Pre-owned games market "damaging" single-player games - Braben

Second-hand game sales could be replaced by rental market, according to Frontier Developments boss

David Braben, chairman of Frontier Developments, has revealed his belief that the pre-owned games market is "damaging" to single-player titles, and could be replaced by a legitimate rental market.

Speaking to, Braben explained how the second-hand market for games skewed sales results and suggested an alternative rental system, involving the supply of rental discs to retailers at no cost in exchange for a cut of a store's rental profits.

"I think it's really damaging to the single-player experience," he said. "Games like BioShock and Assassin's Creed, where they're perfectly valid games, but once you've played them they go into the pre-owned section."

"The sales don't reflect the actual sales of people playing them because someone has gone out and bought, at almost the same price, a pre-owned copy because they couldn't get an original. It's very frustrating that they don't carry that stock any more."

The Frontier Developments boss said he believed retailers shouldn't be afraid of the idea of replacing the pre-owned games with rentals, saying that there are a variety of business plans to consider.

"A genuine rental market would be fine," he explained. "There may well be other business models - and the problem with video rental, as I understand it, was prices were really high. I think that was the issue.

"Maybe there are different ways of participating in that. Maybe it's not a higher price, maybe we get a share of the rental, which actually might be better where the copy is even cheaper, or even free," he added.

David Braben's full interview with is available now.

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Latest comments (1)

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.13 years ago
The intentionally cramped shelf space of retailers like Gamestop forces new games to lose shelf space rather quickly which then forces customers to purchase a used copy at almost full retail price.

It's a business model that hurts publishers and consumers but has allowed Gamestop to grow exponentially.

Gamestop will be in no hurry to reduce their profit margins for the sake of consumers/publishers.
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