HMV on game-traders: "It's up to them"

Publishers are overstepping the mark.

If a person wants to sell-on a copy of a game they legally own, "It's up to them," HMV has said.

By asking for a share of second-hand sales, HMV believes game publishers are overstepping their bounds, UK & Ireland boss Simon Fox reckons.

"I understand where the publishers are coming from, [but] on the other hand it's hard to find a market where the original owner/publisher/manufacturer benefits from the future trade of products, whether it's the second-hand book market, the second-hand furniture market or the ticket resale market," Fox told

"The fact is, in every case, the manufacturer of whatever it might be makes their profit from the original sale, transfers the IP or ownership to the buyer, and if the buyer then chooses to sell that item, it's up to them.

"You don't hear book publishers asking for a share of the second-hand book market," he added. "I've never heard that."

He finds it "odd" that publishers now stake a claim to such.

Fox went on to say that the way HMV pitches second-hand sales is as trade-ins, whereby you or I trade a game in so that we can afford a brand new one. Fox said the "vast majority" of HMV's pre-owned sales reflect that.

"As a retailer we feel it is something that our customers want," Fox continued. "We weren't first into this market, we were a late-comer. It's not a big part of our mix, but it is an important part of our mix, and what we do is in some degree part of the way of competing with supermarkets on pricing.

"By providing a trade-in offer on a new release you can make that new release affordable, perhaps even cheaper than the supermarket price - but it's part of a deal. They bring something back, and in exchange they can have the latest product at a very competitive price."

EA is leading the way in a way against second-hand sales with Project Ten Dollar and Online Pass. The former offers around $10 of free DLC via printed codes in the box. In the case of Mass Effect 2, if you bought the game second-hand you'd then have to spend and extra $10 to get the Cerberus Network platform that all the DLC comes through.

The Online Pass is part of the same initiative but more aggressive: without the code you cannot play online multiplayer. Second-hand buyers have to fork out $10 for the privilege. Online Pass has so far been common to EA Sports games, and EA's Peter Moore is convinced you "understand totally" what he's trying to do.

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About the author

Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer  |  Clert

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.


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