On Friday, GI.biz posted an article by THQ boxwallah and industry veteran, Richard Browne, in which he argued that pre-owned game sales were the cause of pretty much every major failing present in the current games industry. From homogenisation to high budgets to weak multiplayer, it’s all your fault because you traded in your copy of Homefront. I perhaps didn’t quite agree with everything he said, and after calmly battering down the doors of GI’s HQ, wrote a response piece.
My thesis to Brown’s antithesis is that it’s the extremely high pricetag on games that means a second hand market is a necessity, and industry attempts to demonise it are motivated by the desire to maintain this. I say things like,
“The attempt to control – or even entirely obliterate – the pre-owned market is an attempt to prevent people from selling their own goods, to interfere with the free market, and to artificially induce massive depreciation of your own products. And when a game costs quite so much money in the first place – £45/$60 – it is no wonder that most people cannot afford to buy all they want at full price. And that is the point. This is a matter of how publishers behave, not what retailers and consumers do with the results.”
And I would highly recommend reading another rebuttal by Chris Kohler over at Wired, where he goes far deeper into critiquing the claims presented in the original article, with some rather impressive evidence-based pwnage.