Green Man: We're not cannibalising new games market

"Majority" of publishers signed up for digital pre-owned sales service; Games can generate additional 200% in revenue, claims new online retailer

New digital pre-owned games retailer Green Man Gaming has said that its model will not damage sales of new goods, and confirmed that it has distribution agreements with "the majority" of publishers who see the benefits of allowing the resale of their titles.

The company announced last week that it plans to sell pre-owned digital PC games, with a remuneration package for publishers who sign up for the service.

"We're not aiming at cannibalising the new game market," the company's CEO Paul Sulyok told in an interview published today.

Instead, the company's business model will encourage users to buy more PC games - overcoming the major hurdle digital retail has with games being worthless after purchase - and enable publishers to earn even more revenue over a longer period on their titles.

Sulyok estimates the average game could generate almost 200 per cent more revenue when sold through Green Man than it would as a normal digital sale.

And he says that this revenue won't be made at the expense of new games.

"If I am a price sensitive customer, if I've got 20 to buy a 34.99 game, I will get that game for 20 be it on eBay or be it on a BitTorrent website. What we're doing is targeting the second hand grey market."

"When a new game title comes out you'll see a massive spike in the number of games that are being returned to people like GAME and HMV, and publishers still make money on the new game sales," added the company's COO Gian Luzio.

The service is set to roll out in the UK at the end of March, closely followed by Europe and then, later, North America.

Over 400 games will be available from the outset with more to be announced later on, said Sulyok.

"It's going to massively grow the current PC market. It's not coming from a technical standpoint it's coming from a how do we grow this in order to get more people playing PC games. We know there are all those PCs out there so how can we engage with those customers? We know they've got broadband, so we want to get it out there and get it to people and encourage them to try new games."

The full feature on Green Man Gaming can be read here.

Latest comments (7)

Andrew Morriss Animator, Team 178 years ago
I really can't see how this will increase revenue. Digital titles already scale in price over time. If there's no difference between a new and second hand title, then its no different to just buying and selling it cheap. Either I'm missing something or this is smoke and mirrors. What am I missing?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andrew Morriss on 27th January 2010 9:53am

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Otakar Schon Technology editor, Economia8 years ago
I think that second hand sales of digital games are only fair to the customer. Not sure if we need middle man (same for hard copies) but the ability to resell your property is only natural - jeans makers surely do not try to prevent their customers to resell jeans on ebay... What worries me that preowned games bought via "official" channels like Game are only very slightly cheaper making it a profitable business for such outlet and i can understand developers and publishers wanting a slice of the pie too.
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Russell Kentish Studying Master of Digital Media, Centre for Digital Media8 years ago
So all those people who buy second hand, torrent, or who don't buy a newly released game, because of the price, will be buying from them and they pay the publishers. So they are encouraging more people to buy more games, and to buy from them so the publishers get a share of the profits. (I'm not certain, but currently, publishers don't make any money from 2nd hand titles at game do they? =s) I think thats what he means.

They say that they are targeting those people who only buy second hand, but by making second hand games easy to attain and cheaper, won't everyone, even those who do buy full priced games, just buy from them? I buy games at full price, but if I could get it cheaper I would buy it from here, but I supposed if I could get my games cheaper and easier, I would be buying a lot more games and not just the one every 1-2 months.
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Nick Loman Director, Gamer Network8 years ago
None of this would be relevant if games weren't so damn expensive! If you could download games for 5-10 no-one would care if you couldn't resell them or transfer them to friends. And the publishers would sell bucketloads. Need some big publishers to be brave and give new pricing schemes a try!

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Otakar Schon Technology editor, Economia8 years ago
Thats the dream Nick... Most people already have set price they are willing to accept and thats why there is so big market for secondhand games on ebay... T be honest, I do the dsame for games I dont get to review. I wait till i can find them fort the "right" price and then go for it be it from amazon sale, platinum release or on ebay... Its the only way to do it when you are on budget and if the publishers dont get it... its their problem
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Stace Harman Freelance Writer 8 years ago
I can't find mention of whether the stock of '2nd hand' titles available on the service will be tracked and recorded to ensure that, like a boxed 2nd hand game, there is only a limited number of copies of any one 2nd hand title available.

If it is limited in this way then this will not simply be a case of selling a title at a cheaper price as the number of copies of a 2nd hand title will depend entirely on the number of people that have traded it in. This would presumably mean that the game would feature on the service twice: at its 'new' and '2nd hand' (in limited numbers) price point. That could make it interesting.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Stace Harman on 27th January 2010 1:46pm

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Barrie Tingle Live Producer, Maxis8 years ago
Lets face it, there is only one reason digital game sales prices are so high and that is because publishers are scared of the retailers.
GameStop has a lot of selling power and if they dislike something a publisher does i.e. Sells a digital copy for less than a physical copy or even allow it to be purchased earlier then they will lower their sales push on the publisher titles in store. That accounts for a lot of sales as gamers still arent ready for a fully digital distribution system and until they are retailers will call the shots.
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