Silicon Knights boss expects used games to “cannibalize” industry

Wednesday, 28 March 2012 22:26 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Dennis Dyack has said the used games market is eating away at the games industry by killing off sustained revenue from new sales.

Speaking to GamesIndustry, Dyack said games used to have a long “tail” of sales; he mentioned Warcraft as an example of a game which sold for steadily for a decade.

“Now there is no tail. Literally, you will get most of your sales within three months of launch,” he said, describing it as a “really unhealthy extreme” which relies on generating fast sales.

“And then you have to do anything else to get money,” he added.

Dyack concluded that an emphasis on short term sales had driven game prices up, which he believes will eventually prove problematic, as the big-or-bust approach is unsustainable.

“If used games continue the way that they are, it’s going to cannibalize, there’s not going to be an industry. People won’t make those kinds of games,” he said.

“On the top side of the triple-A, highly-funded titles, you have $100 million games, and looking towards next generation people once again are saying we’re going to have development costs that are two or three times of what they were last generation. I cannot see how that economy is going to continue,” he added, mentioning Call of Duty’s enormous budget as a “one-off” that other companies can’t compete with.

“It comes back to that tail I talked about, recurring revenue. We need a system with recurring revenue and that’s why I think digital distribution is going to play a big role in things to come. That’s why I am still very big on cloud computing.”

Dyack has been quite chatty of late; Silicon Knights is soon to revive its “most requested” property, and an ongoing legal battle with Epic is about to be blown wide open. Silicon Knights is best know for its work on the Legacy of Kain series, prominent flop Too Human, and cult favourite Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem.