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Retail

Moore - Publishers must find solution to pre-owned

Thu 30 Apr 2009 7:00am GMT / 3:00am EDT / 12:00am PDT
Retail

EA Sports president believes that second-hand market is retail's "prerogative"

Peter Moore, president of EA Sports, has acknowledged that while the pre-owned videogame market is a challenge for publishers, the onus is on publishers to find a way to monetise the second-sale consumer.

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz he also stated his belief that the sale of second-hand games - a practice which key specialist retailers in the West, including GAME and GameStop, rely upon - is "their perfect right," echoing comments made earlier this year by SEGA Europe boss Mike Hayes.

"It's their prerogative to do that," said Moore on the pre-owned market. "What we have to do as publishers is find ways of taking advantage of that.

"How do we monetise that second-sale consumer? I think online is the key to that, and finding ways of innovating with that consumer, because they still log-on, and we get access to them, so how do we sell them stuff?

"You like to think you make compulsive game experiences and people won't want to trade them in, but that's their perfect right.

"Again, our point as publisher would be that the business exists, it's a multi-billion dollar business - our job would be to figure out how we treat them as any other customer, how we monetise that consumer."

The first part of the GamesIndustry.biz interview with Peter Moore, in which he also talks about the next FIFA title and discusses the challenges of franchise iterations, is available now.

7 Comments

A cheaper version of a game with, say, the first few levels. After that, DLC. Having said that, titles that are - ahem - "less than engaging" will tank even more than before.

Posted:5 years ago

#1

Andreas Gschwari
Senior Games Designer

559 608 1.1
Not sure about the DLC idea Fran - generally that sounds good, but there are still a lot of people who are not connected and others who don't want to buy additional services such as Gold for Xbox Live.

It's a good option but would have to be supplemented so users who don't want to go the DLC route still can get access to a full game. Also additional purchases might not be possible for some of the younger customers.

I think developers simply need to look at the actual second hand sales shelfs and look which titles feature the most and then think about why that is. Certain games (like Call of Duty 4, Gears of War, Halo) are not easily found on second hand shelves because people still play it online. Other titles (such as Bioshock, God of War and Mass Effect) are hard to buy second hand because people like to hang on to quality games and play them again.

The shelves are full of titles that either offer a short gameplay experience with no replay value or simply don't excite a gamer enough to hang on to them.

Posted:5 years ago

#2
Actually, it's pretty easy to find Halo or GoW on the shelves. It's not with COD4, but I personally think that's a conscious decision by the retailers to deny people the opportunity to buy it "on the cheap" when they can still get full price for it. But that's the cynic in me;) I'm sure there MUST be people who have traded COD4 in.

And yeah, it's a fair point about people not having access to the net. But it doesn't mean the principle isn't sound. Maybe one option is to have a downloadable version, which is cheaper, and a regular "all in the box" version which is a bit more pricey - to reflect that it may be sold on. That would take up more shelf space though, and presumably some retailers would be reluctant to sell the cheaper version - but it's still an idea. I guess like Moore said, retailers can do what they want - it's up to the industry to find a solution.

The other problem is that - being completely honest - not all games can be brilliant, or even just "very good". I think you and I have had this conversation on here before actually, so I'm not expecting you to agree with me:) With a market so saturated, there's going to be awesome stuff and not so good stuff mixed in, with the majority being "so so". So I don't think it works to say that developers should simply improve their products so that people won't trade them in. That's a simplistic approach that just won't work - just as all football clubs won't one day be brilliant, so all games won't one day all be as good as each other.

Posted:5 years ago

#3

Andreas Gschwari
Senior Games Designer

559 608 1.1
Oh sure you can find copies of GoW, Halo, CoD and even Bioshock etc. on the shelves now, but how long after they launched is that?

What really gets me about used games is the amount of fairly new titles that end up on the shelves again within a few weeks of launch. Look at games like Wanted - it's been out for a week or 2 and i can already see copies on the used section. I enjoyed the game, but it's 6 hours of gameplay at the most, and does not really have a high replay value. So people eat it like popcorn and move on to the next thing. With regular retail prices as high as they are, i don't fault them for trading in games.

The DLC model is great in theory, and i think we will see this at some point, but then quality NEEDS to be good. Otherwise people will feel ripped off and not even have the chance to return/trade in their copy.

I agree with you that not every game can be top notch, and not every game has to be. But those games that fail to either provide sufficient replay value or achieve a collectors status, will have to suffer re-sale to some point. And i think those developers who produce middle to low quality games have to realize this and can not blame the retailers for their own short comings.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andreas Gschwari on 30th April 2009 10:48am

Posted:5 years ago

#4

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,266 2,405 1.1
You can't monetize it directly.

It might be the retailers right to resell the product but it's also the publishers right to charge the retailer more for titles that are expected to have a high resell rate as a means to offset anticipated revenue loss.

The retailer might try to pass on the higher costs to the consumer but the consumer may take their business elsewhere to save money so they may also be reluctant to carry over the price increase.

If retailers are going to double dip your product, sell at a higher rate to offset.

Posted:5 years ago

#5

Joćo Namorado
Project Manager

52 18 0.3
Jimmy, you seem to basically say that games wich are not that good should be sold at a higher price. People trade in games faster and/or more often that are either too short or not that good. And those games probably should be sold at a lower price from the start.

Posted:5 years ago

#6

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,266 2,405 1.1
Most low budget titles are already sold below the standard $50 for Wii / $60 for PS360 rates meaning they are sold to retailers at a lower rate as well.

But then there are plenty of good games that are high budget/effort that are simply short with little incentive to put the disc back into the system once completed.

Market rate, budget, anticipated returns, resale rate, etc....all that should be factored. High budget plus high resale rate = higher market rate. Low budget plus high anticipated returns = lower market rate. Adjust that market rate based on expected resale rates. If you sell to retail a flat rate regardless of the game, that's your own damn fault.

You want one more way to reduce the volume of resale? Reduce the volume of products launched to begin with. GameStop intentionally uses a small store footprint with limited shelf space so that games are quickly cycled through that limited shelf space and consumers that don't buy right away are almost forced into buying a used copy. If that shelf space wasn't cycled through so fast consumers could buy a new copy much longer after launch. Another benefit to fewer overall titles is higher quality products - with potentially more replay value - which would further reduce the number of copies returned and up for resale.

Posted:5 years ago

#7

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