GameStop: Used sales benefit the whole industry
VP Michael Mauler says second hand drives new sales
GameStop's executive vice president Michael Mauler believes that second hand sales benefit not only retailers such as his own company, but publishers and developers as well, driving sales and keeping customers engaged with yearly franchises.
Speaking to Edge, Mauler explained that without the opportunity to cash in on older titles, many gamers wouldn't be buying as many new ones.
"I can understand the feelings [but] we've sat down with developers and publishers and really gone through the data," Mauler told the magazine's website. "I personally think there's a lot of benefit to the publisher. "A great example is sequels, where there's a large percentage of people who are just not going to spend $60 every single year without being able to do something. They'll look at their shelf and see ten FIFAs, Pro Evos or Maddens.
"Being able to take the older one and do something with it in order to buy the next version is really important to consumers. That drives new sales quite a bit."
According to Mauler, getting new customers involved with a series which they may not have invested in at full price also pushes sales of DLC, but initiatives such as EA's Online Pass, which encourage direct payments to the publisher in return for access to online modes and features, aren't particularly effective.
"Our data says that used customers play a lot less online than new customers. The number's very low - like 15, 20 per cent."
The reason for that, Mauler feels, is the diminishing attractiveness of online offerings as time goes on and the users become more core, increasing the experience gulf for new adopters. Instead, he says, second-hand users will invest in DLC, extending their game experience.
Mauler's thoughts are unlikely to coincide too closely with those of publishers, given the vested interest he represents. However, he also makes a point about scheduling which may find more sympathy amongst industry figures, despite its stronger phrasing.
"We the industry have done it to ourselves," Mauler says of the second hand market. "We take all the great releases and put them all in a two-month period.
"If you're an FPS fan, you look at all the games that are coming out this fall, and you'd have to be pretty wealthy to buy all of them. There are going to be people who buy Battlefield 3, and they're not going to have €60 for at least another month or two...they're all coming out so close together."