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EA: Second-hand sales are a "critical situation"

Publisher hopes online content and services can stop consumers trading in games to the second-hand market

Publishing giant Electronic Arts has said that it's currently trying multiple new business models to help battle the critical problem of second-hand videogame sales.

While retailers reap the benefits of selling the same product multiple times, publishers and developers don't see any income once a title hits the second-hand market. But realising it's powerless to stop retail from selling second-hand goods, EA is looking to combat the problem by capturing the consumer with online content and services.

"I'd actually make the point that for us second-hand sales is a very critical situation, because people are selling multiple times intellectual property," said Jens Uwe Intat, senior VP and general manager for European publishing at EA, speaking exclusively to

"What we're trying to do is build business models that are more and more online-supported with additional services and additional content that you get online. So people will see the value in not just getting that physical disc to play at home alone, but actually playing those games online and paying for them."

The argument that the second hand business model exists in other industries isn't comparable, says the senior VP, as videogames don't wear and tear and become an inferior product as they are passed from consumer to consumer.

"In our understanding of the business model we are actually giving away the rights to play, and if you just pass it on, pass it on, pass it on, that is not comparable to second-hand sales in the normal physical goods area where you have physical wear-out - second-hand cars, second-hand clothes, second-hand books... they're all physically wearing out, so you have an inferior quality product."

"But digital goods is not actually becoming inferior in quality, so people passing that on is actually very challenging for us," he added.

EA isn't planning any confrontational tactics with the retail community, with Intat suggesting that stores should ask themselves whether they are eating into their own market by stocking so many pre-owned titles.

"It's actually also a very interesting discussion to ask how much cannibalisation do you really have on second-hand sales?

"That's such a complex subject, we're not going to be overly confrontational, we're going to solve it with better, more interesting and online offering going forward - and that should actually solve the whole current dilemma," concluded Intat.

A full interview with Jens Uwe Intat will be published on tomorrow.

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Matt Martin avatar
Matt Martin: Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.
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