Have 2nd hand game sales really grown to become a genuine problem?

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  • The-Bodybuilder 22 May 2013 15:35:00 14,439 posts
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    Please to those in the industry (devs I guess) or anyone within the field, I really want to know if 2nd hand game sales is really that much of a revenue thief it's made out to be?

    I mean I know its technically robbing devs of game sales and money but my question (well, a guess more like) is that the ratio of games being sold 2nd hand hasn't really changed over the years.
    As in let's say 40% of all new games are sold after a few weeks, which means quite a lot of potential new game sales lost. But I'd guess that percentage has stayed roughly the same throughout most of the 8 generations of gaming, yet I don't remember it being as much of a big deal during, say, the megadrive/snes days as it is now. Yet margins are being reduced.

    So isn't it then that 2nd hand games aren't the problem but stupidly-fast dev costs that's the real issue here?

    Also, if MS really want to encourage first-time game sales/discourage game sales, I'm pretty sure the next gen will give fine yet positive ways to do it. For instance, offer Download games (which we obviously can't share) at a much cheaper price than disc games? That way I have the choice of cheaper yet "unsharable" download games to more expensive disc titles. I'm willing to bet that option based purely on convenience alone, would lead to people actively CHOOSING to download games instead.

    Just my thoughts.
  • LeoliansBro 22 May 2013 15:37:04 44,956 posts
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    If removing the second hand market means more money going towards development of AAA titles I'm all for it.

    LB, you really are a massive geek.

  • Widge Moderator 22 May 2013 15:38:38 13,741 posts
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    ^^
    that @ LB

    The shops have found a neat loophole that allows them to buy as little stock as possible and still manage to rake it in off all the new games.

    Edited by Widge at 15:38:48 22-05-2013

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  • imamazed 22 May 2013 15:38:45 5,954 posts
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    Yes, next.
  • beastmaster 22 May 2013 15:39:04 11,969 posts
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    LeoliansBro wrote:
    If removing the second hand market means more money going towards development of AAA titles I'm all for it.
    This.

    The Resident Evil films. I'm one of the reasons they keep making them.

  • RobTheBuilder 22 May 2013 15:39:17 6,521 posts
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    No.

    I've worked with Game group and seen how trade ins promote new game sales.

    No second hand games will kill off retail stores. It also means the console is less attractive to the more casual gamers (the audience they are desperate to reach), it means people take less risks with games and will ultimately buy less at full price.
  • RobTheBuilder 22 May 2013 15:40:51 6,521 posts
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    LeoliansBro wrote:
    If removing the second hand market means more money going towards development of AAA titles I'm all for it.
    Of course it won't. It will increase their profits, further reduce the creativity and variety of games, and ensure prices stay high for much longer.

    If more money does go to AAA titles, it will be at the expense of AA, A and cheaper more risky titles

    Edited by RobTheBuilder at 15:41:45 22-05-2013
  • Razz 22 May 2013 15:42:27 61,653 posts
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    I thought people trade in old games to buy new ones, silly me.

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  • Armoured_Bear 22 May 2013 15:43:54 11,888 posts
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    AAAA+++ or GTFO

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  • The-Bodybuilder 22 May 2013 15:46:08 14,439 posts
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    Razz wrote:
    I thought people trade in old games to buy new ones, silly me.
    Yeah but someone's got to buy those old games otherwise no shop would take it.

    It must also be pointed out that 2nd hand games doesn't necessarily mean its from the shop. When I am interested in a cheap game, my first point of call is ebay, not GAME.
  • Zomoniac 22 May 2013 15:47:16 7,979 posts
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    The-Bodybuilder wrote:
    As in let's say 40% of all new games are sold after a few weeks, which means quite a lot of potential new game sales lost. But I'd guess that percentage has stayed roughly the same throughout most of the 8 generations of gaming
    Not even close I wouldn't think. GAME stores prior to PS2 gen were 90% new, 10% used, you had to go to Gamestation or an indie for second hand. Now every GAME is 90% used, 10% new, and their sales pitch is a very hard sell on pre-owned. When I was young and had a Mega Drive it never even occurred to me that trading in was a thing, I just made games last a while. eBay wasn't a thing, so apart from selling to friends there wasn't really a method to easily get rid of stuff, at least not one that children were widely aware of, save for listing in newspaper classifieds. Now it's just the done thing amongst the masses, finish a game, trade it in.
  • RobTheBuilder 22 May 2013 15:49:59 6,521 posts
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    @Zomoniac actually for my family we traded in all the time at local stores and markets. Most games we owned on the snes/game gear/game boy were traded in or second hand.

