SCEA's Dyer: Secondhand Market 'Very Frustrating'

As Electronic Arts and THQ make the move to get a piece of the secondhand sale market with the strategic use of one-time use downloadable content codes, a Sony Computer Entertainment America exec expressed his own reservations with the used game market.

"I have very mixed emotions about [one-time use codes in new games]," said SCEA SVP of publisher relations Rob Dyer in a new Gamasutra feature interview. Sony has yet to use these codes -- meant to coax players into buying games new -- in its own new game packaging.

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gumgum993097d ago

Maybe its because...I don't know...The games are $60?!

I mean, come on, do you honestly expect everyone to keep sucking up to this standard price with out a certain percentage going used?

ChozenWoan3097d ago

The prices of the games was one of the strongest selling points of the PS2.

We are already starting to see a second price tier emerge as more and more games are coming out at a $40 price tag. Now all we need is the $50 tier, or better yet the $50 and the $30 price tiers and then we will start to see software attach rates increase exponentially.

Also, the second hand market wouldn't be so strong if gamers had an incentive to keep a game longer than a week or so. Increase the longterm value of games and they wont be traded in. With fewer second hand games on the market, more first hand games will be purchased... with the proper pricing incentives of coarse.

So give gamers long term value and great prices on the games and the second hand market will begin to naturally fade into a more reasonable market share.

Elimin83096d ago

Doesn't help that the games are short and some have no replay value, which makes some people wait for a price drop...

DaTruth3096d ago (Edited 3096d ago )

This was probably the original purpose of DLC; Giving you a reason to hold onto your games and not trade them in. With people expecting free downloadable content, they had incentive to hold onto games and less used copies would hit the market, forcing gamers to pay for new games the devs and publishers make money from if they want to play.

But they had to go and get greedy! So now, instead of selling more $40-$60 games they are selling $10 DLC, likely to less customers(the ones with credit cards and high speed internet)

saint_john_paul_ii3097d ago

sports games should be at around $20-$30. not $60. These games (EA Sports, THQ sports games) are always at $60, and these sports games are coming out every year. on top of that they turn off the servers of these games after a year.

pangitkqb3097d ago (Edited 3096d ago )

I mean, it obviously cuts into the sales of new games (which is their primary monitory source),but how is that different than ANY OTHER INDUSTRY? Millions of people buy used cars every year from private sellers. Ford, Mercedes, Nissan, Toyota, etc... miss out on countless sales each year because so many consumers buy used. It has been that way for decades and automakers accept that fact.

Moving on, If I buy a couch at a yard sale or second hand store, a furniture store/manufacturer somewhere lost my business because i decided to buy used. You don't hear them whining on and on about it so...why does the games industry? Why do they feel entitled to try & stranglehold the market and limit where and how consumers are able to purchase? IMAGINE IF THE WORLD'S LARGEST AUTOMAKERS DECIDED TO PURPOSELY MAKE CARS ONLY RUN THEIR BEST FOR THE FIRST OWNER? It's one thing to add incentive to buying new, it's a whole other ballgame to gimp a product intentionally. (Uh...sorry, that car only gets 35 mpg for the first owner. If you want that you need to send $800 to Toyota.") If that is not acceptable in so many other industries, why is it tolerated in this one?

BlackCountryBob3096d ago

That is a redundant argument for several reasons;

1, Car and house manufacturers have much larger profit margins. I am sure the second hand market would be completely ok with most publishers if they were taking a 10%+ profit margin on every unit (thats not just their cut, that is pure profit). However, for this to work then games would have to increase in price new (bad idea) or go digital only so the cut which would have usually gone to the store goes to the makers.

2, a car or house has intrinsic aftersale value. The truth is, a game has maybe a 3 month lifespan from release to make money and if it does not make a chunk of change in its first month on sale it is as good as dead in the water. Houses increase in value and cars have value due to their materials even though they do depreciate.

3, ask yourself the question, do we all really like people who sell second hand stuff? Is it any coincidence that used car salesmen and estate agents are considered to be immoral and generally scum.

4, If you buy a new car for £10k, you don't then sell it back 2 days later and the car sits on the showroom floor for £9.5k.

5, People will always need houses, need cars etc. Gaming is a past-time that operates on wafer thin margins and is neither large enough to or united enough to get financial aid as an industry.

