Used Game Sales Are “Parasitic”, Hurting Industry

Used Game Sales Are “Parasitic”, Hurting Industry
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gamestop_logo.jpgThe GameStop business model is built on the company’s ability to sell used and, in many cases, often piss-poor condition console games. That practice is being slammed in an editorial published today by Next-Gen editor in chief Colin Campbell, who calls the process “parasitic” and writes that it costs the industry $UA 1 billion annually. It’s not necessarily a new sales trend, but one that may be changing, as digital downloads via Xbox Live Marketplace, Wii Ware, Steam and the PlayStation Store ramp up.

Campbell does his best to point out to consumers that “the real losers here are publishers, developers and the non-retail game industry eco-system” otherwise known as the “part of the business that actually generates content.” Is he calling for a ban on used games? Absolutely not, but the quickness with which games become new, then used, may have a big impact on profits going to the right people.

Personally, I haven’t bought a current generation game in used condition, largely because I avoid Gamestop stores like the plague and saving $US 5 on a gummed up disc doesn’t appeal to me. Sorry, but the place amounts to little more than a flea market to me and I’m not interested in giving the company any of my dollars.

What do you think? Is the quick turnaround and minor markdown on used games going to hurt the industry? Are high prices on console games helping to keep this industry in business?

EDITOR’S VIEW: Used Games are Damaging [Next-Gen]


  • well, i don’t know about the rest of you, but i just got home from an EB store in sydney, with Psychonauts, Prince Of Persia: Two Thrones and GTA: Vice City, and all i paid was $25

    i buy second hand games all the time (mainly off friends who have had enough of a game) and have not had a problem once.

  • It is nice to have a place to sell your used games but they give you very little for your game and then sell them at hugely inflated prices (way too close to a brand new one usually – although I have seen EB with new versions that are CHEAPER than the used ones!!). Good idea but only benefits the store unfortunately.

  • The same argument can be used on every consumer item – I guess Campbell has never bought or sold a used car, bought an antique, perused a second-hand bookstore or, heaven forbid, traded an existing house?

    Fact is, you own it, you do what you want with it. With games now routinely about 120AUD how many families can afford that — esp if they turn out to be stinkers (as most of them are)?

    Campbell doesn’t realise this because he doesn’t pay for his games.

  • Jack Black: The games that are sold cheaply secondhand don’t hurt anyone. It is the specific practice of secondhand games being sold for close to full price. Those sales are sales that would have otherwise gone to new games.

    Campbell realises this, and the article even says he is not looking for a ban. It is pointing out just that the stores should not be surprised at the rise of online distribution when they are effectively competing with the games publishers for sales.

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