Used Game Trade is Good for Video Game Biz, Says Industry Watcher

While some game industry types and even the occasional game journalist criticize game trade-ins as harmful to the industry, a market researcher says it’s actually a good thing.

As reported by Game Daily, Eric Villain of research firm OTX made his remarks at the MI6 conference in San Francisco this week. From Game Daily’s account of Villain’s talk:

We spoke to 2,000 gamers from March 14th to 17th. Is it good or is it bad? For now, it’s actually a good thing. And actually fuels new game sales. Used games are only a fraction of the market. 

Gamestop has a phenomenal share of market – again, not a big surprise. We felt really good that a conservative estimate [of the used game market] is about 1.3 billion dollars in 2007.

Every game has different [trade-in] curve… Sellers are guys. The buyers are more evenly split, fifty-fifty… What’s driving the retail market is people who are buying action-shooter games – RPGs as well… What we also expect is growth in the market for 2008. A lot more than a year ago. In the midst of an economic downturn, I expect more buyers.

According to Game Daily, OTX noted that used game sales create additional opportunites for in-game advertising, since multiple owners may use a single copy of a game. The practice also increases the value of some game brands.

Nearly two-thirds of gamers surveyed told OTX that they purchase both new and used games.

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  1. 0
    Zen says:

    @ Monkeythumbs

    You have a point. :) Don’t get me wrong, I may work for Gamestop (part time…my “real” job is for a Naval contractor), but I don’t want to be viewed as a bad guy. I’m a collector and have loved gaming for most of my life, as well as getting my family (my son is starting his own collection to be like his dad :) ) into gaming. I still don’t think that the ability for any business to be able to buy and sell used games hurts the market as bad as people say. The example given above by myself and a few others of a person buying a used car from a used car dealership was told that it didn’t count because they had to pay taxes on the sale. NONE of those taxes go to the original maker, they go to State and Federal government agencies so those charges don’t really count. And when an individual sells a car, the person who purchased it is charged tax on the sale, as well as the seller being charged tax on the money that they get from the sale. None of that goes to the original maker either. Used games help people that can’t afford to purchase new EVERY time to be able to either purchase more games and spread out what they like to play, or at least think “ok, if I drop 60 dollars for this one game, I can bring it back later SOMEWHERE and get SOMETHING for it towards something else”. If Gamestop or any other store had to break from other retailers by paying the original makers money each time for the same item purchased from them, then that cost would only get pushed down the line onto consumers like you and me. All of the games (probably the new ones as well market wide) could see a price increase of 3 to 5 percent to cover that new cost to the company so that there sales figures don’t look like they just took a 3 to 5% market loss. (sorry if this comes out sounding a bit dis-jointed…I’m thinking of what to say and type while running around working).

  2. 0
    Zen says:

    @ Monkeythumbs

    “All you guys do is point out flaws, not come up with solutions. So far, Zen, you’ve even failed to recognise that a problem exists. “

    True, I don’t see a problem because there seems to be NO issue with moving to a medium like digital downloading where the maker gets all profit, all of the time, but the person that PAYS for the game/movie/song/etc gets a VERY limited use on it, and can’t use it outside of what they are told. Steam has a great use where you can actually put a game you buy on multiple computers (I did it for Audiosurf so it would be on my wife’s laptop as well) but I still have to know ahead of time to set it for offline mode if I want to play while the internet is off. Worked great when I brought the laptop to work to show friends, sucked the other night when my ISP dropped for the night with no warning. Same goes for Xbox live. My system just red ringed on me, and I spent a LOT of money on DLC especially for Rock Band and Guitar Hero 2/3. All three of those games are great for taking to a party, but now I have to make sure an open broadband internet connection is always available or else screw me on money spent. Plus, developers (EA is a big one for this) are making money on any version (new or used) with DLC as well like paying REAL money for FAKE money in Godfather, or ruining Need for Speed for people by letting you unlock everything, day one, by paying more for that DLC. So I don’t cry for all developers that want every penny for themselves, but I do push for new on the smaller ones and for those games (Zak and Wiki is pushed big time because it was such a great game) that were great but didn’t sell well. It’s an open market that has MANY other stores (not just Gamestop but Play-N-Trade, FYE, etc.) that sell used games too.
    Final note…Blockbuster buys games in bulk at a lower cost, rents them multiple times for a few bucks each time, then sells them off used anyways in the end.

  3. 0
    NervClaX says:

    Microsoft has already declared their intentions. In their eyes, digital downloads are the future for TV, movies, games, etc. Very rapidly, their business model will shift in this direction. Sony will move in a similar direction because they are competing for the same consumers. You will continue to see more games sold as downloads as opposed to retail. Giving download customers extra DLC and exclusive perks will accelerate the shift. The next X-Box may not have a disc drive at all.

    Nintendo is still selling hardware at a profit, and Nintendo consumers don’t tend to be as savy as Hardcore gamers. I don’t see parents shop around for bargains on Nintendo games. Their kids take them by the hand and tell them what they want, when they want it. Nintendo will be slower to make the change.

  4. 0
    Monkeythumbs ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    All you guys do is point out flaws, not come up with solutions. So far, Zen, you’ve even failed to recognise that a problem exists.

  5. 0
    Zen says:

    A pawnshop is a business that deals in just about ANYTHING including videogames (and at least here in Florida, cars as well). They don’t have to pay ANY of the people that originally made or developed any of the items they sell. They don’t have ALL of the taxes that a dealership has in regards to cars, but almost all of those taxes are just pilled into the cost of the car for the next consumer anyways. Don’t even get me into flea markets where you are just as likely for someone to make a knock off of something which kills even the original purchase of the original item.

  6. 0
    Ebonheart ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ MonkeyThumbs

    Thats is assuming the car isn’t sold back to a dealership. Honestly I couldn’t care that my arguement is full of holes, I just wanted to argue. It’s fun 😛

  7. 0
    Monkeythumbs ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ Ebonheart:

    The car analogy falls down on *so* many levels, primarily because when you buy a car new you get loads of valuable incentives like free services, extended warranties etc etc. You’re also taking about a private sale rather than at retail, which is the system to which I was referring. I understand that thge analogy can be extended to second hand car dealers, but they pay all sorts of taxes that private individuals don’t, so the analogy again falls down. I think it’s far fairer to compare this with movies and music.

    The fact oif the matter is that it is hideously expensive to make a game these days. This isn’t helped by the facf that *most* of the lifetime sales of a particular title will be through resale, thus denying developers with *most* of their hard-earned cash.

    I don’t think I have the solution now, but there is a problem here and it needs to be recognised. Digital distribution will hopefully fix this (although that then opens up the supply chain to piracy). Essentially, retailers are exploiting the resale market to rip off publishers and its the developers that pay the price.

    Less money for devs = less R&D = less innovation = boring games.

    This analyst suggesting that developers should be thrilled to see the bricks & mortar stores benefitting from their creative output is, quite frankly, insulting.

    But then again, I think we’ve all established that I’m quite easily offended :)

  8. 0
    Ebonheart ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    So to bring this arguement to a diffrent world but keeping the base arguement the same.

    I buy a ford, 9 months later I sell it, someone buys it. Considering the car is mine why should I pay for 3-5% of what I sell it for; I’ll stress the part that it’s my property. Ford got their money when the car was bought buy the dealer, making it the dealers property, so on and so forth down the line. Party A sells to party B party B sells to C so on and so forth.

  9. 0
    Bill ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Look, emotionally, I feel like you. I would love the developers to enjoy great success and reaphuse paydays from thier work.

    But logically I can’t get behind penalizing one section of people for engagin in legitimate business weather in the form of a brick and morter store or a virtual shop on ebay just so I can feel toasty warm on the inside.

  10. 0
    Bill ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “However, suggesting that developers benefit from… whilst the store keeps the profit is utterly ridiculous.”

    I don’t pretend to know how it benefits them, but I do know that in business benefits are accounted for in more ways than pure monetary income. So I see it as possible, but I can’t say for sure nor am I personally making that claim.

    “I just can’t see how GameStop/GameStation getting to keep most of the return from any developer’s work is justifiable.”

    That’s called ownership.

    GS pays or barters for the games. It’s not like they get them for free, and then they either give people cash or trade for other items in their inventory.

    Regardless of the method it is agreed between the two parties involved that ownership has been transferred from one party to the next and being able to sell one’s own property for profit is perfectly justifiable.

    As a matter of fact retailers don’t have to sell games for MSRP. Each store is charged for the games brand new then the stores mark them up usually according to MSRP, but they don’t have to. They can mark them as high or low as they want. Do you know why? Because after they purchased them, they own the product they are selling.

    Let me say this. If retailers had to pay a percentage to the developers for each used game they sell, it will end up being passed on customers in the form of higher prices. It wouldn’t be the retail guy getting screwed it would be us. But that’s neither here nor there.

  11. 0
    Monkeythumbs ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ Bill

    Well, the current system is still patently unfair towards devs. My suggestion probably isn’t an ideal solution, I’m more than willing to admit that. However, suggesting that developers benefit from a situation that allows for four different people to purchase a game with the developer only getting paid once whilst the store keeps the profit is utterly ridiculous.

    I just can’t see how GameStop/GameStation getting to keep most of the return from any developer’s work is justifiable. These days, if a game doesn’t ship a million in the first fortnight (thereby justifying a re-order from the publisher), you can pretty much kiss any additional/residual profits goodbye.

  12. 0
    Bill ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    We know what your suggesting Monkey. You want to treat a store different than an individual.

    So if I am a store owner and I purchase a used item to be sold in my store, you say I should pay a penalty to sell my own property? You’re saying that other individuals do not have to pay a penalty simply because the individuals don’t have a store? What has the business done that deserves penalties that an individual hasn’t? Because it buys it’s used games cheap?

    The last time I checked they don’t force you to trade in your games, and you can walk out if you disagree with what they are willing to pay. If you do agree to it that’s your fault.

    Making certain people pay extra to sell thier own property and not doing the same to others is bullshit plain and simple.

  13. 0
    Kyle Gagnon says:

    Also selling back games increases their perceived value at retail. Early adopters don’t really know if the game is any good or not, but knowing that you can sell it tomorrow if you don’t like it for $20. Granted the best trade in value is early on, and the value isn’t THAT great, but I’ve been worried about downloadable games becoming the big thing because that’s $20 value cut out of a $60 title.

  14. 0
    Angelic Praise says:

    Well, in my XBOX/PS2 heyday, I bought used for both systems with the rare occasion of a RPG. Now that I have a 360, I usually buy new.

    One reason is an irrational belief that a used/damaged disk will somehow damage my system. Secondly, surprisingly, there has been a steady supply of RPGs on the system. With the exception of Eternal Sonata and Enchanted Arms, I haven’t regretted buying the games new.

    Now when, I do buy used, it is normally because I am curious about a game but am pretty confident I won’t like it. For example, I purchased BioShock for 20 at one store, played it, hated it, sold it to EB Games for the same 20 bucks. On the other hand, I managed to get a gem at the bargain bins – The Darkness and Crackdown. Those games are a riot. Now, if there was a sequel to either game, I would probably buy it new.

  15. 0
    Zen says:

    So, do we have to pay Ford when we buy a used car, or the original builder when we buy a house from an owner, or anybody originally when we purchase from ebay or a pawn shop? I agree that some games don’t trade in for much, but some of the ones that go down the fastest are the sports games because a new one comes out every single year. I never understood where people thought that every game they bought 3 years ago should be sold for the same price..or (as I see from time to time at my part time job as a Gamestop mananger) wanting more for the games. Plus they make it a bit of a better deal with the game cards because you get a percentage more for the trades and a percentage off of the used games.

  16. 0
    Spectre ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    We need some “proper” trade-in contrast (i don’t know if that is the right word). For example, the popularity of the game, and the disc condition, should be taken into account when determining the value, rather than randomly choose a number.

    I got Two World(360 title) from my friend couple month ago. I don’t like RPG, so I went to local EB games to trade it in. The game is BRAND NEW! It doesn’t even been opened (completely with plastic wrap). The guy at EB games told me it worth 10 bucks. WTF! They can just put this on the shelf and sell it for the normal retailer price (something like 30 or 50).

  17. 0
    Hans Dannik says:

    It’s really not that complicated. When I sell an item to someone, it isn’t mine any more. What the buyer does with it after that is none of my business. I certainly don’t have any kind of a right to “potential sales”, the sales I might have gotten if someone had decided to buy from me rather than buying used what I’m selling new.

    I suppose I could try to make it my business by making part of the purchase price an agreement never to resell the item, either in an explicit contract the buyer and I sign, or a shrink-wrap EULA. If the developers want that kind of perpetual income, they’ll have to pursue such a course. Good luck enforcing a first-sale-doctrine-negating shrink-wrap EULA in court.

  18. 0
    StealthKnight ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Buying used game does not hurt developers or publishers. The thing is that Retailers buy the game from the publisher or developer. If plenty of customers buy the game and there is a lot of demand then the retailer will buy more. If a customer returns a game; it ever mean that they don’t like it, would not buy a sequel, or they want some money. At the worst, used game business does not increase or decrease demand for a game but it can’t harm it.

    The used game industry can only be good for the game industry as it helps get new customers into a series. If they like playing the used game then they are likely to buy a sequel new. As some have said before, it helps rare or unpopular games get new demand in there life time.

    The problem with the Video game industry right now is that they see short term profits, not long term. They prepare only for the short term only which can affect the quality of the game and therefore is more likely to harm a game or the development of a game. Thats why there is always a focus on first day sales and not much focus afterwards. The idea is that they chug it out and move on. Bulletproof is and example of this as a lot of people bought on the first day and sales were good but when word got out that it was crap, the overall sales were not good.

    One of the problems is that companies spend so much money designing games, using the most expensive equipment and wasteful efficacy. Part of that is that we put pressure on them to chug out amazing graphics yet when they make a great game with less then benchmark graphics, we ignore the game and dismiss it. We also promote this bigger is better mentality were they have to go over the top constantly to please us.

    Another problem is that a lot publishers are greedy and want more and more money. The publishers can’t wait to get there money so they determine a products success by how well it sells on the first day. They see gamers as a bunch of sheep that will herd to the prettiest product, so they push developers to produce so many games within a short time frame so they can sell them, The idea is that publishers are putting so many eggs in a multitude of baskets yet one one basket will make it to the customers. One developer will rise in fame yet they will still continue to release games in that rate in order to be a success again. Developers that fail will be cast aside or shut down because they failed to make instant success. If success was determined in the long period then many more developers would be successful today.

    Another problem with the publishers is that they do not actively promote all their games enough. They only chose a few to promote and even then, many only promote on the internet yet rarely in non video-game magazines, TV, or places that are not gaming niches. Not all gamers pay attention to the niches so a lot of gamers can miss out on a game because it was not promoted more wide spread. This goes back to my previous paragraph were a talk about the eggs in many baskets yet only one will reach the customers. It’s a lack of efficient advertising.

    The last problem is the retailers cowardliness to purchasing games. As a person said above, they don’t buy just any game, only the ones that they are sure that will sell. However, I doubt they actively research on this matter but instead, take a wild guess based on the name. That is why retailers will always sell a Sponge Bob game because they know that despite that hardcore gamers may not buy it, casual gamers and parent’s with children will because it is popular on TV. They would be very hesitant to by a game called Opoona because they have never herd of it before and it dos not seem like it will be a good seller. They also probably base there purchase on how big advertising is as they would not want to miss out on something potentially popular. This results in a limited game selection for gamers to chose from and results in many new or unknown developers from getting any potential success. Retailers will not care about the long term as many only care about getting money as fast as possible so only potential sellers will be purchased.

    The whole problem with selling video games is a cycle of fear and uncertainty that they brought upon themselves. Short term greed is the cause of this problem and it is actually hurting them without them knowing.
    Publishers want money, they play the basket game, many developers get hurt, retailers play based on popularity, and rinse and repeat. So it is not the used games industry that is the problem, in fact they are probably keeping this cycle from becoming a complete disaster. This problem is about greed and things will not change unless something is done about it. so the next time someone says used games are the problem, just remember that the used game industry in a scapegoat for the real problem, greed.

