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Pre-owned market had "big" effect on Halo, says Bungie dev

Fri 26 Sep 2008 11:26am GMT / 7:26am EDT / 4:26am PDT
Development

Marty O'Donnell warns pre-owned market makes success of small titles difficult

Marty O'Donnell, Bungie's audio director, has warned that smaller studios face a difficult future if they can't get a return on their investment due to the sale of pre-owned games.

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, O'Donnell explained that even larger titles like Halo were effected by the pre-owned games market but that he believed digital distribution would be the way to create a "system that is good and fair to both" consumers and developers.

"It's hard to gauge the effect of used game sales on Halo, but I'm sure it's big," O'Donnell commented. "Complaining about sales when you have a multi-million seller is somewhat difficult to justify, but it seems to me that the folks who create and publish a game shouldn't stop receiving income from further sales."

"It will be harder for smaller titles to be successful in the future if they can't fully realise a return on investment," he explained.

"Eventually, digital distribution is probably going to be the way most people purchase content and hopefully developers, publishers, and retailers will figure out a system that is good and fair for both the consumer and the creators of that content. I don't worry that much about the middle man, he always makes out just fine."

O'Donnell's comments come following Buzz developer Andrew Eades' suggestion that the second hand market for games needs reform, and that retailers should listen to the concerns of development studios who are left out of any profits from pre-owned sales.

David Braben, boss of The Outsider developer Frontier, also believes radical action is needed, suggesting that a legitimate rental market could help developers, publishers and retail profit from an alternative to full priced retail product.

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