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Retail

UK sees surge in pre-owned stockists

Thu 07 Oct 2010 8:44am GMT / 4:44am EDT / 1:44am PDT
Retail

3000 stores now offer trade-in games, with ASDA the latest generalist retailer to roll-out initiative

The number of UK shops offering pre-owned game sales and trade-in programmes has increased by a third over the last year.

Around 3000 stores nationwide boast some sort of second-hand service, findings by MCV reveal - up 1000 on last year.

Non-traditional game stockists are experimenting too, with Tesco, Argos and most recently Asda all introducing trade-in programmes this year.

Asda this week revealed plans to offer its service in 234 of its stores approximately two-thirds of the Walmart-owned chain's UK branches.

GAME CEO Ian Shepherd hinted that his chain remained the king of trade-in, however. "Our pre-owned business goes from strength-to-strength it's a strong and growing part of our mix," he said.

"No one can be bold enough to claim such a thing as 100 per cent share. Is there room for others in the market? Yes, there probably is."

He also claimed that measures by the likes of EA (with Project $10/Online Pass) to attach publisher profit to trade-in games had not dented the growth of second-hand sales.

"No, we've not seen the changes in the commercial nature of how some games have launched make any impact on the trade-in category. It's still a strong part of our business."

HMV boss Simon Fox is also optimistic about the pre-owned market, tellingGamesIndustry.biz this week that he believes it drive new release sales too.

11 Comments

Kevin Clark-Patterson Lecturer in Games Development, Lancaster and Morecambe College

294 27 0.1
"No we've not seen the changes in the commercial nature of how some games have launched make any impact on the trade-in category. It's still a strong part of our business."

For the time being anyways, until company's start exercising their EULA rights or when games eventually become digital download.

It's a bit crazy to see the likes of Asda and Tesco offering trade in's, obviously they have seen the likes of Game and HMV cash in so to speak and with the criticism they sometimes get for selling AAA titles at a loss, maybe this bridges that gap, in a perception and financial sense. I doubt they will ever become game specialists but do they need to be?

I buy my games wherever I can get the best deal...Gamestation, Online, Supermarket, simples! In terms of pre-owned, I know where my money is going when buying said titles so it needs to be a really attractive offer for me to make that purchase.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Kevin Clark-Patterson on 7th October 2010 10:05am

Posted:4 years ago

#1

Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D

863 707 0.8
I got NHL 11 recently, really enjoying the single player aspect. Have tried the multiplayer, but it was pretty laggy - we're getting Virgin's 50MB broadband next week so hopefully that'll change and I'll start playing it more online. But the Online Pass is a great idea.

At the end of the day, bricks and mortar stores have their days numbered and I think they know it.

Posted:4 years ago

#2

Martyn Brown Managing Director, Insight For Hire

141 56 0.4
The more prevalent trade-ins become then the less and less viable AAA retail releases will prove to be. Given that the business model was fairly well broken before trade-ins started becoming a problem, this makes a mockery of it. Nice for the 30 or so major releases, but you can understand the exasperation at major publishers.

Posted:4 years ago

#3

Matthew Hill Head of Recruitment, Specialmove

75 26 0.3
Martyn (as always !) has nailed it - the business model has been under severe pressure for a long time.

Without pre-owned many retailers would have already closed or downsized much sooner. This is particularly true for specialists and independents. Trade Prices for most new release console titles will remain high due to increased development AND marketing costs. The latter is often overlooked but several articles have claimed that development was approx 25% of total launch costs for Modern Warfare 2.

Pre-owned will slow the decline of bricks and mortar retail but won't prevent it in the long term.

Posted:4 years ago

#4

Sean Noonan Lead Level Designer, Ruffian Games

7 0 0.0

Posted:4 years ago

#5

Kevin Clark-Patterson Lecturer in Games Development, Lancaster and Morecambe College

294 27 0.1
^^ from experience I bet too!

Posted:4 years ago

#6

Matthew Eakins Technical Lead, HB-Studios

53 36 0.7
@Sean Thanks for the link, that article made my day, that is exactly how I feel whenever I go in to the local specialty game store.

Reading that article makes me think that more people might be willing to turn away from used games if the realize the affect it has on the industry. Maybe the industry trade organizations like ELSPA/ESA should look in to creating a public awareness campaign. The problem is, how to do it without alienating our consumer base (like the unfortunate MPAA anti-piracy campaign). Something that doesn't make people feel bad about buying used games but instead makes them feel good about buying new?

Could you imagine the impact if all of the publishers banded together and agreed to put a simple splash screen at the beginning of every game they ship for a year (or maybe a leaflet in the box with the game) with a message that says, thank you for buying first hand, give them a list of things that they can feel good about contributing to (more games, better games), and then so we don't alienate anyone say thank you to the second hand folks, say that we hope they still enjoy the game but encourage them to buy first hand in the future.

Or we could just tell them that God kills a kitten every time they buy a used game (just kidding) ;)

Posted:4 years ago

#7

Sean Noonan Lead Level Designer, Ruffian Games

7 0 0.0
@Matthew Offering the first batch of DLC for free for first time buyers is a good approach. It rewards those who purchase the game new but doesn't punish customers who continue to buy second hand provided the DLC is available for purchase.

Posted:4 years ago

#8

John Bye Lead Designer, Future Games of London

486 457 0.9
Martyn - "The more prevalent trade-ins become then the less and less viable AAA retail releases will prove to be"

Actually, I suspect that smaller titles are just as hard hit, if not more so. As Sean's blog post points out, used games in many retailers take up so much shelf space, they only really stock a small selection of big titles and recent releases, meaning that most games are hard to find in shops within a few weeks of release, if they get stocked at all. And that can't be healthy for the industry (or the retailers) in the long run.

Posted:4 years ago

#9

Matthew Eakins Technical Lead, HB-Studios

53 36 0.7
@Sean I actually agree with you about the free DLC, and to take it a bit further adding compelling DLC after launch is a good way to dry up, or at least delay, the second hand market by convincing users to hold on to their copy of the game. But to play devils advocate, there are those out there who spin the issue as forcing second hand users to buy parts of the game that they believe they all ready paid for.

It's funny, I don't actually have a problem with the second hand game market, what I really have a problem with is the conflict of interest in major retailers selling both new and used merchandise. No other industry that I can think of has that problem (and before anyone says car sales I'll cut you off at the pass by saying that cars depreciate so buying a used car bears little to no resemblance to buying a new car).

Posted:4 years ago

#10

Dan Lowe 3D Animator, Ubisoft Montreal

46 68 1.5
It's been said many times before, but lets see what happens when it all goes digital.

Posted:4 years ago

#11

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