Heavy Rain Dev Says Pre-Owned Sales Cost it Millions

Logan Westbrook

Transform, Roll Out, Etc
Feb 21, 2008
17,672
0
0
Heavy Rain Dev Says Pre-Owned Sales Cost it Millions

Used game sales are one of the biggest threats to the videogame industry, says Quantic Dream's co-founder.

Quantic Dream co-founder Guillaume de Fondaumiere says that the studio lost millions of Euros in royalties to people buying pre-owned copies of Heavy Rain. He estimates that three million people played the game, but Quantic Dream only saw money from two million sales.

"On my small level it's a million people playing my game without giving me one cent," de Fondaumiere said. "My calculation is, as Quantic Dream, I lost between €5 and €10 million worth of royalties because of second hand gaming." He said that pre-owned sales were one of the biggest threats to the videogame industry as a whole, and one that would affect everyone from developers, to retailers, to publishers if it wasn't fixed.

de Fondaumiere thought that the loss of money from triple A titles would eventually make them unprofitable, and - as the industry isn't a charity - they would simply disappear as a result. If this happened - or if publishers went the "download only" route - then retailers would obviously suffer as well, as one of their biggest revenue streams dried up.

"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 said. "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." He said that there was a case to be made that games were too expensive, and he thought that there was a price point that would make everyone - from the consumers to the publishers to the retailers - happy.

The rest of the industry would seem to agree with de Fondaumiere's assessment of the threat posed by pre-owned sales, as multiple publishers have started incentive schemes to try and get people to buy their games news. Some of them are carrots, like offering additional content for new customers, and some of them are sticks, like forcing pre-owned customers to pay extra for multiplayer.

However, as much as de Fondaumiere might want it to be so, just lowering prices isn't going to fix everything. As it stands, the amount of money a retailer makes on a used game is significantly higher than the amount it makes on a new one. If the industry is serious about tackling used game sales, the going to have to make that not be true anymore, and that's a really tall order. Sure, cutting prices would help a little but it would really only be treating the symptoms and not the disease.

Source: GamesIndustry.biz [http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2011-09-12-quantic-dream-we-lost-and-8364-10m-on-second-hand-heavy-rain-sales]


Permalink
 

StriderShinryu

New member
Dec 8, 2009
4,987
0
0
Excellent to see a developer actually attach some numbers to this obvious yet debated issue. It really is something that needs to be addressed on a much deeper level, and it will likely include some cooperation on both the dev/pub side and the retail side.

Of course, I think a lot of what Heavy Rain in particularly experienced is because of the type of game it was. When you create a completely cinematic game with little depth or reason to replay, you're automatically going to be at the mercy of the predatory used market.
 

Logan Westbrook

Transform, Roll Out, Etc
Feb 21, 2008
17,672
0
0
Alright, a little bit of mathematics here:

3 million people played the game.

Only 2 million played it new.

Therefore, 1 million played it used.

Therefore around 1 million people would likely have traded it in.

Therefore, half the people who bought the game new decided to trade it in for another game.

Your're right there's a problem there. Make a fucking game good enough that half the people who buy it don't want to sell it fucking on. Don't go bitching about what certain people 'owe' you when you quite clearly couldn't make a game that kept people's attention!
 

Generic_Username

New member
Dec 16, 2010
153
0
0
StriderShinryu said:
Excellent to see a developer actually attach some numbers to this obvious yet debated issue. It really is something that needs to be addressed on a much deeper level, and it will likely include some cooperation on both the dev/pub side and the retail side.

Of course, I think a lot of what Heavy Rain in particularly experienced is because of the type of game it was. When you create a completely cinematic game with little depth or reason to replay, you're automatically going to be at the mercy of the predatory used market.
Little depth of reason to replay?
Was I the only one who actually played it over and over again because of all the endings/trophies?
 

adamtm

New member
Aug 22, 2010
261
0
0
Tough shit. I dont see car manufacturers whining that half their cars get bought pre-owned...
 