  19. 0
    KillianD says:

    In my personal experience, used game sales are only a good thing. I know everyone isn’t like this, but I’m the kind of guy who doesn’t sell stuff once I’ve bought it-I’m a packrat. I keep everything. At the same time, there are games I might check out used that I wouldn’t get new, for example if 1) I’m only partially interested in them 2) I heard some bad things about the game but like the developer/series or 3) I’m short on cash, which I usually am (I’m a college student). I have to pick my new purchases carefully, since good new games usually hit the 50-60$ price mark. I frankly can’t afford that. So I probably treat myself to say, 2-3 new games a year, and after that everything else has to be either used, or long enough after release that the price has dropped significantly. So with used games, the industry gets more business from me than they otherwise would in terms of total dollars.

  20. 0
    Kev says:

    Honestly, used game sales do hurt the industry. It really depends on the deal that the developers have with the publishers but most developers get some type of royalty for games sales. Usually the publisher has to recoup the cost of making the game and then the developer gets a per game sale royalty. But either way the publisher is losing money which means they have less to put towards new games.

    If you are buying used games then only the store gets the profits, the developer and publisher get nothing.

    If you are buying a new game then the money goes to the publisher and in some cases to the developer.

    But having said that I think games are too expensive and I have started buying used games more and more.

  21. 0
    konrad_arflane ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    If you find Gamestop’s pricing practices on buying and selling used games unreasonable, don’t buy and sell used games from/to them. It’s really very simple. If you find buying used games objectionable, don’t buy them. If you find it REALLY objectionable, don’t buy new games from stores that sell used games as well.

    Personally, I don’t see how buying a game second-hand is worse than buying a book, or CD, or DVD. And while there’s a difference in that those products usually have dedicated second-hand stores, I think that’s mainly because, by comparison, the total number of game titles released in a given year is still dwarfed by the number of CD, movie, and (especially) book titles (also, games age more quickly than books due to evolving hardware and possibly improved gameplay/interfaces). Simply put, if you run a bookstore, you don’t want the added hassle of taking trade-ins as well, and if you run a second-hand bookstore, you’ve got enough on your hands just dealing with that side of things.

  22. 0
    JOLeske says:

    I don’t think the law of diminishing marginal cost really applies for the life cycle of a game. If a game is released in January and production of it stops in December the cost to make the box and CD won’t change significantly though that life cycle. CDs and boxes have been being made for quite a few years now I doubt there is a significant drop in manufacturing cost for them over the course of a year.

  23. 0
    Void Munashii ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    So if Gamestop doesn’t have the game then I will go to Target, Best Buy, Frys, Toys R Us, Circuit City, or one of the half dozen other Gamestops around town. As long as it’s not a title aimed at a small audience (like Persona 3 FES, for example) I will be able to find it. I have often laughed when gamestop has tried to convince me that if I do not pre-order some major release (like a Madden, Sims 2, or Bioshock) that I will somehow not be able to find it at the Best Buy across the street on release day.

    They under order because they don’t want to end up like KB Toys who regularly under ordered popular items (not just games) and over ordered crap like “Bad Boys Miami Takedown” which could not be sold even on clearance for $5. That sort of tactic combined with fierce competition from certain big box stores is what played a large part in their bankruptcy.

    I’m not saying I totally condone Gamestop’s tactics, but I certainly understand them.

  24. 0
    Brent hay ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Yah so over all there were 602 units produced and lets say the price of the was 25 dollars a peice. Also remember the law of diminishing marginal cost. Over time the cost to produce the will drop per unit. So they make more on the 602th unit produced then they did on the first unit. That more the make up for the “lost in demand” for the 25 units that were then resold.

  25. 0
    Ebonheart ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ JoLeske

    Let’s say Bestbuy has 50 units of Box o’ Rocks, but 500 people want them (yes I stole the product from VG Cats) now Game Stop has 25 New units and 27 Used Units, Now those used units didn’t appear from no where so the makers got their money.

  26. 0
    Brent hay ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ JOLeske
    Yes and no… if you believe that most people that buy used games do not have the ability to purchase new games then that means that the demand for new games will not change. Because these people are purchase a game that would not other wise purchase one. Remember it gives the game a resell value that will also increase the value of a game and there for demand even on the sale of new games.

  27. 0
    JOLeske says:

    @Brent hay
    It is not a global increase of demand though. If there is resale of the games the demand from the consumer to the retailer may go up because of the used sale discount, but the retailer to the publisher will go down because they don’t need to purchase as many new copies when consumers are purchasing used copies instead.

  28. 0
    JOLeske says:


    Well the point I was trying to make was that the retailer’s reliance on used games is part of (if not the majority) the problem. GameStop and the like purposely under buy, when buying new games. If they are expecting to sell 50 copies they will buy 30 because they expect to get 20 of the 30 back though trade in. So if you are expecting to find a game without preordering you better hope enough people who did preorder didn’t like it.


    Well that was a miscommunication than. We are talking about used games sales so when I refer to retailers I meant retailers that carry used games.

  29. 0
    Brent hay ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    Wal mart doesnt need to sell used games becuase they dont see only one product. To compete with wal mart and best buy game stop need to have some thats mark up is bigger then $1 to 50 cents. Hence used games. But that is 2 ferms and not the whole market. It is better for the market if used games are sold. Basic economics. It effect demand and there for lowers prices over all and that means that marginal revenue and marginal costs will drop. Mean that you publisher will make more per game in the long run. Increase in demand (like the sell of used games) are usually good for business.

  30. 0
    Gray17 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    My point being that several (if not most) of the large retail outlets that carry games, don’t carry used copies of games. Also that places like Wal-mart account for large portions of overall game sales. Yet you seem to be arguing that those places are running on the exact same policy as Gamestop. Which doesn’t really add up when compared to reality.

  31. 0
    Ebonheart ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ JoLeske

    Sorry went on a random tangent. It’s not the used games that are making games hard to find, it’s the companies and not used game retailers that make them hard to find.

  32. 0
    Bill ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ JiLosbo

    The nature of the product doesn’t change weather or not the original creator of the product should get a piece of resale.

    As for degraded value based on usage, the last time I scratched my car the fucker didn’t turn into a brick unlike several games I’ve owned, I’m looking at you Soul Calibur. Just saying. An Items value is based on what someone is willing to pay for it.

  33. 0
    JOLeske says:


    They don’t. Wal-Mart does however only carry 5% of the games made (the 5% there their researchers deem fit for sale). Best buy was seriously considering used sales for a while and I haven’t heard much from that since, that is usually where I do buy my games from because they seem to be the most helpful to developers.

    I don’t really see your point however.


    It is very hard for me to understand what you are saying (not a perspective problem, I just can’t make sense out of your words)

  34. 0

    […] Ah Used Games- go into your local Game, GameStop or local computer game store and next to the New pristine condition releases you find the Used section of game or bargain bin games where people have traded in their games. Apparently Trade in, used games etc are pretty big buisness in the Game Industry: Eric Villain of research firm OTX made his remarks at the MI6 conference in San Francisco this week. From Game Daily

  35. 0
    Brent hay ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    And actually stores make more money off used games then they do new. The mark up for new games if like is less then a dollar. While the mark up for a used games is alot more. The same argument was give for used cars. And we all know that it is being done. It helps a market it doesn’t hurt it.

  36. 0
    Shih Tzu says:

    Buying a used game means that you’re not directly supporting the developer and publisher. If you particularly care about a game, if you want to make sure the creators have an incentive to make more along similar lines, making sure you buy a brand-new copy is the best way to do this. (For instance, if it’s a niche or experimental title, and you like it, buying a new copy will be helpful in rewarding the creators for taking a risk.)

    That said, there isn’t (and shouldn’t) be anything illegal about buying used games. Book publishers have done fine even with their products available (for free, even!) in libraries for centuries.

    Author Neil Gaiman argues on his web journal that libraries are healthy for the book industry, and this might have parallels to the used-game issue as well:

  37. 0
    Brent hay ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    whose responsibility is it to create demand for the product?

    The costumer. Demand in economics defined as is havening the willingness to buy and the ability to buy. So Used games technical increase demand of a product. Because it means the more people can actually have the ability to buy a product. Will publishers can effect demand they do not it create. That is our jobs. If demand is increase then price over all will fall, not raise. Also used games is another way company can compete (price competition) Making better for consumers. (if the economics to scale is not to steep for the industry, which give the number of ferms produceing games that this is the case) This is basic economics.

  38. 0
    Jeff says:


    I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that it was because of used games that made it hard to find. But then this begs the question: whose responsibility is it to create demand for the product?

    If the retailer certainly won’t create this demand then it falls on the publisher. In that case then I would agree that used games made it hard for me to find a copy because it was a failure on the publisher’s part to create the demand for it that would motive the retailer to order more copies to meet demand.

    If the publisher certainly won’t create this demand then it, of course, falls on the retailer. I fully expect the retailer to only create demand for games that they’re sure would sell. Did the retailers expect Valkyre Profile: Lenneth to sell? Don’t know but my guess would be that they didn’t expect it to do well at all. Was it in high demand? Don’t know that either.

    What I do know was that it was hard to find and whether that was because the publisher failed at creating demand or whether it was the retailer failing to see its profitability I can’t say. But right now I’m sailing off on a tangent and I really don’t know what point I wanted to get across in this post so I’ll just leave it as is because I’ve already spent 10 minutes typing this and I’d rather not delete this (thus wasting 10 minutes of my life typing for nothing).

  39. 0
    Ebonheart ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    So, the game biz is getting on “I tis be losing income y0!” (Tongue in Cheek people) Ok let’s bring everyone in whose losing money on venture like this… well thats everyone, why should I have to pay a HIGHER or SAME cost for something used, hell thats why my first car was used.

    The product was made, sold then sold again. Party A sold it to Party B, becoming Party B’s property. Party B sells to Party B.. why should party C pay party A for Party B’s property? Thats the same arguement here, now I understand the arguement of “we be losin incomes y0!” But if you want income for the used product make every company get that and we’ll see how long it takes for someone to go “This fucking sucks!”

    Besides it’s a pain in the ass to find some rarer games, like Armored Core.

  40. 0
    JOLeske says:

    There is a huge difference between a consumer selling to another consumer and the retailer buying from the consumer, then pushing the used copy over the new copy. There is nothing wrong with the first sale doctrine between consumers, the problem is with the retailers that push and rely on used games so much. When people go in to buy a game new, they are pushed to buy the used version at a minor discount instead. It is quite literally a large origination doing everything they can to cut the publishers/developers out of the loop.

    “Another thing the opponents of used games seem to forget is that it’s really hard to pick up certain games new. A game that immediately comes to mind is Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth. A port of a game game that is near impossible to find as it is (unless you look on eBay but that would mean it’s also a USED copy) that, itself, is incredibly hard to find. Were it not for a GameStop carrying a used copy of the game I doubt I would’ve ever found the game at all. The pros FAR outweigh any cons of used game distribution.”

