Andrew Eades: Pre-owned market needs reform
"Rubbish" games partly responsible for creating second-hand sales, says Relentless co-founder; rental market "good solution"
Retailers need to listen to developers' and publishers' complaints over the pre-owned games market, says Relentless Software's Andrew Eades, but admits the industry is partly responsible for creating the problem by selling "rubbish" titles.
Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, Eades suggested that second-hand sales prevented the price of games from dropping and echoed David Braben's comments that a rental solution could be the best alternative. However, he warned that retailers could face being replaced by digital distribution if action wasn't taken.
"The fact is that we're making new innovative videogames all the time and it costs a lot of money to do that," commented Eades. "If we're only seeing one slice of the profit then that makes the games more expensive in the first place and the more expensive you sell a game for the more inclined [consumers] are to swap games... improving the rental market for videogames sounds like a really good solution."
"From the gamers' point of view it's really good because you can effectively pay a tenner buying a game, which is great, which is maybe where the price point for games should be," he added. "But of course we can't really reduce the price point of games if the only profit we're getting is off of that first sale. That's why retailers aren't the most popular people with game developers right now."
"The nature of videogames is changing, we've got digital distribution, downloadable content and user-generated content. That means that videogames are not a two week hit of playing, you can become more and more involved in the game and play it regularly," he said. "Whether retail like it or not, people who develop and publish videogames need to see better profits from them."
"I feel that game retailers have absolutely a good role to play but they have to realise that when platform holders, developers, and publishers are saying 'we're not really happy with the way you are treating our games in the pre-owned market' it would be preferable if they listened a little bit harder - because we are saying it loud and clear and we do have another option which is digital distribution which does cut them out of the chain at some point."
He went on to add that the games industry wasn't without blame, as publishers' willingness to release poor games helped to create the second-hand market.
"Sometimes publishers are guilty of putting out games that shouldn't be sold and that has damaged the reputation of the games industry," he explained.
"People feel that they've got a safety net because if it is a game that they don't like or is full of bugs then they can take it back and trade it - that safety net is appreciated by the gamer and that's partly the reason it exists. If we weren't guilty of selling rubbish then we wouldn't have such a big problem."