StriderShinryu

New member
Dec 8, 2009
4,987
0
0
Generic_Username said:
StriderShinryu said:
Excellent to see a developer actually attach some numbers to this obvious yet debated issue. It really is something that needs to be addressed on a much deeper level, and it will likely include some cooperation on both the dev/pub side and the retail side.

Of course, I think a lot of what Heavy Rain in particularly experienced is because of the type of game it was. When you create a completely cinematic game with little depth or reason to replay, you're automatically going to be at the mercy of the predatory used market.
Little depth of reason to replay?
Was I the only one who actually played it over and over again because of all the endings/trophies?
I'm guessing that you were probably one of the few who did, yes. If the used numbers are as high as reported here, it seems obvious that many people were A.) getting tired of the game mighty quick and trading it and/or B.) seeing the game for what it was and looking to get the experience as cheaply as they possibly could because they didn't deem it worthy of a new copy purchase.
 

StriderShinryu

New member
Dec 8, 2009
4,987
0
0
adamtm said:
Tough shit. I dont see car manufacturers whining that half their cars get bought pre-owned...
That comparison doesn't work. Used cars and used games are not the same, and neither are the industries behind them.
 

Mr.Amakir

New member
Jun 2, 2010
241
0
0
Why don't you make more games for PC where pre-owned sales are pretty much nonexistent? Oh wait, piracy.
 

XT inc

New member
Jul 29, 2009
992
0
0
Again we have a situation of " At least it isn't me" ism, where who ever it be used game reseller or consumers will be the one getting another hand in the wallet, while the other one shrugs.

Sure as a consumer I hope it is the resellers end who If need be Kick up the cash to these broke developers. Instead of being the one who has to swallow expensive dlcs, subscriptions and project ten dollars.

And in the end they way they milk their bloody games it is still cheaper to buy used, subscribe, and then buy the dlc, instead of paying 70 bucks, being told you are given 10 dollars worth of content, Which is debateable, and they pay for the other third of the games content over 6 months for another 30-70 bucks.

The value just isn't there. I've yet to see games with any real staying power, and I personally just don't want to spend 150 bucks in total for a game I might invest a couple hours a week on and off for half a year.

Besides as stated above, those used games came from somewhere, so At least a million people thought, hey I payed 70 bucks for this game and Eb games, Gamestop, Game will give me 7-12 bucks for it. Those prices are why I never sell my games to them, but A million people said it was good enough to get rid of the game for.
 

Catchy Slogan

New member
Jun 17, 2009
1,933
0
0
I think it may put more people off spending money on a new game, if they don't have that 'safety net' of being able to trade it in and get some of thier mony back if they don't like it. Not everything comes with a demo.
 

-Axle-

New member
Jun 30, 2011
49
0
0
StriderShinryu said:
adamtm said:
Tough shit. I dont see car manufacturers whining that half their cars get bought pre-owned...
That comparison doesn't work. Used cars and used games are not the same, and neither are the industries behind them.
Fine, use books.

The two industries are highly alike, yet you don't hear book author's complaining about used book sales or how they're losing money to people sharing books amongst each other.
 

Logan Westbrook

Transform, Roll Out, Etc
Feb 21, 2008
17,672
0
0
What needs to be done is pretty freaking clear. It's not the fault of the people buying the used games. You cannot blame people who're just looking for a legal bargain. What we need to do is force shops like Game or Gamestop in America, to still give a portion of any profit made from a game back to their respective companies. Like some sort of royalty. Obviously they aren't buying the games from them, but it could easily be made a legal requirement that they track any games they are given on trade in and are forced to send a percentage to the games publishers.

