Silicon Knights head Denis Dyack always has something interesting – and occasionally controversial – to say about the effects of used games. Recently he said in an interview with IndustryGamers that the surge in multiplayer gaming is due mostly to used game sales. The result is due to developers and publishers trying to combat the sale of used games by offering more multiplayer game play and less single-player.
“What’s really happening now is people are starting to say ‘why is everyone pushing towards multiplayer?’ Because the used game sales are hurting the single player experience so much, they’re being forced in because of the economics, not because people who are doing single player games are saying, ‘We really want to do multiplayer’,” he said.
“It’s just a survival thing. That’s why I think cloud computing and all those things are really going to do well for the industry. It’s going to take some time, but I think it’s an eventuality. I think there’s a statistic I saw that most of the boutique retailers are making more money and more sales off of used games than they are off of new games. Those companies are posting record profits and the publishers and developers are laying people off. That’s a very, very, very big problem in our industry.”
Dyack also believes that large retail chain like GameStop are turning to digital distribution because the used game industry will eventually make it so retailers will no longer be a viable company for publishers to work with.
“They’re probably very serious about survival,” he continued. “I think, the cannibalization that they’re doing in the used games market, there have been many people in the industry saying they’re just pushing the accelerator faster to the brick wall. You’re getting guys like us saying we cannot survive under this model. Something has to change. So they’re looking at that and probably going, ‘Oh crap they’re right’ … and so I think they’re looking to survive.
“And just to be clear, the changes that we’re going to see with cloud computing or digital downloads are not a matter of how does our industry be more swarmy and make more money. We’re talking about survival. Literally survival. How does our industry survive. When those types of economics start coming into play, you’re going to start seeing that paths of least resistance.”
Of course, Dyack also believes that his company is entitled to profits from Gears of War because Epic didn’t support Unreal Engine enough when his company was developing Too Human..