Times are hard. The economy sucks, gas prices blow, games are expensive, and yet this fall has seen the release of some of the best titles yet. What do you do?
You travel to your local GameStop and buy a used game.
By now, most of us are well aware of the fact that publishers and developers don’t like the used game market. Resales of used titles results in huge profit margins for retailers, but the people who actually put the time and effort into creating the game never see another dime from it. A lot of possible solutions have been thrown around by developers lately, and I want to take a moment to address the most recent one. Earlier today, Platform Nation’s own Gemini Ace reported on Mike Capps’ recent comments about potentially charging gamers to complete a game. Capps throws out a hypothetical dollar amount for such a service: $20.
It will never, EVER, be that much.
Let’s talk marketing for a minute; a game is developed by one company, published by another, pushed to distributors through agents, distributed by wholesalers like Ingram Entertainment, and sold to consumers like you and me through retail outlets. Each of these entities takes a cut of potential profits. Developers more often than not only make a couple (as in two) dollars off of each game sold. These profits go towards paying off debt from the development process and building capital for creating a new game.
Yeah. One or two dollars. A developer would have to be an incredibly greedy slimeball organization to try to milk $20 straight out of consumers who purchased a used title. If Capps’ scenario does become a reality, then hell will freeze over. Now, that’s not to say that gamers won’t be looking at a possible fee, but expect something more along the lines of $5.
Why not $20? It would be a hellish scenario for retailers, who would be forced to cut down prices on used games to around $20 in order to compensate for the developer’s additional endgame fee. Developers wouldn’t dare screw over companies like GameStop by doing this. Retailers are really the backbone of game sales; even with the gradual adoption of digital distribution for console games looming, most people still want to own a physical disc purchased from a brick and mortar store. Retail merchants serve game publishers fairly well. Most people buy their games from Wal Mart or Best Buy, which don’t even sell used games in the first place.That’s not to say that used sales don’t take a substantial percentage of possible sales from the industry, but don’t buy into the doomsday scenarios.
Bottom line: $20 to finish a game? It ain’t happening.