Just a point from myself, while everyone demands online as being essential, why is it that the top online games still are Halo, Call of Duty etc. Did Quantum of Solace really need multiplayer? Maybe this should be embraced as it will make gamers more realistic about what is needed in game. Do all games need deathmatches to be worth buying? How about more £20 single player only games with just an exceptional few having multiplayer.

LastDance3096d ago (Edited 3096d ago )

Well bob he can just use DVD's or Clothes or ANYTHING ELSE. So his argument isnt redundant.

I say this all the time and I wil say it again. I work for an Gametraders in Australia. When GOD OF WAR 3 came out (for example), the retail 109.95. The COST price for us for this game was 89.99.
Not a big margin at all.

We give about 40-45 trade for GOW3 at the moment. and sell it for about 79.95... So we give HALF the price that we sell which is MORE than fair.

Used games keep our stores open.

PS. We make more money off that GOW3 game (second hand) than if someone bought a brand new PS3.

Some food for thought.

MazzingerZ3096d ago (Edited 3096d ago )

I don't think the problem is the average Joe selling its game on ebay but the big retailers that reach the mass market doing it...they don't loose any money on it, they buy them in for a cheap price and turn it into profit, easily the rate could be is 1 (Avg Joe selling on ebay) to 100 (retailers) worldwide.

Imagine if theatres repurchased your tickets and re-sold them...100% of that profit would go to theatres as the ticket originally sold already payed its percentage to the movie studio and there's no way movie studios can track those resold tickets

I think if they made games cheaper, like 40-45 bucks, most of those buying used would buy new as a real gamer loves to open a brand new game :)...minor second hand market would keep existíng on Ebay but it would decrease at retailers where the real problem is, as the warehousing of those games would make the profit even smaller.

Millah3096d ago (Edited 3096d ago )

Theres a huge difference between a car, which dimishes in quality AND price the moment it drives off the lot, and a video game which offers the EXACT same experience 1 or 10 years down the road. Cars and houses also have MUCH higher profit margins than a 60 dollar video game.

You don't see anything wrong with Gamestop making a killing off of a publishers intellectual property, without the publisher seeing a dime? Theres nothing wrong with second hand items, but when a giant retailer (one that has a monopoly in its respective market) has the ability to reach the mass market the way they do, and they're prioritizing used game sales ahead of new game sales so that they make more money without having to pay publishers, there's just something wrong with that. No ones saying theres anything wrong with selling a game on eBay. Theres a huge difference.

snp3096d ago (Edited 3096d ago )


Millah: "...they're prioritizing used game sales ahead of new game sales so that they make more money without having to pay publishers, there's just something wrong with that. No ones saying theres anything wrong with selling a game on eBay. Theres a huge difference."

I understand where you are coming from, but trouble is the companies complaining about this issue don't, at least on face value, seem to make this distinction between the second hand store sales and an individual seeking to pass on a purchase once he's done with the product (for a bit of it's price back, which he may well have factored into his decision to buy at $60). All the (hypothetical) 'solutions' i've heard kill "everyone's" rights/ability to sell second hand.

I'd be happier to hear more about killing second hand sales, if those doing so were also discussing price reductions in 'new games' prices to make up for this (to the buyer) pretty significant reduction in their practical value.

Oh, and i'm not sure about the "EXACT same experience 1 or 10 years down the road". Technically, maybe, but experience tends not to exist in a vacuum. There's a reason most games of a decade ago don't occupy much shelf space - no one tends to want them. Cars may degrade faster, but they don't tend to 'date' anywhere near as quickly.

pangitkqb3096d ago

and any consumer is absolutely entitled to his/her own opinion. However, I think the true core of my argument is simply the basic rights of ownership. The fact is, I can sell virtually anything I have purchased through legal means, regardless of whether I own the intellectual property (i.e. video games), the brand (clothing), the copyright (books), patent, license, model, design, or blueprints. In fact, I am well within my legal rights as a consumer to build an entire business based on selling my previously purchased property. Whether I start a used car lot, an antiques boutique, or simply an eBay account where I sell old comics & action figures the only person seeing profit from that is me. Why? I've exercised my natural right as owner to sell, therefore becoming by default a secondhand distributor.

