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GameStop and other retail outlets taking consumers for a ride, says Ready at Dawn boss

Monday, 22nd July 2013 15:59 GMT By Dave Cook

Ready at Dawn boss Ru Weerasuriya has lamented the negative impact of the pre-owned market on game developer revenue in a new interview, suggesting that while he likes used games he’d like to see GameStop pass a percentage of the income along to developers.

Speaking with GI.biz, Weerasuriya – whose team is currently working on the PS4-exclusive action romp The Order: 1886 – argued that greedy pre-owned tactics harm developers and consumers alike.

“I think the problem is right now there are retail outlets that are really taking everybody for a ride,” he began. “You can’t make a living at the expense of everybody else.

“Unfortunately, they’re not just making a living at the expense of developers but also the consumers because the consumers will see less and less games come out if developers can’t get revenue to make more new titles and keep going as a business.

“I think this is something we need to curb on the retail side. We’re putting the consumers in an awkward spot and we shouldn’t have to.Why should they be the ones to deal with a flawed system? They are the guys we do this for. They are the ones who should be able to benefit the most from being able to buy it.”

He recalled an experience he had at a GameStop store, in which an employee tried to aggressively sell him a used version of a game, and added, “There are developers out there who are making games for [years] and some of them will go down purely because the revenue stream is basically flawed and creating this place where developers don’t see even a little part of it.

“I don’t think we should stop used games, but we should do something about getting part of the revenue back from GameStop and places like that. That’s not penalizing the consumers; they’ll still get what they want. But I don’t know who’s going to address it.”

Microsoft did try to address this issue with its unpopular Xbox One DRM policy, which would have seen retailers installing systems that tracked pre-owned sales, along with fees for consumers looking to activate second-hand code. The policy was quickly abandoned following E3 last month.

What do you make of the above? Can anything be done about this issue? Can a middle-ground be reached where retailer, developer and consumers get a solid deal? let us know below.

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23 Comments

  1. ArcticMonkey

    If Pubs and Devs feel this strongly about this issue they should get together, and yes collude, and support an upstart retail chain of videogame stores. Start in the bigger cities and see if it does well. This’ll never happen, gaming will go 90% digital first, but this could be a solution to a problem millions of gamers and devs always rail about.

    #1 1 year ago
  2. DSB

    Digital would’ve been an easy solution. Slash your infrastructure expenses and drastically lower prices to make everyone forget about the measly 10 bucks they might get at Gamestop.

    Microsoft and Sony only have themselves to blame for not pulling that off. They had close to a decade to smarten up and get people onboard, but they did next to nothing, opting instead to invent digital non-products that are free everywhere else.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. ysleiro

    INB4 a bunch of ignorant dudes come in and call this guy a douche and clueless as to the industry he works in.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. revsouly2

    All, or close to all, digital won’t work until internet speeds go up and prices down. I pay $70 bucks for 20mb AND a 250gb cap. A family With multiple computers, smart phones, tablets & kindles, Netflix, Hulu…I can’t even download all the stuff on PS+ and xb live right now without going over my limit. Battlefield was 12gb and saints row 3 was 8gb…that’s almost 10% of my monthly cap on two games

    #4 1 year ago
  5. N7Caboose

    Why are they treating the games industry different from every other industry that has a form of “Pre-Owned” If i go into a car garage and buy a car 2nd hand does that hurt the sales of the new cars?? I haven’t read ANY articles from car companies saying “2nd hand cars are harming our industry as we see no return from these used sales”
    The movie market (Not downloads) i hear more about “Piracy” being a problem that the sales of 2nd hand DVD’s/Blu-rays but they are essentially the same situation!!
    Don’t get me wrong i can see where they are coming from but if they want people to keep their games and not trade them in then they need to do something to keep it in their hands! Not by adding multiplayer onto a clearly single player experience (Looking at Dead Space 2 here) I see pre-owned helping the market rather than hurting it as i see many people not being able to afford the next big game that they want to they have to use their old games to trade-in towards it. The only downside to the consumer is that they may not get much in return for their old games/new releases as these stores need to make money to survive and the money from the new games cant be that much if they have to push pre-owned games over new games.
    If the publishers stop selling games at the £40 mark they would get more sales at retail or if they keep the £40 retail and do digital for £25 then that would be fantastic to see.

