EA: Used Game Sales Represent 'Critical Situation'

By Blake Ellison, Aug 28, 2008 4:00pm PDT Jens Uwe Intat has declared the sale of used games "a very critical situation."

Speaking to GamesIndustry, the Electronic Arts Europe VP denied that the current cottage industry for used games can be compared to the highly developed industries for second-hand cars or books.

"We are actually giving away the rights to play," said Intat, "and if you just pass it on, pass it on, pass it on, that is not comparable to second-hand sales in the normal physical goods area where you have physical wear-out."

On solutions, Intat was vague but optimistic. "We're not going to be overly confrontational [with retailers], we're going to solve it with better, more interesting and online offerings going forward."

Intat echoes other industry leaders in his concern that used game sales are potentially dangerous to publishers and developers, as sales of new games at retail generally make up the sole revenue stream for games. Meanwhile, game retailers like GameStop make significant portions of their earnings from the sale of used games.

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  • Games don't "wear out"? WTF, games age just like everything else. Maybe even more. With cutting edge graphics pushing game updates as far as 5 or 6 sequels, older games taste...old. Plus the physical media breaks, gets lost, gets stolen ... etc.

    Get it straight. Either:

    a) the physical media is valuable and we can sell it,

    OR

    b) the rights to use the media is valuable and we should forever have the right to play the game (or listen to a song) again, even if the physical media breaks or is scratched or stops working. Like, if I buy a game, I have a right to download that game FOREVER. Blizzard has it right.

  • "we're going to solve it with better, more interesting and online offerings going forward."

    Should be interesting to see what they come up with. But, I do wonder if this will just increase the resale value of second hand games. Unless some how they lock the disc to an account, I could see this backfiring. Or at least not having the "extra value" be used in a manor that was intended(resold).

    A question that comes to mind though is: How long do developers/publishers expect a single game to hold value in to a customer? It seems to me that if customer is conformable with reselling a game, eventually and he will. Unless he really likes that game and see value in keeping it. Since that game has value and he can sell it for that value and buy a new game using that money, or trade.