In all fairness this would probably mean that you would get a very small amount money when trading a game in and there wouldn't likely be as good bargains to be had. And that could kill the second hand business any way.
 

sapphireofthesea

New member
Jul 18, 2010
241
0
0
My issue is, you play a game and finish it. What do you do if it is then useless, throw it away and add to the rubbish of the world. If pre-owned games stopped 1 million CDs getting tossed that is great and means that those Cds will be floating around for many many more years.
While it seems more dickish, a better angle to go would be to gain some profit from the resale as well somehow (and not through DLC, cause that will eventually stop and make future use of the CD impossible, thus fueling pirating), maybe by extending the royalty to include pre-owned sales but at a reduced gain.
My reason for this is, in 10 years I might feel like (as people do now) the desire to have another gander at red faction or some other game and I will pop the CD in and find it doesn't work and there is no longer any place to get it. Yes it is a small amount but take the idea of EA going under, you just bought a big title that needs their server to be up and guess what, it will not be up for another few months. Or your internet is playing up so you go play a game to pass the time but all of them NEED an internet connection.

There is a way around this issue but it needs proper thought and for people not to assume everything will work 100% for 100% of people.
 

-Samurai-

New member
Oct 8, 2009
2,294
0
0
Estimated 3 million? Where did that number come from?

You can't throw out an estimate when it comes to used games and expect to be taken seriously.
 

drummond13

New member
Apr 28, 2008
459
0
0
I can see how developers don't like this, but this is reality. You can't eliminate people selling their used games.

But if he thinks that used game sales are going to make games "unprofitable", he's just being ridiculous. Used games are nothing new, and the gaming industry is still turning profits.
 

eniac0

New member
Aug 3, 2010
18
0
0
The issue is pretty new on its own and already I am sick of hearing developers whine about it. not that i don't agree with them. It must really hurt to see someone else earning your money, i feel for them, really, but at the same time, its tough luck, its the nature of the gaming business in 2011.

i've always been a fond believer in offering people solutions based on how they use a product. Don't try to tell people how they should be using your product, instead, find a way to make it work for you.

If Heavy Rain dudes wanted to cash in on the used sales, they'd find a way to let people sell them their license key, could be done online, then re-sell these keys to new people for a lessened price. game could be mailed or downloaded. and that's only one example, im sure other people could be more creative.

Bottom line is, its the publisher's job to find a way to harness that new income source, otherwise, somebody will do it for you, like EBGames.
 

Zhukov

The Laughing Arsehole
Dec 29, 2009
13,768
0
0
This just in: libraries and second-hand bookshops pose greatest threat to printing industry.
 

GonzoGamer

New member
Apr 9, 2008
7,063
0
0
Wait...
You mean after playing a game that was all QTEs, gamers didn't want to play it... AGAIN?
That is really surprising.

Devs have to stop blaming gamers for trading in crappy games they never want to play again. They've got nobody to blame but themselves.

I'm really getting tired of hearing their non stop bitching on the subject, especially while at the same time they're trying to force us into their online-pass and pre-order gameplay content schemes; not to mention that most games aren't even worth $60... at least without spending another $30+ in dlc. They're only encouraging me to buy even fewer games and I always buy new.
 

Avae

New member
Aug 26, 2011
30
0
0
Well too bad, somebody buys a DVD with a copy of a game on it then decides to sell that DVD containing the game, it really isn't anyone elses business because it's private property.

Make the games cheaper or just rent out the disk to people.

Private property doesn't just extend to corporations and business.
 

-Axle-

New member
Jun 30, 2011
49
0
0
eniac0 said:
The issue is pretty new on its own and already I am sick of hearing developers whine about it. not that i don't agree with them. It must really hurt to see someone else earning your money, i feel for them, really, but at the same time, its tough luck, its the nature of the gaming business in 2011.

i've always been a fond believer in offering people solutions based on how they use a product. Don't try to tell people how they should be using your product, instead, find a way to make it work for you.

If Heavy Rain dudes wanted to cash in on the used sales, they'd find a way to let people sell them their license key, could be done online, then re-sell these keys to new people for a lessened price. game could be mailed or downloaded. and that's only one example, im sure other people could be more creative.

Bottom line is, its the publisher's job to find a way to harness that new income source, otherwise, somebody will do it for you, like EBGames.
Wow, someone gets it.

I would only argue that its not a new issue / challenge. Used game sales were around forever, its just that now you have everyone and their grandmother selling used games.