Used game sales are more prevalent than ever before, and while that can seem like a good thing for gamers who like to save a few bucks, it's not making publishers or developers happy.
While speaking with Gamasutra, David Braben, co-writer of Elite and founder of Frontier Developments, had a lot to say about used game sales and how they've not only affected him but the entire gaming industry – and not in a good way. Braben offered some insight into his take on the controversial topic by prefacing with the following:
"pre-owned has really killed core games. In some cases, it's killed them dead. I know publishers who have stopped games in development because most shops won't reorder stock after initial release, because they rely on the churn from the resales."
"But it's killing single player games in particular, because they will get preowned, and it means your day one sales are it, making them super high risk."
One thing is for certain, game development requires more investment than ever before, not only in terms of time, but funds as well. Many of the games that are discussed regularly, whether it be Mass Effect or Uncharted, cost millions to make, and their turnaround is what makes their development possible.
Because of this trend online passes are becoming the norm. Sony and EA have made them a large part of their strategy since only a year or two ago, and while it is an annoyance for those who like to rent games or buy them used, consumers who buy their products new have been unaffected.
But how about reducing the price of games? Sure, inflation has made the profit margin far less than previous generations, but there's also an economic recession present. Charging $60 for a few hours of entertainment is a lot to ask for in today's economy, especially for single-player focused games. But something must change because rental services like GameFly are growing in popularity and used games are all over the place. Unfortunately, the opposite is happening now that PC games are up to $60 and sales tax is killing wallets everywhere.