Quantic Dream believes that the company lost between €5 and €10 million of royalties due to the second hand sales of influential PlayStation 3 title Heavy Rain.
The second hand sales were fuelled by the last recession, said co-founder Guillaume de Fondaumiere, where high games prices forced consumers to seek out cheaper deals in the overpriced AAA market.
"I would say that the impact that the recession had, especially on AAA games on console, was the rise of second hand gaming. And I think this is one of the number one problems right now in the industry," he told GamesIndustry.biz in an exclusive interview.
On my small level it's a million people playing my game without giving me one cent.
Guillaume de Fondaumiere, Quantic Dream
"I can take just one example of Heavy Rain - we basically sold to date approximately two million units, we know from the trophy system that probably more than three million people bought this game and played it. On my small level it's a million people playing my game without giving me one cent. And my calculation is, as Quantic Dream, I lost between €5 and €10 million worth of royalties because of second hand gaming."
While he sympathises with the consumer who is faced with expensive titles, he also said that the simple problem is that developers will stop making games if they can't recoup a profit, which harms all areas of the ecosystem in the long term.
"Now I know the arguments, you know, without second hand gaming people will buy probably less games because they buy certain games full price, and then they trade them in," said de Fondaumiere. "Well I'm not so sure this is the right approach and I think that developers and certainly publishers and distributors should sit together and try to find a way to address this. Because we're basically all shooting ourselves in the foot here.
"Because when developers and publishers alike are going to see that they can't make a living out of producing games that are sold through retail channels, because of second hand gaming, they will simply stop making these games. And we'll all, one say to the other, simply go online and to direct distribution. So I don't think that in the long run this is a good thing for retail distribution either."
He continued: "Now are games too expensive? I've always said that games are probably too expensive so there's probably a right level here to find, and we need to discuss this altogether and try to find a way to I would say reconcile consumer expectations, retail expectations but also the expectations of the publisher and the developers to make this business a worthwhile business."
The full interview with Guillaume de Fondaumiere, where he also discusses the developer/publisher relationship, why self-publishing is "idealistic" and why videogame ratings need a radical rethink, can be read here.