Codemasters CEO: Used Games Market 'Destructive'

November 16, 2010 -

Codemasters CEO Rod Cousens calls the current used games market "destructive" in a lengthy interview with Gameindustry.biz. Cousens also said that the confrontational attitudes between retailers and publishers is getting "ridiculous." Of course, most of the confrontational attitudes he speaks of have been on the publisher side of the equation.

"Pre-owned isn't actually new... the difference was that it wasn't a significant percentage of the market, and it was never promoted as aggressively through the retail community as it is today," he said speaking in the second part of an interview with GamesIndustry.biz.

"You could argue for the retailer in that context, but also what it's done is kill things like subsequent exploitation in platinum and classics... and it expands the potential for piracy by default. They would argue that prices would suggest otherwise - I would say not, because by the time you get down through the food chain, a thing gets more and more ripped off.

"So my view is that it needs to be managed. I don't believe that retail is going to disappear soon - I also believe that 35 per cent of the world market that doesn't have broadband, and its only access it through retail, is still a significant part to any content creator."

Cousens added that it is possible with a game like F1 2010 that his company could release a smaller game on disc for retail partners, and then follow up with downloadable content as the Formula One season unfolds.

"It's not inconceivable to say that we send out a Formula One game that's not complete - maybe it's got six tracks. Then they have to buy their next track, and you follow it around the world. When you turn up in Abu Dhabi you have to pay for the circuit, and whatever the changes are to the cars that are put through. That, I think, would deal with a lot of it, and also address the pre-owned."

Of course, in releasing a smaller game Codemasters would be wise to lower the price of its games..

Read the full interview here.


Comments

Re: Codemasters CEO: Used Games Market 'Destructive'

This is what irked me about Assassin's Creed 2. It's a good game, but the devs couldn't finish a main story sequence in time, so they released it later as paid DLC. I'm all for expansion packs, but charging more for the campaign of a full priced game just galls me. That does not add value to the game.

All this talk of piecemeal games is really turning me off of their products.

I don't understand what this potential for infringement is. It seems like he is just desperately throwing that out.

Re: Codemasters CEO: Used Games Market 'Destructive'

Remember kinds, buying used games is bad but paying for content that is (or should be) already on the disc is good!

Seriously, fuck that guy! If you make a great game at a great price people will buy it new on day one. The price of buying games used is that you have to wait to play and it may not be in perfect ondition.

Complaining that used sales are hurting your profits is blatent scape goating. And I couldn't care less about their crying.

Re: Codemasters CEO: Used Games Market 'Destructive'

The used book market is killing new books!
The used car market is killing new cars!
The used dvd market is killing new dvds!

These three phrases sound ridiculous. So why is it suddenly ok when we hear "The used game market is killing new games!". I call bullshit. Especially after THQ announced that new games should be $40 instead of $60.

 

Re: Codemasters CEO: Used Games Market 'Destructive'

"Codemasters CEO Rod Cousens calls the current used games market "destructive" in a lengthy interview with Gameindustry.biz. Cousens also said that the confrontational attitudes between retailers and publishers is getting "ridiculous.""

Love it.  No sense of irony.

"You could argue for the retailer in that context, but also what it's done is kill things like subsequent exploitation in platinum and classics..."

Ooh, I don't think he meant to use a word as honest as "exploitation".  Yes, I realize it means something different in business than in everyday conversation, but the common meaning is absolutely apt here: he just flat-out admitted he wants to charge us more for an old game than it would cost on eBay.  I mean, I appreciate the honesty, but I don't think he thought that one through.

"and it expands the potential for piracy by default."

Huh?

I'll grant that some pirate copies exist because people buy games, rip them, and then sell them.  But the way I see it, eliminating the secondary market wouldn't prevent popular games from being pirated, just the ones nobody wants to pay full price for.

Re: Codemasters CEO: Used Games Market 'Destructive'

If anyone finds a copy of Final Fantasy VII at a yard sale for like $5 - $10, let me know.  My son wants it and that's about all I plan on paying for that old game.

Nightwng2000

NW2K Software

http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000

Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Re: Codemasters CEO: Used Games Market 'Destructive'

How dare he or anyone else attack my right to dispose of my property as I see fit, whether by keeping it, giving it away, throwing it away or reselling it to anyone who wants to buy. Look into the face of the abolition of private property. You are seeing it here.

Re: Codemasters CEO: Used Games Market 'Destructive'

1. Make your games cheaper and more units will sale. Don't cheapen the content, instead make an awesome game and sell it for a maximum of $40.

2. DLC is fine and good but if you want to make micro-transactions to increase the life cycle of your product, make them just that. MICRO. Instead of $15 for 3 new tracks, offer the tracks at $1-2 a pop and the DLC will move more units.

3. Reward buyers who buy new. Offer something like half-off all DLC associated with the product if you input a one time use code. The discount will be available permanently for said console that activates it for said game. DON'T punish used consumers by taking away stuff like online multiplayer, just make it nicer for those that buy new.

There is a lot that publishers could do to bolster the new buyers into getting more games, but the biggest step they could take to getting more sales would be to use option 1.

"

Re: Codemasters CEO: Used Games Market 'Destructive'

"1. Make your games cheaper and more units will sale. Don't cheapen the content, instead make an awesome game and sell it for a maximum of $40."

What I don't get is if we can figure this out sitting on our couches at home, why can't the highly-paid CEOs figure it out?

People buy used for one reason and one reason only, because it's cheaper. Make your product cheaper and more people will buy new.

Having said that, there will always be a used market. What am I supposed to do with a game once I'm done with it? Throw it in a landfill? Keep it forever so as not to offend some game company? It's ridiculous to think that no one will ever want to part with a game once they've purchased it. I don't play on-line multiplayer, so once I'm done the campaign I'm finished with the game.

If the cost of a new game were to get down to $20, a used copy would sell for $10, which is still cheaper. But y'know what, I might still buy the new one because a $10 saving (even though it's 50% off) might not sway me. But when I can buy a game that was $60 for $30 three months later, I'll opt for the $30.

Another problem is the rate of game releases. It seems everyone flooded to the trough of video game production and frankly I think it's hurting the industry. I'm just getting around to playing F.E.A.R. 2. Why would I buy Black Ops today when I've got two games I haven't started yet. I might as well buy Black Ops in six or eight months at which point why would I pay $60 new when I can get it for half that used?

Bottom line, the game companies need to get creative and realize this isn't going away. It's so like the music companies. At first they did everything in their power to stop on-line distribution of their product. When they finally embraced it they realized they could make more money. Game publishers need to figure out what they need to do. I'm no marketing genius, but lowering the price and making multiplayer an add-on would be a start. Pay $30 for the game and a one-time $30 for access to multiplayer. They still get their $30, I'll buy new instead of used, and if I did buy used they'd get another $30 out of me if I decided to play multiplayer. Seems simple enough, and the people who want single- and multi-player aren't paying any more than they did before.

Another option would be to lower the price of the product as time goes on. $60 for the first three months, $50 for the next three, $40 for the next three, $30 after that. If that happened I'd buy new.

Re: Codemasters CEO: Used Games Market 'Destructive'

"Another problem is the rate of game releases. It seems everyone flooded to the trough of video game production and frankly I think it's hurting the industry."

I agree with this in a sense. The industry has taken a "quantity over quality" stance on games. Everyone, that is, except for maybe Blizzard. They produce quality or nothing at all. I think the issue is that too many of these developers are pressured by the publishers to create games with broad market appeal as quickly as possible, thinking that this is the way to make profit. I personally frown on the pursuit of profit for profit sake, but I digress. They fail to see the value in filling niche markets of very devout and fanatical fans that they could cater to. These publishers are frothing at the mouth at the idea of riding the next big craze to hit the market and make huge profits rather than creating great works with lasting power that can earn them many loyal fans rather than those that casually look for the next title to blow 20 hours of their life on. It's very much pump and dump to them.

When was the last time you played a good space combat RPG? I haven't seen one since Freelancer. When was the last time you played a game that had a truly transformative experience for you? I haven't felt that since FFVII. The games industry, in my opinion, has devolved into a culture of petty distraction rather than an engaging and inspiring experience. The games industry was a better place when the people who make games were calling the shots more than the publishers. Now, they are just cogs in the machine that is corporate manifest destiny.

-Greevar

-Greevar

"Paste superficially profound, but utterly meaningless quotation here."

Re: Codemasters CEO: Used Games Market 'Destructive'

What a foolhardy and short-sighted response to the secondary market. Consumers won't buy the games at full price on their initial release, so they just release unfinished games and sell the rest of the game through DLC? The first rule of business is to not piss off your customers. Where is this insanity going to end? First, they try DRM. Then, they implement DLC. Now, they want to sell games with missing content in order to kill off the secondary market. It's completely absurd! Every other good has a secondary market, why are games so special? Imagine if the auto makers were crying about used cars being sold instead of people coming to them to buy new. It's absolutely petty.

They sell their games as a physical good and as such the consumer has every damn right to resell it as they see fit. People also have the right to buy pre-owned goods instead of buying them new directly from the original maker. The games industry has no special status in this regard. They want to sell their games as physical products (which they aren't), but they refuse to abide by the rules of the market.

I don't feel the least bit sorry for these people. If you don't like it, either compete or get out. Under no circumstances does that mean to remove all other options. This just further outlines the absolute failure of the industry to understand they can't continue retailing something that never lent itself to the retail model. Find a way to make your money that doesn't involve selling copies. Maybe piracy and second hand markets won't matter anymore? Landscapers don't bitch when the owner sells his land to another person. "ZOMG!!! You just stole potential profit from me!!! I have to tear up your yard now!!" They also don't demand royalties every time someone sees a landscape the landscaper did. They got hired to create something. They did it. They got paid for it. End of story. No copyright and no royalties necessary. The content industry is a bunch of entitled whiners, which is ironic seeing as they call the pirates the same thing. I could go on forever about why we need to get rid of copyright, but it's late and I'm fucking tired.

-Greevar

-Greevar

"Paste superficially profound, but utterly meaningless quotation here."

Re: Codemasters CEO: Used Games Market 'Destructive'

Consumers won't buy the games at full price on their initial release, so they just release unfinished games and sell the rest of the game through DLC?

Reminds me I just bought a used copy of Left 4 Dead on Gamerush and just downloaded Crash Course and Sacrifice packs, lol.

This is the only time I say "fuck the industry". They don´t move a finger when someone tries to ban videogames all over the world, but when someone is buying used games, we are the criminals.

------------------------------------------------------------ My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com

 
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