And the used game trade debate rages on...
As reported by gamesindustry.biz, Phil Harrison (left), speaking at a London event yesterday, took a moderate approach to the argument over used game trading. Of the issue, the Atari president remarked:
There's no doubt that second hand games sales has a macro-economic impact on the industry and a lot of people get miserable about it.
But it's no coincidence that the most valuable games, the ones that have the most lifetime as a game experience, are the ones that don't get resold, that don't get traded.
The games that have the embedded community, the embedded commerce, the extended, expandable experiences, are the one's that you would never want to trade, the one's you want to keep hold of. And that's perfectly in line with our future strategy so we're not that concerned about it.
Atari CEO David Gardner made similar remarks at the gathering:
Second hand game sales represent consumer choice and desire. Obviously, it has economically been extremely painful for the industry... the publishers don't benefit.
But as games change and they become more and more network centric, the disc in the box becomes only one part of the experience. As that experience grows then it becomes not such a problem.
GP: Although the used game issue brings out the militant consumer advocate in me, I must give these guys a little credit for moderating their comments (unlike Epic's whiny Michael Capps). Both Gardner and Harrison seem to be saying that digital distribution is the wave of the future, so let's not get too frothed up about used game sales now. And they're probably right.
Still, I've ginned up enough working-class frustration while writing this to be annoyed by Gardner's complaint that "the publishers don't benefit" [from used game trades].
Why is that a problem?
Gardner's comment is typical of the greedy mindset of some game publishers, who already got paid when they sold the game to the retailer. The retailer then made its money when the consumer purchased the game. And when the consumer disposes of the game, the publisher wants another bite of the apple? What is this, the Mafia? Everyone in the food chain has to kick back up to the Don?