Used games is huge business. For instance, when you buy a per-owned title, a company like Gamestop makes more money, then if you decide to purchase a new one.
With that said, publishers and developers don’t see a penny when you choose a used copy. So ultimately, you’re helping only Gamestop or whatever retail you shop at, and not the industry as a whole.
Publishers are doing everything they can to ensure they make some kind of profit out of used games, so some have implemented a code that’s packed in with the disc that can only be used once to go online. If you decide to buy a used game, and don’t have the onetime code to input, you’ll have top spend extra cash to get your online kick.
Eventually though, publishers will be victorious in the used game war because at one point, most titles will be available through download.
Like it or not, digital distribution is the future and at one point, you’ll only be picking up the latest title using the Information Super Highway. And the studio Obsidian Entertainment (Fallout: New Vegas) couldn’t be happier.
While speaking with industrygamers, Obsidian’s Chief Creative Officer Chris Avellone talked about how he hopes purchasing games through the digital medium will one day kill the used business.
“Of course, one of the greatest things about digital distribution is what it does to reduce the used game market. I hope digital distribution stabs the used game market in the heart,” said Avellone.
While that prospect excites him, he also envisions other reasons why digital distribution will benefit developers along with gamers alike.
“One of the things I enjoyed with Fallout: New Vegas was that digital distribution of the DLC made things more flexible in terms of getting the content done. You didn’t have to worry about production times for discs, and so you could take an extra week if you needed that to get things right,”
And if more people decide to download games, as opposed to buy them in the store, smaller studios — like the one Avellone’s employed at — can publish their own games and not rely on bigger companies like EA or Activision.
“Our eventual hope is that we can stockpile enough resources to release our own titles digitally. Smaller games can be very satisfying projects to work on, and it would be great to do that. But it’s going to take time for us to get there; we want to make sure we do it right.”