Lionhead says used sales cost it more money in the long run than PC piracy

Tuesday, 17th May 2011 17:34 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Lionhead has is of the opinion that second-hand sales are more of problem today with Xbox 360, than PC piracy.

Speaking with Eurogamer, combat designer Matt West said piracy on PC is “probably less problematic than second-hand sales on the Xbox,” because unlike used game sales, with piracy there’s “not much you can do about it”.

“I’ve been working on PC games for many years and piracy is always a problem,” said West. “There are a lot of honest people out there as well, and if they like your game they’ll buy it. The pirates, whatever you do on whatever system, they will crack it. It might take no time… I think the longest it’s taken to happen is two days. Someone will crack it somewhere and there’s not much you can do about it.

“It’s just a depressing situation we’re in that people don’t think it’s worth spending money on computer games. What they’re doing is making sure there are fewer games coming out in the future and more people out of work, which is a terrible thing. Unless you sit down and meet a pirate face to face and have a conversation about what it does, I don’t think anything will stop them.”

West said sales made on Fable III when it launches on PC this Friday will be “a bonus” to the already recouped cost of development from the Xbox 360 version, which sold “in the millions.”

“For us it’s probably a no-lose even with piracy as it is,” said West. “But, as I say, second-hand sales cost us more in the long-run than piracy these days.”

For reference, you can buy a new version of Fable III at Target in the US for $32,  or get it from GameStop used for $32.99 or new for $39.99, where as at Walmart it will still run you $59.96 – unless you tell them its competitors are cheaper.



  1. FrankieDF

    They should change something about their games to make them more compelling to keep.

    When games like Little Big Planet 2 or Uncharted come out and we only see a couple copies in used at most at a time, and we get twelve copies of fable III in one week a few weeks after it launches it leads me to believe that your game doesn’t give people a reason to hold on to it.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Christopher Jack

    The way I see it, more & more people are buying games just to complete then trade in a week or 2 later for a brand new game & then return the new game after a week or 2.
    I personally see nothing wrong with the online activation scheme some publishers have, the new user gets to use the online server that the publisher pays to run while the preowned user has to pay separately to obtain such a privilege but this is a larger threat with single player games.

    @1, That’s absurd, you can’t simply make a better game to keep people from trading it in, they make what they can given the amount of developing time & their budget.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. FrankieDF

    Actually, you can make a better game that people will trade in less.
    We see it all the time with games like Uncharted, Little Big Planet 2, and Demon’s Souls.

    There’s an awful lot of copies of those games out there.
    There’s an awful lot of copies of fable III out there.
    The difference is that the drawer at work has 14 used copies of fable III in it, and between 0-2 copies of the other games.

    Some games have features that encourage people to hang on to them.
    Some games don’t.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Jan

    I traded a few games in so I could buy Fable 3 a cheaper when it came out, So I would say that if you could not trade in games, some games would maybe not sell that much since people would not take the risk to buy new games if they are stock with it.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. ManuOtaku

    #3 to do the proper maths we need to check the overall sales of both games then see how many returns they had in order to calculate the %, then we know if the quality of the game is a factor, and also we have to take multiple games on both cases in order to see a trend in the %, also classify the games with multiplayer and without multiplayer too, both are different and this is a factor the affects directly the object in study, i think they are too many variables that would affect the result, so is not as easy as it may seems, but thats IMHO

    #5 4 years ago
  6. loki

    Fuck you Lionhead. It is all about your greed. I’m not buy Fable 3 , because i not promoter for PC gamers.
    PC gamers fucked you 6 years ago, and fuck you again. It is a pity that life does not teach you anything

    #6 4 years ago
  7. M. K.

    We got it Frankie, Playstation games are better, now go troll elsewhere…

    #7 4 years ago
  8. OrbitMonkey

    Now now M.K. that’s not trolling, its *observation*, is it trolling for someone to say their local gameshop is inundated with people trading in ps3′s since the hack? No its *observation*.

    It’s just the complete lack of verifiable proof that makes it seem like trolling ;)

    #8 4 years ago
  9. The_Red

    You do realize that both LBP and Demon’s Souls have lost a huge amount of money due to second hand market? Specially Demon’s Souls which was being traded by almost everyone who heard it was awesome, got it second hand and found it to be too hard, thus selling it to the 3rd person and repeating the cycle.

    I think second hand market has become too big and outside Call of Duty and Halo, may eclipse the new sales. This is the reason that I believe publishers should get a chunk of second hand sales if they’re done by retailers (If people just want to trade games between their friends, that’s fine and I don’t think too many games are being moved this way to be considered a concern).

    #9 4 years ago
  10. OrbitMonkey

    @9 No way in Hell should dev’s get a cut from a second hand sale! It’s unworkable for 1, i mean how’d you keep track of it all? Would you need a license to trade on eBay?

    Dev’s make out the second hand market is detrimental, but all they see is a lost sale a narrow minded point of view at best & simple not true.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. Hybridpsycho

    If a person chooses to sell the game he bought, then the company that developed the game lost a customer per se.
    But instead the guy/girl who’s buying the second-hand game is a new customer and could be considered having payed for the game to begin with, if you see “buying a game” like paying a one time membership fee and then someone taking over that membership. You haven’t lost any money cause there’s still the same amount of games/memberships circling around out there.
    No one stole a game from them…sure I know some people play through single player campgains and then sell the game cause they have no “Need” of it. I believe most people actually keep their games though.
    Also, as someone said earlier…if it wasn’t for second-hand maybe the person in question would never have bought their game to begin with (not being able to afford).

    It’s a stupid thing to say that second-hand makes them lose money. Well maybe it does in the end, but it’s how things work and almost EVERYTHING can be bought second-hand today…

    I think I’ve made my point.

    #11 4 years ago
  12. Lounds

    If retailers didn’t sell 2nd hand games, they would be bust, then where would you go to get your game, (obs Online shops such as Amazon) but it’s nice to know you can pop into a shop dedicated to gaming, and you can browse the game selection, read the boxes and stuff.

    PC gaming on the other hand, to me anyways needs to be online, STEAM is epic, I like the fact I can have 30 odd games ready to play, no faffing around with disks, but at same time consoles (I own ps3) have some awesome selection of games that PC will never see. Also I get all my PS3 games 2nd hand, except Portal 2 & Killzone 3 and thats only because I played there previous games and I knew they would be well deserved games, although I’m gonna trade Portal 2 for LA Noir as I can get £26 for it (£28 if I hadnt used the steam code).

    #12 4 years ago
  13. OrbitMonkey

    Another point I forgot to add, was that Demon Souls only got a EU release due to the amount of second hand trade going on with imported copies. So far from it resulting in “lost” sales, the second hand market INCREASED it :D

    #13 4 years ago
  14. Lounds

    TBH if developers are complaining, just do what EA do with there online games and make people pay for a licence to play online. Makes sense, Win win for them, but we still get a cheap game = “Winning” as Sheen would say.

    #14 4 years ago
  15. Prof.Dr.Moertel

    Well, you could prevent people from buying their games used if you would give Fable 3 360 buyers some benefit for paying 3 times as much as PC users(and they get the same content and even more features… man, I´m pissed :P )

    #15 4 years ago

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