In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz about French game developer Quantic Dream, Co-CEO Guillaume de Fondaumiere was asked about how the recession has been affecting the gaming industry. His response involved the second hand game market and, specifically, Quantic Dream’s PlayStation 3 exclusive, Heavy Rain.
“…the rise of second hand gaming…is one of the number one problems right now in the industry. I can take just one example of Heavy Rain. We basically sold to date approximately two million units, we know from the trophy system that probably more than three million people bought this game and played it.”
De Fondaumiere went on to indicate that those million or so additional people translated to a bunch of money lost in royalties for the developers, Quantic Dream:
“On my small level it’s a million people playing my game without giving me one cent. And my calculation is, as Quantic Dream, I lost between €5 and €10 million worth of royalties because of second hand gaming.”
De Fondaumiere goes on to try and link the cost of games to the necessity of buying them used for certain consumers. And while I do think that definitely plays a part in the reason for the growing used game market, I have my own opinion regarding how publishers and developers can ensure profit retention despite the presence of second-hand sales.
Why not make more attractive post-release DLC for your fans? Games like Heavy Rain are sold back to stores so often because, unfortunately, as most gamers have played through it once, there’s nothing left for them to go back and enjoy. Quantic Dream and Sony did little to add to the Heavy Rain DLC catalogue (what about stand-alone stories, cases or dramas within the same universe for $10 a pop?), so gamers had no reason to keep their games.
A lack of content after release encourages players to sell their games to places like GameStop, thus increasing the stock of used options for new consumers at retail. You want more people to buy your game new? Give fans that have already picked it up more reasons to keep playing and not sell it back.