    The reason you couldn’t find the copy of Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth is because of used games. The retailers were relying on the used copies for it’s source and are only willing to buy from the publisher again as a last option (even then only if there is a huge demand for it)

  41. 0
    JOLeske says:

    Used games sales are alright for the consumer. I don’t buy into the argument that used games gets more people to buy games. Getting $3 off buying used could be nice but it won’t be the deciding factor on whether or not they guy the game. if you went out to buy the game from $52 you probably would have went out to buy the game at $55.

    Used games sales are ok for publishers but very bad for developers. I think there is a point that a lot of people are missing. Developers don’t get money for every sale. The publisher gives the developer a loan so they can make a game then after the game is released the only party that gets any of the profits from the game are the publishers. The publishers take all the profit until the initial loan is repaid with interest, then the developers get a cut. For the developers to make any profit on making the game there must be a considerable number of sales. So with the current system new games go out to the retailer, the retailer sells these copies and buys them back to sell the all over again. So after the initial sales are done the publisher made their money back with interest and the developers cut may have started (though very possibly hasn’t). Now however, when people go to the retail markets to buy the game they buy the used copy for the $3 discount, so the retailers are making a huge profit but the publishers and developers are out of the cut.

    A big problem with this is that people have started using retail outlets with trade in as extended rental systems. They go in buy a game (probably used) play it for a week trade it in and buy another copy (probably used) and since there are so many people doing this the retailer never has to buy new games after the initial week. I have seen stores buy only the number of preorders they have listed because they know they can rely on the pre order buyers to sell it right back within a week. The consumers become their new distributors. Have you ever tried to buy a sleeper hit (a game the initially sold poorly but after word of mouth got popular) it is very difficult because the few that were sold during the first week haven’t been sold back at the normal rate so the retailers don’t have stock.


    The used car analogy doesn’t work because cars have a degrading value based on usage. As soon as the car goes off the lot it goes down in value to both the buyer and the retailers because the mileage is going up. Also cars have an average lifespan much much longer then games so the buyer won’t buy a car, use it for a week and then sell it back so the number of times that a car retailers can sell the same copy of the car are much much lower.

  42. 0
    Video Game Otaku ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    And true, Game Stop does rape its prices on used games, both in trade in value and resell, but thats just one company, there are other ways of selling Used Games. so the whole consept of “used games” being unfair or evil cuz of one store chain is unfair. Just my 2 cents.

  43. 0
    Video Game Otaku ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ Monkeythumbs

    Like so many others have mentioned, It really doesnt hold any water. Granted that yes it may hurt the developers a bit, but It could also help them with future installments. If you want to apply that logic to everything then ebay is evil, and so are garage sales and antique shops and rental places… When an indivisual resells a vehicle, movie, toy or hell even an art piece, do the original creators ever see anything as far as profits for thier resold merchandise? No, and besides unless the game is a freakin masterpiece (Like Xenosaga or Star Ocean 2 for the PS1, which still sell for nearly $50 might I add) the value of the game will only decrease and drop drasticly in price, with used games you at least get to spread the word and publicity of a game franchise/developer.

  44. 0
    Dick Ward ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ Vinzent

    Used games are not great for the consumer. At least not from the EB/Gamestop conglomerate. eBay, or any game trading site, will give you true value, instead of 30%.

    Full Digital Distribution would solve my big problem, which is the need to purchase older games and not being able to find them new. Hell, even the Atlus titles released this year are hard to find.

  45. 0
    David Chan says:

    Used game sales are only great for the retailers and the consumers. They do next to nothing for the developer. The idea that somehow an extra set of eyeballs for in-game advertising compensates for loss of a new game sale is laughable.

  46. 0
    Jeff says:


    Thank you for putting into words something I wanted to express.

    The logic behind having to compensate the developers for used games that is being thrown around on here is a little faulty. As you said Bill, they’ve already gotten there money. It’s simply resale by the retailer. If anyone were to lose money on this I would think it would be the retail chain? Funny how that’s simply not the case as it turns out they’re NOT losing money on it and are actually turning a massive profit.

    Another thing the opponents of used games seem to forget is that it’s really hard to pick up certain games new. A game that immediately comes to mind is Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth. A port of a game game that is near impossible to find as it is (unless you look on eBay but that would mean it’s also a USED copy) that, itself, is incredibly hard to find. Were it not for a GameStop carrying a used copy of the game I doubt I would’ve ever found the game at all. The pros FAR outweigh any cons of used game distribution.

    I also feel the garage sale analogy was a perfect way of describing how ludicrous it would be to compensate an industry for something they’ve already profitted from. If someone sells something in a garage sale do you think it would be fair to legally bind them to compensating the manufacturer of whatever they’ve sold from the garage sale? I don’t think so. Why? BECAUSE THE PERSON ALREADY PURCHASED THE STUFF BEING SOLD! The manufacturer has already profitted from it.

    Let me end this by saying that the advantage to buying something new is just that: it’s NEW. Perfect condition, all accessories included, guaranteed to work, etc., etc. There are still MANY pros to buying a game new.

  47. 0
    Void Munashii ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    Any place that deals in used items pays a low amount of money when people sell them stuff. The used book shop that I frequent only pays 10% of cover price for books… mind you, they usually sell for 50% cover price instead of 90% like Gamestop usually does. i personally don’t sell my games back because I like having a large collection, and I don’t feel I’m, getting enough to make it worth my while by selling.

    @ monkeythumbs

    I’m torn regarding the idea of paying the game maker a second time for the game. I can see your point, but then again the used book shop is not giving a cut to the publishers and the used music shop is not giving money to the record companies, so why would it be any different for used video games?