    It's much more important when you are younger with less money.
  • Widge Moderator 22 May 2013 15:50:02 13,741 posts
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    Razz wrote:
    I thought people trade in old games to buy new ones, silly me.
    They do.

    They take along a couple of recent titles and get the latest one they want for 5. Those latest traded titles then go on sale undercutting the first hand ones by a couple of quid. People then buy/trade against those and the shop pockets it all. This means they can meet demand without buying stock.

    Hence why multiplayer, DLC, online passes appear... all things to encourage people to hang onto their games rather than slip them into that system.

    Edited by Widge at 15:51:09 22-05-2013

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  • LeoliansBro 22 May 2013 15:50:54 44,956 posts
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    Shikasama wrote:
    LeoliansBro wrote:
    If removing the second hand market means more money going towards development of AAA titles I'm all for it.
    You'll be paying 60 each for them though
    Not sure if serious.

    LB, you really are a massive geek.

  • disusedgenius 22 May 2013 15:51:35 5,614 posts
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    RobTheBuilder wrote:
    Of course it won't. It will increase their profits, further reduce the creativity and variety of games, and ensure prices stay high for much longer.

    If more money does go to AAA titles, it will be at the expense of AA, A and cheaper more risky titles
    Sounds remarkably similar to the current state of affairs, there.
  • King_Edward 22 May 2013 15:51:43 11,471 posts
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    Razz wrote:
    I thought people trade in old games to buy new ones, silly me.
    No way man. It's a socialist scam to con publishers out of their god given right to sell the same disc over and over again until the end of time. Bloody hippies!

    Edited by King_Edward at 15:57:05 22-05-2013
  • bobdebob 22 May 2013 15:54:41 599 posts
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    Zomoniac wrote:
    Not even close I wouldn't think. GAME stores prior to PS2 gen were 90% new, 10% used, you had to go to Gamestation or an indie for second hand. Now every GAME is 90% used, 10% new, and their sales pitch is a very hard sell on pre-owned. When I was young and had a Mega Drive it never even occurred to me that trading in was a thing, I just made games last a while. eBay wasn't a thing, so apart from selling to friends there wasn't really a method to easily get rid of stuff, at least not one that children were widely aware of, save for listing in newspaper classifieds. Now it's just the done thing amongst the masses, finish a game, trade it in.
    You've never been to cash converters in the 90's with your dad?

    I've said this before but I don't understand why they're so desperate to kill the 2nd hands market when people use it to buy new games.

    You know why people buy FIFA all the time? It's because if they pay for FIFA they get FIFA. If the 2nd hand market disappears, it's a 40 risk for new brands, meaning if the game turns out to be crap it means they've wasted 40 on a coaster.
  • TheRealBadabing 22 May 2013 16:50:03 1,361 posts
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    I still find it fascinating that people actually support such anti-consumer measures. Publishers are forcing these new methods on us to prop up their failing business model, not for our benefit.

    These are huge, multinational corporations with appalling reputations and yet the same old toss about "supporting developers" is trotted out time after time. You are not supporting developers, you are supporting the publishers that would gladly shut down studios if their shareholders wanted a new yacht that year.

    Don't act like some philanthropic saviour just because you pre-ordered and pre-paid for the Super Special Limited Wanker Edition. The only person that helps is the marketing twat that thought you would fall for it.

    You want to support a developer? Send them a cheque if you like their last game you bought second hand.
  • Commander-Keen 22 May 2013 17:01:00 846 posts
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    It's pretty short sighted to suggest that second hand games are a problem. Two cases in point:

    1) someone with a limited income or gaming budget will often be forced to chose only one of several available releases at any one time. It's not necessarily because they're young / poor / tight, but simply because they can't justify spending 250 on games this month (an exaggeration, but you see my point).

    If they can trade an old game in and get some cash for it, they are more likely to then recycle that cash back into the ecosystem. Take a few of your old games down and trade 'em for something new. Kill that, and you're slowing down and suffocating one part of the market.

    2) The cautious end of your consumer spectrum many not fancy taking a 50 punt on your brand new game. However, if there is a cheaper second hand game of yours they can have a go at, it's less risky for them, and you've already made your money on the title. It's a long sell, but they're also therefore more likely to make the leap next time around.

    It sounds odd, but this is *exactly* how a huge amount of people consume music. Rather than pony up the cash for a full album up front, they'll try out a few tracks first, perhaps on youtube or elsewhere. If they like the cut of your gib, then they'll splash the cash. Or say they download your album for free (perhaps a better example) and like it, they're more likely to come to your gigs, or buy the next album when it comes out. Basically, they're more likely to become fans.

