The Average Gamer


I think it’s fair to say that most game developers don’t like the pre-owned market. I wrote a piece a few months ago in response to the Heavy Rain’s creator’s comments, which claimed he was losing out on vast profit. This argument was based on the amount of PS3 trophies awarded to gamer profiles against the amount of recorded Heavy Rain sales. I borrowed my brother’s easily accessible copy after he had finished the game, so that’s two sets of trophies right there. Why should I buy the game, unless I had to have a copy of my own?

Game developers and publishers do not make money from pre-owned video games. Everyone knows this. But it keeps the retailers ticking over with profit. If Microsoft decides to do what a recent rumour suggests – disable any pre-owned games for their next Xbox console – this will have potentially severe ramifications on all current video game retailers. The Game group (GAME/Gamestation), who are already seeing profits fall over the years, could well be hit hard by this, due to the size of their pre-owned sections.

Maybe the solution will be to have next-gen Xbox games retail at much lower prices, so they are more affordable for all? Heh, we can all dream. This kind of move, if it is made reality, will make others follow suit, and will only increase the worth of a video game. I expect to see old SNES/Mega Drive prices – remember when Sonic 3 retailed at £59.99? It was half a game! Of all the visual entertainment mediums in the world, video games are the only one to sustain prices across generations for new, full titles. Blu-Rays have gotten cheaper, so have DVDs, and so on.

But where this may or may not harm retailers, what about the consumer? Trading in our beloved once-new games allows us to afford those expensive new titles, or buying pre-owned gives more gaming for your buck. Maybe it’s a simple case, as mentioned above, that you are borrowing your mates’ copy, or there is only one copy in your family household? These latter factors surely must be considered first, if such a bold move were to be approved. If the Xbox 720 has the same profile based system, surely this will lead to more profile sharing (if in one household), unless it registers to a console, of course? This for me would ruin the whole point of the achievement system. I cannot afford to keep buying new titles at full, retail prices, let alone two copies. If my son wants to play the same game I have bought, there is the chance that might not be possible. This kind of restriction could well drive away the very demographic that is being aimed at in the first place.

I for one, hope it does not happen.