    It sounds a lot like video game companies are asking for special rules for them over other forms of media. If you want me to buy your game new then release a product that I feel is worth $50-60 (Oblivion, GTAIV, Persona 3, etc), release at a lower price (Katamari Damacy, etc), or I have little choice but to demon-shop and wait for a sale, or a good used price. My disposable income is limited, so I have to choose carefully in my purchases.

  48. 0
    Bill ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    Tell me, do you think Car manufacturers should get a little something something when you either sell or trade in your car, or when you buy a used car? I don’t.

    Remember the game developers get their money from the games bought by retailers for resale. They got their money. When someone trades a game in for credit they use the credit for a new game and someone else buys their old game. It’s not like the retailers a pirating these games and selling them.

    If a game is hot and they don’t have enough to satisfy demand with the 3 used copies they are getting from thier customers, they will order more.

  49. 0
    Dick Ward ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I’m really suprised to see anything along these lines. Retail in general is hurting the industry by pressuring against digital distribution. People going for the mighty $5 discount on new release used games takes money right out of the pocket of developers and right into the hands of EB.

    As far as trading in games, I use game trading sites like Switchplanet, Goozex (and I was recently reccomended Playswitch) where I get fair value for my used games. I’d much rather trade a game to another person than a store.

  50. 0
    neoSpider says:

    I don’t oppose used game sales as long as developers and publishers get their share, which is not the case. Proof is the comment by sheppy.

    “I buy the used games when I can’t stomach supporting the publisher. Such as COD4 on PS3…”

    People like you sicken me, even going out the way to abuse this system.

    My two cents as a developer.

  51. 0
    axia777 says:

    Japan all ready tried to illegalize selling used games. It was a utter failure. used game sales will never stop so the industry had better get used to it and make it part of their calculations for the bottom lines.

  52. 0
    Artifex says:

    Well said.

    Re-selling on games doesn’t benefit the original developers at all, and this ultimately leads to a negative effect on the industry. Sure, the developers made money on the initial buy-in from first purchase, but after that, each additional re-sale is another person who didn’t buy an original copy. As cheesy as it is to say this, you could look at each re-sale as lost income for a developer/publisher. If developers/publishers aren’t getting any income from a sold title, then it leaves less money for the development of new games. Less money to go around means more conservative “safe bet” choices on the part of publishers and as a result fewer new IP titles and more of the same sequels are made. I’m certainly not saying that re-sales are killing the industry, not by a long shot, but it does have a chilling effect. If there was an amount (even a very small amount) of income that went back to the original publishers/developers on re-sales, then it would likely lead to a healthier industry as a whole.

  53. 0
    x(wai)x says:

    “I appreciate the trade in second hand games, it allows me to get rid of my old games and to afford new games when I want them.”

    I do this only for games I don’t play and know I never will again, but I appreciate the service for the same reason. Plus, while I prefer to buy games new whenever possible (I’m just picky like that), for older games it’s really nice to be able to go to Gamestop or wherever and see a game on their shelves that isn’t being made anymore.

  54. 0
    Canary Wundaboy ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I appreciate the trade in second hand games, it allows me to get rid of my old games and to afford new games when I want them.

  55. 0
    Josh Jones says:

    The problem with used game sales is that they cannibalize new game sales when sold side by side. However, selling used games certainly does provide a valuable service to consumers, especially when consumers seek out titles that are no longer on shelfs of the big box stores. Many developers have argued that an appropriate solution would be to negotiate a black out period in which used games would not be sold until a fixed amount of time after a title’s release.

  56. 0
    Ragnaar ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    I’m sure UK game developers would still be petitioning for tax breaks. The problem is that that particular copy has already been sold. The developers already got their money for that particular copy. What people do with it afterward is their own business.

    I know this is a terrible analogy, but it’s almost like going to a garage sale or a flea market and seeing these games there. Do you think they give anything to the original creators? And what if the person that bought it decides to turn around and sell it because he’s bored with it? I guarantee he’s not going to be sending a check for that game to the developers.

    Used games do create revenue in the long term, especially with popular game endeavors. If the game is that good, then having new people introduced to the series is a bonus to the developer because I can guarantee you that more people will buy the next installment for retail.

  57. 0
    Monkeythumbs ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Fuck this – if retailers paid even 5% of the retail value of a used gam,e towards the original publisher, UK developers wouldn’t be petitioning ofr tex breaks. Nobody is suggesting that retailers stop selling used games, but some tribute should be paid towards the original creators.

  58. 0
    Delta says:

    Personally I don’t find a problem with used games, I think they are good for the industry, because it allows people to offload games they don’t want, and often someone will be looking for a game someone else is trading in. When I worked for Gamestop last Xmas, I had a lot of guys trade in games I don’t see just anywhere (Ikaruga!) It’s also neat to be able to find a game that they have stopped making new (MvC2). I bought Super Swing Golf 1 and 2 used because the quality is the same as new, and I can get two discounts on used games, employee and card. =)

  59. 0
    Corey says:

    I have a serious problem with some of gamestop’s trade in practices. They buy back practically new games for 10-15 dollars then sell them at 55 dollars. The only time I buy used is for older titles that get serious discounts. I bought Viewtiful Joe not long ago for just 5 bucks. A game I missed on when it first released.

  60. 0
    GD86 says:

    I think that Ragnaar is right. You trade in a stack of games and can earn about 20 bucks towards a new game. Most single games only earn you five bucks of in store credit. The shop can charge around 20 dollars per used. They earn a 15 dollar profit per game traded in and then you need to use that in store credit on something. ON most games up to 15 dollars off don’t cut into the profit margin at least from what I see at the big retail chain I work at. They earn it both ways. But I do have to say there are series I would have gotten into if not for cheaper used game prices and a few recommendations for various sources.

