Analyst group Cowen and Company suggests in a new report that “online pass” from EA may be a way for the industry to curtail used game sales.
In the report, used games sales are blamed for a 20 percent drop in Xbox 360 and PS3 sales in 2009, compared to PS2/Xbox sales in 2003, and suggests that “online pass” could help rebound the market within 18-24 months.
The userbase in 2003 for PS2 and Xbox combined was around 30 million units, moving 106.9 million units of software, according to NPD. In 2009, that figure was roughly the same for the PS3 and 360 userbase, but sales only came in at around 85.5 million for software.
Doug Creutz of Cowan and Company estimated that the average second month sales for new software on PS/Xbox has fallen by 62 percent since 2001. Using Final Fantasy XIII as one example, Cowan said the drop-off was at 93 percent in sales – with Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising and Halo Wars also above 90 percent in drop-off.
Used game sales were noted as the core reason, but “stubbornly high hardware price points” were to blame for the drop-offs as well.
This will be remedied, said the report, once systems like online passes are implemented, and will increase new game sales along with digital content once it’s “grudgingly accepted by both GameStop and consumers”.