    Sorry for the rant, first time having one on here :D

    #5 1 year ago
  6. 2021vince

    i agree that the fee should be on the retail side because retail is the ones getting the most out of it example game stop will let you trade in a game and get $10 from it but sell it for over $40 they can give some of that up so its not up to the consumer to pay extra to fill the gap while the retail stores keep their pockets fat

    #6 1 year ago
  7. MCTJim

    I cant speak for those not in the US, but to my knowledge the major ISP’s do not cap bandwidth here. I agree that GS rips off the consumer like no tomorrow. Two weeks after a game releases they offer 50% less trade in value for new games and then sell it 5 bucks less than new so 54.99 used. IF they went to digital download for used games at a significantly cheaper price, maybe that would kick GS in their balls to give consumers a better slice of the pie. The used game market in the US is such a freaking joke unless the game is not popular and 3 years old. BF and CoD still go for top $$ used at 54.99.

    #7 1 year ago
  8. 2021vince

    @7 right i agree that would definitely put ease on gs used game prices but then they’ll try to cut down what they’ll give you for a new game to next to nothing but i think if they do digital purchases like steam with the lower prices people wouldn’t have such a fit as they do with used games

    #8 1 year ago
  9. ysleiro

    @N7Caboose
    The reason the gaming industry is different is because all other media industries have other forms of income.

    Movies, Music, Books etc all have several revenue streams.

    For example: A movie makes money at the theaters, then PPV, then rentals, then sales, and finally when shown at a network.

    #9 1 year ago
  10. Cobra951

    @1: That would be a good idea, since used games are so overpriced right now that there are gobs of margin left for something like this–except that it would provoke a price war, and there go the margins. Gamestop wouldn’t sit by to see someone else take away market share. The good news for consumers–who are the real party that needs relief here–is that such a price war would greatly benefit them. But in the end, the dev-startup chain (which must divert profits to the devs) would be at too great a disadvantage, and they’d probably end up folding. Then GS could rape the used-game buyer again.

    @5: I’ve advanced that argument myself. It couldn’t be more obvious to me, but the simple logic escapes way too many of us. Very sad.

    #10 1 year ago
  11. MCTJim

    @8 that is the reason I will not trade in my games at GS…The only game I EVER traded in was call of duty 3 many many moons ago.

    I dont see GS being around in 5 years because they are going the same way as video rental stores..pretty much that entire industry has gone away..other than the last grasp at RedBox…even the movie companies are allowing you to download digital copies now with a purchase of a DVD/B lu-Ray…its only a matter of time before there are no more hard copies.

    #11 1 year ago
  12. ysleiro

    @10 Cobra951

    The comparison you both make is not 1 for 1.

    A game loses much more when it is sold used than say a Movie or even a music Album.

    Movies and Music have several revenue streams where as games have 1.

    #12 1 year ago
  13. 2021vince

    @11 i understand you if i could afford it i wouldnt either but i like new games plus i play my games multiple times over and wait till i get all dlc and finish those then trade but i only trade if i have a stack of games i dont play at all so there is actually a price difference where as if digital purchases was like steam with $35 games i wouldnt need to trade

    #13 1 year ago
  14. bradk825

    @5 if you buy a used game it plays the same as the new version. A used car has wear, it’s not really the same. There is a difference to the consumer between buying new and used so those who want new are more willing to pay for new.

    It’s been true for years that devs are spending more and more on upgrading the engines and features in games and so they are taking fewer and fewers risks, and making fewer games, because they need the ones the makes to sell and sell big. There are more pre-order bonuses than ever before because they only get paid on the first person to buy the game, they don’t make a dime if 6 other people play it. If we want to see them really innovate, it will only come after they solve the revenue problem.

    I enjoy buying used games and saving some money, but that doesn’t mean I am blind to basic high school math in the process. If 1 million people buy a game, but 500,000 bought it used, the studio gets paid on 500,000.