    If you take that possibility away from people, you'd find a *lot* less music being bought.

    Second hand games are only a problem if you have a short-term greedy hard-cash-centric mind-set. If you're clever about getting your product out there, about using all the tools you can to engage with people and, importantly, have confidence in what you do, you should have nothing to fear from it at all.

    Edited by Commander Keen at 17:06:22 22-05-2013
  • Concrete 22 May 2013 17:04:20 603 posts
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    The figure often used (I'm not sure if its still accurate as its from a few years ago) was a game was sold twenty times second hand and once new on average over its life.

    That's a crap ton of revenue lost, and everyone saying that it contributes to new games sales, bollocks it does. You trade in your game, and you trade it against a second hand copy instead of a new one because its two quid cheaper.

    And no I don't work for EA ;)
  • Commander-Keen 22 May 2013 17:09:12 846 posts
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    Concrete wrote:
    The figure often used (I'm not sure if its still accurate as its from a few years ago) was a game was sold twenty times second hand and once new on average over its life.
    I really don't believe it's anywhere near that. I'm going to guess that those figures have come from the industry equivalent of the pro-tobacco lobbying groups. :)

    Thing is, lets say for a second it's true though. The revenue is only lost if you believe that those buying the game second hand would then go out and buy it first hand, which is quite a leap to make. Most people buy second-hand for a reason, and it's not because they prefer used goods to new ones.
  • Deleted user 22 May 2013 17:09:51
    @Commander Keen

    You don't need a secondhand market for there to be cheaper games. New games decrease in cost relatively quickly as it is, and would probably do so even quicker if there was no money being lost on secondhand games.

    This 50 a game thing gets bandied around a lot, but I buy pretty much every game new from Amazon, and rarely pay over 25 for one, and all I do is wait literally a month or two.
  • RobTheBuilder 22 May 2013 17:10:49 6,521 posts
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    @Commander Keen sadly publishers don't work with logic, they get blinded by money.
  • joeymoto108 22 May 2013 17:12:30 659 posts
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    Concrete wrote:
    The figure often used (I'm not sure if its still accurate as its from a few years ago) was a game was sold twenty times second hand and once new on average over its life.
    That figure sounds like a random number picked out the arse. One copy of a game would have to be resold 20 fucking times. Do you realise how ridiculous that sounds?

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  • Deleted user 22 May 2013 17:14:45
    Shikasama wrote:
    kalel wrote:
    @Commander Keen

    You don't need a secondhand market for there to be cheaper games. New games decrease in cost relatively quickly as it is, and would probably do so even quicker if there was no money being lost on secondhand games.

    This 50 a game thing gets bandied around a lot, but I buy pretty much every game new from Amazon, and rarely pay over 25 for one, and all I do is wait literally a month or two.
    Without a cheaper product to compete against why reduce the price?
    Because not everyone will buy at the higher price. That's standard with most retail. The rich get it first, then once everyone who can afford it and wants it at that price point has it, you reduce the price.
  • Commander-Keen 22 May 2013 17:14:59 846 posts
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    @kalel No I agree with that, but the point I'm trying to get at is that it's a spectrum of cases we're dealing with, rather than a simple black and white scenario. And I often wait and buy games cheaper as well - these days I'm happily buying off Steam of all things too, which I would never even have considered a few years ago!

    If a publisher is clever, they'll get their pricing just right so that they can get the maximum amount of sales for their new game; games which can often sell 10s of millions. We know it can be done without 2nd hand sales crippling them.

    Of course, if they make a game which is aimed at, say 13-24 year olds (like a lot of console games) and price it at 40 a pop, then they've really only got themselves to blame when people think "fuck that" and buy it 2nd hand for half the price instead.
  • Commander-Keen 22 May 2013 17:17:09 846 posts
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    kalel wrote:
    Shikasama wrote:
    kalel wrote:
    @Commander Keen

    You don't need a secondhand market for there to be cheaper games. New games decrease in cost relatively quickly as it is, and would probably do so even quicker if there was no money being lost on secondhand games.

    This 50 a game thing gets bandied around a lot, but I buy pretty much every game new from Amazon, and rarely pay over 25 for one, and all I do is wait literally a month or two.
    Without a cheaper product to compete against why reduce the price?
    Because not everyone will buy at the higher price. That's standard with most retail. The rich get it first, then once everyone who can afford it and wants it at that price point has it, you reduce the price.
    Yeah, precisely.

    But when the official price and the "market" price don't match, people take things into their own hands and create their own channels to trade in - shops, eBay, Gumtree, whatever.
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