Noted Developer David Perry Adds Voice to Chorus of Used Game Whining

March 6, 2009 -

This week's news that Amazon, Toys R Us and Best Buy are all jumping into the used game business apparently got well-known developer David Perry (Earthworm Jim) fired up enough to post a bit of a rant on his blog.

Like many others on the developer/publisher side of the business, Perry seems to feel that used game trades are drinking his milkshake. We don't see it that way. Indeed, quite the opposite. Low cost game buying options help build the pastime.

In addition, Perry has specific trust issues with trade-happy retailer GameStop:

"Sure, [GameStop,] let me go make you exclusive content, let me advertise to send buyers into your store, let me pay to put standees and posters everywhere, so you can sell them used games and stab our industry in the back." Now you've shown that the industry won't stand up to you, everyone else can copy this practice.

Trust me, I know these guys I've been in ALL their offices. I just don't hide, and kiss their behinds...

Where the heck is the ESA when we need them? They should be all over this like a rash. Based on the emails I get, you already have the support of the industry!

At least Perry doesn't seem to want to deny gamers the right to dispose of their used games in some fashion:

The gamers however have the right to sell their games to anyone they like, or trade them. I have no issue with that aspect. I've bought plenty of rare games on Ebay, and I have no problem with Ebay, because we're not doing co-promotion with them. Ebay are not our retail partners.


Comments

Re: Noted Developer David Perry Adds Voice to Chorus of ...

I think this is actually the most reasonable used game complaint I've run across yet. I can completely understand why they don't want to spend extra money on promotions, advertising and so forth when they know GameStop is going to just turn around and shove used games down the buyers' throats.

I think there must be a better way to structure the advertising so that they don't wind up financing GameStop's used game marketing.

Re: Noted Developer David Perry Adds Voice to Chorus of ...

I have never understood this argument, having worked around the buying side of games retail I'm well aware of the type and sums of money that large retailers can ask for over space, adverts and posters within their shops.

 

However they don't pay for the games with the used titles, they don't order 5000 copies of whatever the latest releases is and hand over old copies of fifa to pay (although I know sale or return agreements exist with some retailers)

 

Boo Hoo if your old triple A title gets traded in a couple of weeks after it was released so that little Jimmy can get a bit of a discount on something else.

 

The secret to getting around this has been covered by many other developers; don't make it a game they can easily get rid of.

 

If you create a 4 level wonder where the reviews are bought and paid for, but that lasts 30 seconds and has no replay value what-so-ever then you can damn well expect to see it up for sale second hand within a nanosecond of it going on sale!

 

Look at games like the latest Call of Duty, where (In the UK anyway) retailers are practically begging for it to be traded in.

 

Any developer that claims 2nd hand sales are destroying their business is probably guilty of releasing utter crap in the first place.

 

If it was designed from the ground up to sit and get dusty on the shelf after a week then this problem is self made.

 

Re: Noted Developer David Perry Adds Voice to Chorus of ...

Hes not complaining about trading it, hes complaining that after it's traded in two days after release they put it back on the shelf for $1-$3 cheaper then a new copy and thus "print" free money from that copy. Every 2nd hand resale is free money for Gamestop; that's his complaint.

Re: Noted Developer David Perry Adds Voice to Chorus of ...

If copies of games are making it on the used shelf only two days after the game's release, perhaps the developer should be doing a little more soul searching on why that happened rather than complain about the used market.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: Noted Developer David Perry Adds Voice to Chorus of ...

There's always going to be a few people that buy a game and then return it immediately.  Even with great titles, not everyone is going to enjoy it.  So it's not always the developers fault if their game isn't liked by a small minority.  But it does seem a bit cheeky to put a used game up just days after the new copies went on sale.

Perhaps they could get a casual agreement from the sellers not to put up used copies until a month or two after the offical release?

Re: Noted Developer David Perry Adds Voice to Chorus of ...

Some state has laws that prevent traded games from being put on the shelfs for a week incase the product was actually stolen from someone else.

 

http://www.magicinkgaming.com/

Re: Noted Developer David Perry Adds Voice to Chorus of ...

I know most states have laws like that for electronics and the consoles fall under that law, but I have never seen any law like that for the actual games.

When I worked at EB, we were not allowed to accept any console that hade the serial number removed. We also had to fill out a police report for it and had to hold the console for a week. While were not able to sell it right away, it did give us time to clean them if needed.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: Noted Developer David Perry Adds Voice to Chorus of ...

A handful of people returning a game in two days is not what Duffy was referring to. He was referring to having a lot of used copies on the shelf just days after release. Meaning having more than 25% traded back within the week of release. That was what I was getting at. If more than 25% of the people who bought the game new traded it back in within the week, it's most likely not gamestop's fault.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: Noted Developer David Perry Adds Voice to Chorus of ...

Hoenstly I can't quite decide personally if the resale scenario is bad enough to be an issue or not.

Personally, I've traded in one game. Just one, now granted I know my tastes and pay attention to the game world so very seldom am I caught unawares by the quality of a title. However, given my style of buying the trade-in market discourages me from ever trading in, it's just not worth it unless I made a colassal mistake; and even then I would try to sell it "used" for far more then Gamestop would give me before I relent to them.

But the basic logic is that GameStop is the only one who realllly benefits from the whole thing, and thats what irks the Publishers/Developers the most. The consumer only gets 30% - 50% of the game's price back at best, and GameStop sells them another title. As time goes on they get less and less for a title, but they also pay out less for copies. That's not even factoring in their weighted scale for certain title's and/or game types. Now granted, I'm not knocking the buisness sense here, it apparently works pretty well for them, kudos.

But after considering how interlocked the retailers are with the publishers, and their product doesn't lose value over time like most traditional wear and tear products, I can undertstand why Publishers/Developers are irked by all of this. Not to mention with enough data Retailers could figure out the point where you can buy less New copies due to the amount of turn ins you will receive for resale, once more "betraying" the Publishers/Developers.

Do I have a solution? Not really, but I understand the points and sympathize with everyone's positions. Everyone acknowledging each other's issues with this issue and working together is the only way to solve it. This us against them mentality will not breed useful results in this type of instance.

 

Re: Noted Developer David Perry Adds Voice to Chorus of Used

Sounds like his beef is with the retail partner side, rather than the hwole idea of used games. And I can see his point, they aren't a charity after all.

 

Check out my blog - http://serveratcapacity.blogspot.com

Re: Noted Developer David Perry Adds Voice to Chorus of Used

Yeah, sounds like his beef is more that they put extra time, effort, and money into promoting Gamestop specifically (posters, displays in stores, preorder exclusives, etc.) and then Gamestop reaps the benefits of said advertising while pushing people to buy a version of the game that doesn't make any money for the publisher.

Re: Noted Developer David Perry Adds Voice to Chorus of Used

I think I understand where he is coming from.

He is saying, basically.. "if we are bending over to give you special advertising and merchandicising deals, like we do with many of these people.. don't sell our stuff at huge markups and take all the profit by selling used games".

And while I disagree with the industry stance on used games.. I understand that, sorta.

Having worked in related retail industries, I know that these companies produce massive amounts of stuff and put it in stores free.. at cost to them.

"We never paid any heed to the ancient prophecies... Like fools we clung to the old hatreds, and fought as we had for generations"

"We never paid any heed to the ancient prophecies... Like fools we clung to the old hatreds, and fought as we had for generations"

Re: Noted Developer David Perry Adds Voice to Chorus of Used

I'm confused by his complaint.  Is he saying that he's fine with Used Game sales, as long as it isn't in the same store as New Games?  Or that it should only occur as a part of "auction" or "fleemarket" type websites?

Seems a bit wishy-washy to me.

Ok, I admit it.   I just wanted to use "wishy-washy" in a sentence.

Re: Noted Developer David Perry Adds Voice to Chorus of Used

 Not sure, but i think he just has a problem with used game sales where there is a middleman profiting from it all... As in, the resale profits of a used game should go 100% to the reseller... When you are dealing with something like gamestop, they buy the game from the cosumer for $XX, but then resell it for $XX+Y and thus make $Y in profit... essentially he feels it's wrong for gamestop to be making a profit off of used games... i think that's what's he's getting at anyway

Re: Noted Developer David Perry Adds Voice to Chorus of Used

I suppose that makes sense from the developers' perspective.  To the consumer, we're only thinking about convenience.  To the makers of the games, they're thinking of thier profits.  By having a middleman do resales on a mass scale, it's good for us, it's good for the store, but not so good for the developers of new games.  I can see how they'd feel like they're getting screwed, especially after all the advertizing and promotions they do through those stores.

 
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