    I do think we are going to see a bigger push on digital very soon. I am betting day one dlc that is generally only available with pre-orders will also become available on day one downloads, and other bonuses like an extra gun or a special camo may be thrown in.

    They can also afford to cut prices sooner than they do, whcih might have to happen. If gamestop is selling it used for $10, they’ll have to sell it online for $10 to compete. Also take into account that Gamestop doesn’t exactly pay a lot for trading it in and they make some serious money on the second hand market. If the system were to stay the same but they paid a royalty, it wouldn’t break them at all.

    Bungie had 47 staff when they made Halo. They are making Destiny with 250 staff. Bottom line: better games will come if the publishers can afford to take some risks, and hire more staff and build better engines. They need to find a way to do it, but it’s a very tough atmosphere to introduce change into.

    #14 1 year ago
  15. tracyis300

    For the devs that are against pre own should just make it digital only or add extra content that makes the experience longer and better over the disc copy. I know that would suck for those with out a internet connection. But face it, the way we game is changing, and the internet is and always will be the cause of it.

    #15 1 year ago
  16. OlderGamer

    I agree with what he says. And I think the DRM policy(X1) for used games was a good idea…poorly implemented. You simply can not have a system that requires an internet connection. Period. No reason I can think of for you to have to “check” in. I mean I understand the PR behind it. But I believe Steam gives us a week, not 24hr. And in my mind, there doesn’t even need to be a week time limit either. If the player goes online, authenticate. If same user stays offline, all offline content should continue to work.

    Had (MS) solved that hurdle, they would have fared better, imo.

    #16 1 year ago
  17. garetjax

    @7 GS sure does rip consumers off with trade ins. The first and last time I traded in games was for StarCraft II WOL. It took 14 xbox 360 games in perfect condition to pay for it. On ebay, they would have easily gotten several times that amount. Never again for me.

    As far as capping bandwidth most of the major ISP’s actually do cap. It is usually in the fine print and about 5% of consumers hit the cap so most do not notice. The cap is typically around 250 GB per month, at least Comcast is. If you hit the cap with Comcast they give you a warning, if you hit it twice you are dropped from their service. You can verify this by looking it up online.

    #17 1 year ago
  18. bradk825

    @17 Yeah, most are not truly unlimited. With Rogers there is a 500GB cap, and they charge you a rate per GB for everything over and above, but they won’t drop you.

    #18 1 year ago
  19. Dendroball

    @16 But as soon as you implement a system like Steam but with the ability to resell your games, you absolutely need to proceed with online checks. Otherwise I get my new game linked to my account, play it, then go to a retail shop to sell it and I essentially keep my console offline so that my account never gets updated and my sold game stays in my library, in other words I’m still being able to play the game I sold while enjoying the money I got from the sale.

    #19 1 year ago
  20. ruckus

    Lower the prices otherwise the huge mark-up on used will exist. Which would be lovely as it provides (along with other faux excuses like piracy) on why digital prices can’t be discounted as much as they should (we just lose so much to used you know).

    Or just give developers a more fair split but shit – what do they do?_?

    Keeping a huge mark-up on used but allowing publishers/developers a share does not right the situation. Not for gamers anyway.

    #20 1 year ago
  21. Rockin a Jack D

    Blame greedy publishers! Games should never be £30/40. They are too expensive, hence the huge secondhand market.

    Games should be priced £15/20 for AAA titles.

    Publishers are the problem. Not retail, consumers or devs.

    #21 1 year ago
  22. 2021vince

    @ 17 yea just looked it up comcast caps at 250 gb but i dont think that ill hit that. A dual layer bluray holds 50 gb and i dont think the ( opinion just to let u know ) games will hit that untill later in the consoles lifespans i think they’ll star out around 30 – 40 gb at most and comcast are making new plans to increase the cap and later on 3 -4 years from now when the game start to hit close to 40 – 50 gb i think they’ll increase the banwith cap again to meet the demand

    #22 1 year ago
  23. acap23

    if they feel that strongly about it then dont distribute their new copies to gamestop and make them change their minds, their not goin to mis out on any sales anyway with these new consoles now that you can download these new games straight from the consoles or get them off of amazon and so on

    #23 1 year ago

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