAME, er – everyone who sells their products? And Indies and places like CEX will go out of business.

      Comment posted on 21/10/2010 at 21:40.
      • Hamzz
        Since: Aug 2010

        I always buy pre owned games, I find brand new games to be way over priced! And allot of people cant afford 50£ everytime a new game comes out!

        Comment posted on 24/10/2010 at 11:54.
    • EntitledToOpinion
      Since: Jun 2010

      I agree with nofi.
      In the mean time, must we be subjected to weekly articles on the matter? Every one I read is just a publicity gift to whomevers name happens to be banded around this week. Wake me up when its conclusive.

      Comment posted on 21/10/2010 at 21:46.
    • Raen
      Team TSA: Writer
      Since: Mar 2009

      I reckon they’ll need to go to a new console gen with digital distribution before it dies, don’t see twelve months being enough to kill it.

      Comment posted on 21/10/2010 at 22:04.
    • hazelam
      Since: Feb 2009

      that’s the point i might decide give up gaming other than maybe the odd mmo, there are plenty of free to play mmos too, some of them are actually pretty good now too.

      Comment posted on 22/10/2010 at 07:50.
  2. solidsteven
    Never heard of him.
    Since: May 2010

    They can feck off as not all of us have £40-£55 lying about.

    Comment posted on 21/10/2010 at 21:37.
    • gideon1451
      Since: Nov 2009


      Comment posted on 21/10/2010 at 21:59.
    • moshi
      Since: Jun 2009

      £55 !, you really need to shop around unless you are shopping at Harrods

      Comment posted on 22/10/2010 at 08:13.
  3. reesecollins518
    Since: Sep 2010

    seial numbers on the disc sounds like a horrible idea. what if u wanna take a game to a friends house. or give it to a younger sibling?….

    Comment posted on 21/10/2010 at 21:45.
    • rainydays458
      Since: Aug 2010

      i don’t see how this could ever work, both consols have crashing issues e.g. xbox’s rrod and the ps3’s ylod. I’ve only experience the ps3’s issue a couple of times so unless they creat some sort of industructable consol it can’t really work very well.

      Comment posted on 22/10/2010 at 00:32.
      • jimmyjrg
        Since: Feb 2010

        Theyd likely tie the serial number to your account so if you put your account on another ps3 then the game would work there too.
        But that would annoying and limiting.

        Comment posted on 22/10/2010 at 10:44.
  4. a inferior race
    I'm special
    Since: Jul 2009

    Taking into account what the indy guy send on MCV and it looks as though should publishers/ developers destroy the pre-owned market then retailers would have to demand a higher price from the customer. This could increase the average game to £49.99-£54.99 i price which when coupled with not being able to utilise another game to off-set the costs could have a damaging impact on the industry.

    Comment posted on 21/10/2010 at 21:45.
  5. david
    Since: Apr 2010

    I came up with the idea of locking games to consoles years ago and peeps on Eurogamer said it would never happen. It hasnt but I bet it has entered into some ones mind at the big publishers.

    Comment posted on 21/10/2010 at 22:07.
    • stonyk
      Since: Dec 2009

      That’ll never work though. Particularly with xbox that rrod every few months. Would you have to buy a new game everytime you got a new machine? Imagine a collection of games, then you get rrod and to top it off you have to rebuy everygame and throw what you have in the bin.

      Comment posted on 21/10/2010 at 22:21.
      • djsunna
        Since: Feb 2010

        yeah i thought the exact same thing ive got over 60 games (disc based) and i got YLOD on my ps3 earlier this year so, if
        points 1 and 2 had already been implemented how much would it have cost to get 60 odd 1 time use codes for games i already own ??? more then the price of a new playstation if they were just £5 each.

        Comment posted on 22/10/2010 at 06:31.
      • hazelam
        Since: Feb 2009

        they probably wont tie games to a single console, but they will tie them to a single user account.

        not a problem if you live alone, but for a family console that could theoretically mean having to buy a copy of the game for each person who wants to play.

        Comment posted on 22/10/2010 at 07:51.
  6. jayjay119
    Since: Apr 2010

    It’s just a load of bull really from producers feeling sore, like other people have said we don’t have £40/$70 for a game, if they get rid of the preowned market then people are not going to magically start buying new, they will just stop buying for longer periods of time. I really don’t see the death of the pre-owned market happening as it’s not a problem with any other entertainment medium, none of the above methods (besides production company involvement in the preowned market) is gonna take as a serious solution because of the backlash producers would receive… does anyone remember the chaos early into the PS3’s development when it was rumoured Sony would be locking in the game to one disk and one console. Paying extra for online DLC i agree with as it is extra, as in not part of the game. But once I have paid £40 bucks for a game… it is mine to do what I like with, keep it, sell it or rest my coffee on it as a new age coaster.

    Comment posted on 21/10/2010 at 22:09.
  7. Spotter5
    Since: Forever

    I like number 4 best. No online passes, please.

    Comment posted on 21/10/2010 at 22:10.
    • AlterEgo76
      Since: Dec 2009

      I like number 5 best, except rather than selling a demo for £5 they should sell the full game. Everyone would buy brand new, and be able to afford multiple titles.

      Comment posted on 23/10/2010 at 11:50.
  8. CaptainMurdo
    In no way connected to TSA. No way.
    Since: Sep 2008

    I’m probably in a very small minority here but I hate buying pre-owned. If I’m buying a game, I’d like to open it myself please.
    I would be interested to see how this would affect services such as LoveFilm though. Only 3 and 4 would be possible for them and 1 is obviously already in use.

    Comment posted on 21/10/2010 at 22:28.
    • Grey_Ghost13
      Since: Aug 2009

      Killing off pre-owned would also probably kill off the rental market as if they lock games to consoles, you wouldn’t be able to rent out games, unless they were a master disk or something that didn’t have a code.

      Comment posted on 22/10/2010 at 09:33.
  9. Liberi Fatali
    Since: Aug 2009

    I like the used market because of rarity but has an industry I hope the next generation of consoles can bravely introduce the removal of the lazy-patch lifestyle from pc… meaning that developers will be more aware if they’re game will have a save bug. A few of PS3 patchs take ages and sometimes I wonder why it can’t be downloaded from the Playstation store.

    Serial numbers required to enter a code everytime we buy a game or to go online?… I honestly don’t see the need for that its something that should remain of the pc and pre-paid vouchers.

    Comment posted on 21/10/2010 at 22:34.
  10. Peter Rushton
    Since: Aug 2010

    as long the games stay the same quality, if not better, then i’ll be cool with it all

    Comment posted on 21/10/2010 at 22:37.

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