Of course, the Games industry has every right to try and control their trade. I simply don't have to agree w/their methodology. Again, creating incentive to encourage new purchases is one thing, purposely gimping a product for a later owner is another. Is it illegal? Of course not. Is it almost unheard of in any other industry? Yup. In fact, it doesn't just put a damper on businesses like Gamestop or Play n' Trade, it also makes ME LESS ABLE TO SELL AS A PRIVATE SELLER. If I hop on Craigslist and try to sell a game that suddenly has inaccessible content to every potential buyer, the value of MY PROPERTY has been lessened PURPOSELY by the manufacturer. Again, it might not be legal, but it is certainly ethically questionable.

Nihilism3096d ago

B.S gaming is very profitable, even the big name games only cost 20 million to make and games that sell 5 million copies make hundreds of millions for developers and there is little other costs involved, unlike the movie industry which advertises heavily...

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Nihilism3096d ago (Edited 3096d ago )

Does anyone want to buy my car?

CEO of car company : "every used sale robs us of a new car sale that we were entitled to!"


Um no... you see when I choose to sell MY car I can do so, and there is a big demand for used sales because NOT EVERYONE CAN AFFORD A NEW CAR, if they enforce a scheme that makes people have to buy a code for the full game content when purchasing used people won't suddenly whip out a money clip full of 100's, they simply won't get the games at all...

Like piracy used game sales CAN be advertising.

On that note, I just pirated the new Deftones CD to see if it was any good, because having been burnt by putting faith in a name ( a band or game developer ) I have to pick and choose, and it was amazing, so I drove to the shops and bought it because a masterpiece of a CD like 'Diamond Eyes' needs to be listened to in it's full glory.

An example of piracy working in their favour, I also pirated Torchlight because there was no way I was going to fork out for an Indie game by an unknown dev, I bought the retail version, if I had not tried it, I never would have bought it, these are the few rare cases when I have pirated because I am broke as a mofo atm, but each time it has worked in their favour.

The same goes for game cracks, the developers claim they are evil, but I boycotted Bioshock 2 as it had GFWL activation limit, and low and behold, those cheeky crackers found a bypass for the activation...another new game purchased because of means they do not approve of.

Should I have pirated those things? No. Do I now have content that I did not pay for?, No.

Long live used game sales and game cracks, keeping gaming alive when the publishers are trying so very hard to kill it.

skyfire22613096d ago

Pirating no matter how you BS your way through it is NEVER a good thing.

If anything you could call the pubs/devs out for not providing a demo so why can't i try a game before i buy? I know demo's have some inherent cost but that is the cost of doing business.

Congratulations to you for being a high moral person but you know damn well as i do the VAST majority of people who steal software don't "try it then buy it" when they are downloading whatever software.

DaTruth3096d ago

These guys also have the problem of pricing people out of the market. Nobody will make an impulse buy of $60 on a game, especially with all the potential for that to go terribly wrong. It is not like buying a shirt, with a shirt what you see is what you get.

I have to get my money's worth for sixty bucks, so I only buy 6 games a year, because for $60 I need two months of playing to justify the purchase, I can't shell out $60 for 6 hours of fun.

When Wipeout HD hit $7.49 I jumped all over that... Still haven't played it!

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Gigalol3097d ago ShowReplies(7)
meatnormous3097d ago

I bought a 360 at launch that died that week, I returned it to the store and waited for the ps3 release. I bought another 360 in december of 08. I was able to pick up allot of great games for very little money cause they were all platinum hits by then.

If I can wait for a game, I will. I never buy a used game just because I cannot stand gamestop. I have 36 ps3 games and most of them I paid far less than 60 dollars each for them.

dizzleK3096d ago

sony has actually gotten very good at lowering their prices and relatively quickly to boot. mag is what, $30-$40 now, gow3 can commonly be had for under $50. theres quite a few exclusives i see between $40 & $50 these days. i'll wait the 2 months or so instead of buying a used copy.

jetlian3096d ago

ninja gaiden 2 sigma still going for a high price. i want the limited edition too which i saw on amazon 80 bucks used

Senden3096d ago

What a bunch of whiney morons.. what they mean to say is "used games stops us keeping our games at full retail price."

If you follow the used game market,you'll find all GOOD mp games with deep systems and a lot of replayability stay at high prices for a good 6-10 months. Take MW2 for instance, that still costs to upwards of £30 for the ps3 and a little lower on the xbox 360.. why not lower the price and allow companies to sell it for £25 new or £30? These greedy developers just have themselves to blame for used game sales.

On a high note though, with how they plan to tackle used game sales will involve them putting effort into making the multiplayer lucrative otherwise it would defeat the purpose of what these devs are trying to achieve.

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