There has been a great deal of controversy lately over rumors claiming that Sony’s and Microsoft’s next generation consoles will not play used games in order to combat the second hand market. During the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference, GameStop Chief Financial Officer Rob Lloyd took the opportunity to defend the distribution of used games, by stating that gamers would not purchase a next-gen console if it did not allow them to play pre-owned titles.
“I think it’s approximately 60 percent of the customers who have said they wouldn’t buy a new console if it didn’t play pre-owned games,” Lloyd said.
Erroneous belief that the second hand market has led to decrease in sales of new titles has publishers hell-bent on destroying the distribution of used games. For months rumors have spread that both Sony and Microsoft would try and crush such practices by ensuring that their new hardware locked disk to a single console. Sony has since refuted the rumors and stated that they would not implement such policies. Microsoft, on the other hand, has yet to make an official statement; and judging by recent rumors of mandatory installs, it appears that Microsoft will ignore consumer protest, as well as GameStop’s data, and go ahead with one time use on all games. Nevertheless Mr. Lloyd made it clear that pre-owned game sales barely hinder publisher revenues, stating that only about 4% of used games sales came from titles released within past 60 days, and that customers who traded in their games often used their credit toward the purchase of new games. Now this is pretty staggering news given the fact that publishers claim to be hemorrhaging money due to the practices of pre-owned retailers like GameStop.
“It’s really only about 4 percent of our used game sales are games that were games released in the last 60 days,” he said. “Our buy, sell, trade model puts over a billion dollars worth of currency in the customers hands every year, and that currency goes primarily toward the purchase of new games.”
GameStop also appears to have conducted research into the purchasing habits of gamers. They claim that customers do not want to move toward a digital model, and instead want the ability to purchase tangible products. Presumably this is due to the fact that disk can be used on numerous consoles; while digital games are restricted to one console, and therefore cannot be sold or traded back to retailers.
“Consumers want the ability to play pre-owned games; they want portability in their games; they want to play physical games, and to not have those things will be a substantial reason for them not to purchase a new console,” claimed Lloyd.
Ultimately I stand on the side of the consumer, and will not support next generation consoles that lack the ability to play used games. Consumers should be free to buy, sell, and trade their games as they see fit, as a game is a product that publishers have no control over once it has been sold. GameStop’s statistics have shown that the second hand market far from hinders the new game market, and in fact helps it grow by pumping more cash into the hands of consumers. Gamers want to be able to play used games, and developers need to understand that they cannot ignore the wants of consumers without facing severe repercussions.
You can listen to Mr. Lloyd’s presentation here.
What do you guys think? Would you buy a console if it failed to support used games? Let us know in the comments below.