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, 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."

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Latest comments (3)

Pre-owned stock is the only way most retailers can survive in this market. They make poor mark-up on new games so the pre-owned games mark-up helps. For eg. we buy in Soul Calibur IV at 34.03 trade + VAT = 39.98 including VAT. Selling it at 39.99 like most places means we make 2p profit. This is madness. I know games have a rrp of 49.99 but no one sells at this price no more. If the mark-up had been better on new games or if everyone sold at the 49.99 price point then i am sure most retailers would not bother with the pre-owned market.

Most of the time we can buy games and consoles cheaper from supermarkets etc than the official distributors. This is madness.
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Jason Avent Studio Head / Creative Director, TT Games Publishing13 years ago
That's a good point, Av but if there were more sales at full price then maybe publishers could protect the prices a bit more or reduce the trade price.

I have to say that the best way to protect from rentals and pre-owned stock is to only distribute direct to players online. That's not going to be good for you guys.
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Main problem is that game specialist stores/indies are happy to stick with the rrp/srp but the supermarkets and non specialist are discounting which means the specialist have to as well in order to shift stock. Unfortunately the specialists/indies dont sell milk and bread to make up for the poor margin.

If everyone stuck to a price band then there would be no problems.
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