By opening up retail sales to a larger segment of the market, used game sales mean that more people are playing our games than would be in a world without them. Beyond the obvious advantages of bigger community sizes and word-of-mouth sales, a larger player base can benefit game developers who are ready to earn secondary income from their games. In-game ads are one source of this additional revenue, but the best scenario is downloadable content. A used copy of Rock Band may go through several owners, but each one of them may give Harmonix money for their own personal rights to “Baba O’Riley” or “I Fought the Law”. Further, a move is currently underway by companies such as Epic and EA to give special bonuses only to consumers who buy the game new. For example, every new copy of NBA Live 09 will include a code redeemable for the NBA Live 365 service, which provides daily stat updates for players over the course of the season. Purchasers of used copies need to fork over $20 for the same feature. This situation actually means that the more times the game is resold, the better it is for EA’s bottom line.
If you’ve been following various video game news sites, you often see more and more articles on game developers crying over used copies. Luckily, Soren is not one of those people! I, myself love the used games in GameStop. It’s how I do most of my game shopping used unless the game is a must have (Dead Space is my recent new-retail purchase). But I do have to say their trade-in values suck!
You can read what else Soren has to say over at Soren Johnson’s Game Design Journal