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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. ghost5
    Since: Oct 2008

    If I knew that I couldn’t trade in a game, if i get bored of it within a week, for around 75% of it’s original cost this would stop me buying half as many new games

    Comment posted on 21/10/2010 at 22:54.
    • skibadee
      Since: Oct 2009

      same here.

      Comment posted on 22/10/2010 at 10:29.
  2. Charmed_Fanatic
    Since: Aug 2009

    IF they HAVE to do one, do 1 please

    Comment posted on 21/10/2010 at 23:11.
  3. Kitch
    Since: Aug 2008

    Kind of Option 1. If you want the FULL online package then provide a one use key. It worked on BFBC:2. I rented it. I could play a few online games then I was kicked. To continue playing it online for more than 4 games in a row would cost me £10. I didn’t fancy the game so I returned it. However the rental market has not been taken into account. What about us?

    Comment posted on 21/10/2010 at 23:26.
  4. TSBonyman
    Since: Dec 2009

    David Braben – is he ‘Elitist’?

    Comment posted on 21/10/2010 at 23:32.
  5. cc_star
    Team TSA: Writer
    Since: Forever

    Gaming will make the move online
    There will be smaller digital games that we’ve become accustomed to on the digital stores, there will be more titles going episodic

    There will also be growth freemium gaming, where a client and basic experience is provided free of charge or nearly free and then enhanced experiences will cost

    Online passes have been largely accepted by end users, so I suppose we’ll see in publishers end of year figures whether they’ve been successful or not

    There is another way, which only Activision are doing and that’s build a compelling experience that people won’t want to trade-in, people hate Acti for a variety of made-up reasons but people forget the positive things that they say because of all the bullshit written about them or their CEO

    Comment posted on 21/10/2010 at 23:37.
  6. bunimomike
    Since: Jul 2009

    I know I will do less gaming on my PS3 as a result of the pre-owned market being squeezed. Oh well. Not much I can do about it.

    Comment posted on 21/10/2010 at 23:41.
  7. Guyers94
    Since: Apr 2010

    I suppose I better get spending the remaining money on my CEX account as it really does look likely that publishers will be getting the better of the pre-owned market sooner rather than later. It’s a real shame.

    Luckily the copy of Tiger Woods 2011 I bought at CEX last week had an unused online pass which I was pretty chuffed about :D

    Comment posted on 22/10/2010 at 00:02.
  8. lemming64
    Since: Feb 2009

    I am guessing a lot of these would kill the rental market too, which is crappy considering a lot of games only have 10-20 hours of play time to them which is only worth renting imo. I will only pay £40-£50 for a game with some life to it like Fallout or GTA

    Comment posted on 22/10/2010 at 00:36.
  9. rossthebassist
    Since: Nov 2009

    my solution would be to increase margin for retailers on the new products. it simple, why did people get into the pre-owned market in the first place, because there was a gap and it was profitable. selling new releases is not profitable anymore, RRP at £49.99 is crazy, we all know they get sold at £39.99 in most places.

    without trade in’s and the resale of the second hand items the industry will go back to low sales except for AAA titles, i cant afford all the new releases, i buy i play i keep the ones i want i trade to buy new ones. its that simple.

    this year i must have purchased 10 – 20 new releases with trade credit.

    id stick with the online pass but id take it further than they are doing. i would make the price of a game such as Black Ops £34.99 on the shelf… you wanna play online kool pay for it. no online code in the box for anyone.

    i bought the new medal of honor for the 360 pre-owned, the online pass worked. to put it in perspective i bought it brand new on launch day for the PS3… my point there is not everyone who gets an online pass is going to use it so why charge ever customer the extra… lower the prices charge for the pass to pay it online… but a sensible price….

    its a debate that can go on forever and ever… problem is EA, THQ, and the others wont listen to us or even the retailers that stock the games. but the truth is 1.5million medal of honors and i bet more than 3 quaters of those sales were paid for by trade in credit and nearly half fully paid using tade ins. i know i would have waited if i had to pay for the game with cash… i dont have any. i paid for both versions with trade ins.

    sorry for the long rant but i dont see how publishers dont see what they are doing is wrong… not the online pass im all for that… but trying to eliminate the pre-owned market… or problem as they call it is just industry suicide…

    Comment posted on 22/10/2010 at 01:40.
  10. mcduff1979
    Since: Jun 2009

    sadly i wont ever go full digital copies of games, i like having something tangeable for my money, not a digital download which if my ps3 fails ill have to re down load again. i want a hard copy…

    i dont think pre owned will die completley, as like someone above said, game companys cant really afford for people to wait to buy their games as prices will rise and people will buy less

    Comment posted on 22/10/2010 at 04:09.

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