Pre-owned sales have "no benefit" to publishers - Livingstone

But Eidos life president admits publishers need retail to help market games

Eidos life president Ian Livingstone has slammed the pre-owned retail market, stating it has no benefit for developers or publishers.

Retailers are able to cut out the creators and publishers of the product and make a higher margin on second hand sales, often reselling titles multiple times, he added.

"The pre-owned market is a serious problem, because there is no benefit to developers or publishers," Livingstone told the BBC.

"A shop makes a bigger margin on a pre-owned title, and can sell them six or seven times, so there is no incentive for them to reorder and the content creator gets no slice of the action."

According to the report, Livingstone suggested second hand sales make up around a quarter of a retailer's turnover.

However, he noted that retail outlets are still a necessity for games publishers, not just to sell new titles, but to help market products to consumers.

"These aren't just shops, they are a marketing tool, a window into our world where software houses can display their wares."

Livingstone is the latest veteran to add to the ongoing second hand sales debate. EA Sports boss Peter Moore recently that pre-owned sales are a retailers prerogative, and it's down to publishers to invest in ways of seeing a return on the business.

"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," he said.

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Latest comments (1)

Jason Avent Studio Head / Creative Director, TT Games Publishing12 years ago
It's definitely good to keep saying this. I don't see how it's going to stop though. If retailers stop supporting pre-owned reselling, consumers will always have e-bay and other channels they can use for reselling and publishers will never get a cut of that.

Digital distribution is the only cure. Considering all the benefits to publishers like anti-piracy, removal of the retailer's cut and a non-existant second hand market, why don't publishers make their games available to download at a price considerably less than high street price? They could afford to. This games-on-demand pricing nonsense really doesn't help matters. 19.99 for old games that you can't keep on your shelf or sell on?! Are you kidding?!

Sell games online by download-only for cheaper than the TRUE cross-the-counter price: say 30 for new releases. Publishers will still make the same amount of money or more from each title. It's fairer to the consumer because they should quite rightly pay less because they can't resell or have the actual physical goods on their shelves. I'm sure retailers will complain about this but their shops can still satisfy those consumers who prefer to have the physical box and the resellability. To consumers buying from shops, the net price to them after they've resold is still significantly less than the download price - even at my proposed lower price point.

Stop moaning and start making the future happen! : )

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