Video games grew out of the computer age. String your code together correctly, and you have something that millions of people will enjoy for hours. As this industry has grown we have seen video games become a powerful economic force, but there is an ongoing debate within the industry. Are used games hurting the game industry? My opinion, there is no way that it doesn’t hurt the developers. Although companies like EA, Microsoft, and the other developers are going about changing it wrong. Allow me to explain a little.
First thing that has to be understood about the used game market. Used games don’t help the developer at all. One hundred percent of the used game price goes back to the seller. Based on a 2009 report, I know its old, which stated half of the game’s price is pure profit. In contrast, they make about twenty percent back from new game sales. To give an example, Uncharted 4 released not too long ago. This game is currently selling new for sixty dollars. The price of a pre-owned Uncharted 4 is fifty-three dollars. When you take away the cost of the trade-in value you still have about twenty to twenty-eight dollars of pure profit. Now I’m not trying to say stop buying used games. However, I have seen several people go on and on about how game companies are screwing the player by making them pay to play a used game. They yell this while studio after studio is shutting down, and almost every major company goes through massive layoffs.
Now let’s talk for a second about why game companies need this money now. Oddly enough, EA’s CEO made one of the best argument in his quote to Gamespot about DLC and Season passes. “Eight years ago when I joined EA, we were publishing 70 games a year. And this year we might do twelve.” We can say what we want about EA, but I think that highlights how the industry has changed over the years. Productions for games take longer now than they have ever before. I have done game development, and it’s not easy. The people working for places like Activision, EA, Ubisoft, they are the best at what they do. To build the games as well as they do takes time, but because of that, they can’t release as many games. That means they have to get all the income they can out of each release.
Now, what can be done? Honestly, I like used games. I have no personal problem with the practice of used games. What I don’t like is people trying to force players to pay after they already paid a game seller. Game publishers have the power to force GameStop, and other sellers, to the table, and make policy that would give the publishers, and developers a cut of the sale. They need to work out an arrangement before they try and force the burden on players, again.
For where I got the EA quote: