In a recent interview with GameIndustry.biz, Quantic Dream co-founder Guillaume de Fondaumiere claims that his studio lost anywhere from €5 ($6.8 million *) €10 million ($13.6 million *) due to the used games market. He softened the blow by saying that many consumers bought Heavy Rain used because of the recession and because the AAA was just too expensive.
"I would say that the impact that the recession had, especially on AAA games on console, was the rise of second hand gaming. And I think this is one of the number one problems right now in the industry," he told GameIndustry.biz in an exclusive interview. "I can take just one example of Heavy Rain – we basically sold to date approximately two million units, we know from the trophy system that probably more than three million people bought this game and played it. On my small level it's a million people playing my game without giving me one cent. And my calculation is, as Quantic Dream, I lost between €5 and €10 million worth of royalties because of second hand gaming."
de Fondaumiere says that, while he feels bad for consumers who are feeling the full effects of the extended economic downturn, he also thinks that the used games market is making it so that developers will simply have to stop making games.
"Now I know the arguments, you know, without second hand gaming people will buy probably less games because they buy certain games full price, and then they trade them in," he continued. "Well I'm not so sure this is the right approach and I think that developers and certainly publishers and distributors should sit together and try to find a way to address this. Because we're basically all shooting ourselves in the foot here. Because when developers and publishers alike are going to see that they can't make a living out of producing games that are sold through retail channels, because of second hand gaming, they will simply stop making these games. And we'll all, one say to the other, simply go online and to direct distribution. So I don't think that in the long run this is a good thing for retail distribution either."
Of course worst-case scenario, most publishers simply migrate to the cloud or other means of digital distribution to sell their games.
de Fondaumiere goes on to say that a big part of the problem is game pricing and retailers, publishers and developers should get together to address alternate pricing models that work for everyone.
* figure based on the exchange rate of 1.00 EUR = 1.36 USD from XE – Universal Currency Converter