  61. 0
    Ragnaar ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @Void Munashii:

    Yes, used games are indeed a great source of Gamestop profit. That’s because they undervalue the trade-in… but as long as people are willing to part with their old games for what’s often a pittance, then Gamestop will continue to thrive.

  62. 0
    Void Munashii ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I do not buy used games very often because the difference in price between new and used at Gamestop is usually so small that I’d rather get it new, but I do like having the option. If it had not been for used games I likely never would have discovered the Shin Megami Tensei series, which is now my favourite RPG series.

    the only problem with buying used from independant stores is that their used prices are usually out of whack with the price of the game new, often resulting in games that are $20 new in chain stores still being $30+ in the smaller stores.

    Also, isn’t used games the source of much of Gamestop’s profit? I’ve had my issues with them in the past, but i like there being an alternative to the big box chains when it comes to buying games, even if that alternative is still a big corporate chain.

  63. 0
    Robert Gauss ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    The used game trade helps battle piracy by giving those who can’t afford full-priced games a reasonable outlet. I’d bet those that buy a used game are less likely to copy and distribute for the mere reason that it is theirs. It’s very beneficial to those who “missed” a game. It prevents the need for continuous publishing of a game which costs the industry some cash.

    Then there is the obvious truth that video games are raking in the dough even with this used-game selling in the mainstrem.

  64. 0

    […] wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptWhile some game industry types and even the occasional game journalist criticize game trade-ins as harmful to the industry, a market researcher says it’s actually a good thing. As reported by Game Daily, Eric Villain of research firm OTX made his remarks at the MI6 conference in San Francisco this week. From Game Daily’s account of Villain’s talk: We spoke to 2,000 gamers from March 14th to 17th. Is it good or is it bad? For now, it’s actually a good thing. And actually fuels new game sales. Used games are only a fraction of the market.  Gamestop has a phenomenal share of market – again, not a big surprise. We felt really good that a conservative estimate [of the used game market] is about 1.3 billion dollars in 2007. Every game has different [trade-in] curve… Sellers are guys. The buyers are more evenly split, fifty-fifty… What’s driving the retail market is people who are buying […] […]

  65. 0
    Ragnaar ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Used games are, indeed, good for the business. I’ve played some used games before and have been pleasantly surprised enough to pay full retail for other games in the series.

    Also, some people who buy used games just can’t afford new games anyway, but the great part is that they’re not always stuck in that situation, so used game buyers today end up being new game buyers tomorrow. This seems like it would be especially true for high school and college students.

  66. 0
    Monkeythumbs ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ E. Zachary Knight

    “When someone buys a game new, the developer gains one customer. When that customer gets tired of the game, they trade it in and the developer loses a customer.

    Another person buys that used copy, and the lost customer is replaced. The developer comes out even. There is no loss.”

    Ugh. Sure, the developer gets paid when the first customer you mention buys the game new. However (and this is a big “but”), the original developer sees no money for that second purchase, i.e. the re-sale of the game by a reatiler as a used copy.

    You end up with the game being sold at retail (NOT private sale, a completely different issue) multiple times, but the game’s creators only getting paid just once.

    How does that benefit the developers? How can you justify that as being fair? This is not about greed, this is about getting paid.

    All I suggest is that specialist retailers like GameStop in the USA or GAME or GameStation in the UK give a small percentage (like between 3% and 5%). of each resale transaction back to the original publisher, who will in turn have more money to fund the developer. This wouldn’t affect private sale or stuff like eBay – just the bricks and mortar stores.

    Maybe the same should be applied to music and movies if it isn’t already done so, I don’t know. Books don’t count because they’re so unbelievably cheap to create.

    The point is, nobody is saying the used games would need to cost more, or that they should stop. Nobody is saying they are bad or evil. And nobody wants to charge the customer even more than is being done so already. All I’m suggesting is that the specialist retailers share a tiny fraction of their ridiculous resale profits with the creative types that put the stores in business in the first place. How is that wrong?

  67. 0
    JOLeske says:

    Perhaps that’s where we differ then. When I see a new copy of a game for $50 and the used copy of the game at $45 I don’t really think there is a significant amount of people that wouldn’t by at $45 but not at $50. They are just opting for the $5 less copy as a bonus not as a deciding factor.

  68. 0
    E. Zachary Knight ( User Karma: 2 ) says:

    I need to toss my 2 cents out (whatever that is worth these days 😉 )

    Used games do not hurt developers any. There I said it. There is no damage at all.

    When someone buys a game new, the developer gains one customer. When that customer gets tired of the game, they trade it in and the developer loses a customer.

    Another person buys that used copy, and the lost customer is replaced. The developer comes out even. There is no loss.

    The only loss that a developer receives is when the lost cutomer is never replaced.

  69. 0
    Ebonheart ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ JOLeske

    Considering what a pain in the ass it is to find a copy of Harvest Moon for any system new or even used if it wasn’t for GameStop, hell most of my games ARE new, it’s rare I buy a used copy. Hell I think of all games in my console collection let me see 1..2…3…. 3 of 15 games are used. Dead Rising, TimeShift and FEAR Files, are my 3 used copies.

    Now Armored Core, and Profile Valkyrie are EXTREMLY a pain in the ass to find, hell for both I think my local Gamestop has a single copy of each, now from your arguement Gamestop should have walls busting full of them, which means at someone they tons where bought brand new, simply not the case. Also while I’m thinking about it where in the hell is a new copy of Armored Core Nexus?

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