THE BUZZ: Interim DICE CEO, and Battlefield 3 executive producer, Patrick Bach has offered his thoughts on the rumors of banning used games with next-gen consoles.
“Yeah, I heard about that. I think that can be a win and a loss,” he told CVG. “I think it’s a loss if it only means that you will be able to get fewer games for the same money. But in theory you could see it in the other way, because a lot of companies making games today are struggling based on second-hand sales.”
He believes that banning used games would result in a more diverse range of new IPs being created:
“So if you think that there are too few new IPs on the market, no one can take that risk if their game is at risk of being resold too many times. Therefore you see a lot of online games being the most popular. You mentioned that you feel like a lot of [online shooters] have the same formula and this is one of the reasons, which most people seem to not realise.”
“So on the positive side you could see more games being created because of this, and also more new IPs, because there’d be a bigger market for games that don’t have for instance multiplayer. There could be awesome single player-only games, which you can’t really do these days because people just pirate them, which is sad.”
“From a gamer perspective, if you want to buy as many games as possible then this could be a problem, but if you want more diverse games then it’s a more positive thing than negative. The only thing I know is that people are not doing it to be evil and stupid, it’s about trying to create some benefits for consumers.”
EGM’s TAKE: It’s a difficult decision. Used games play a major part in video game sales. Without them some people simply couldn’t afford to buy a lot of the games that get released and would probably end up only paying for a few every year. This would increase competition in the market greatly as games vie for those sales. It would give investors more incentive to pump money into new IPs, as there would be less risk of a game being repeatedly resold, and more imaginative games would need to be created in order to capture interest. An overall lower price of games may be required in order to ban used games, without this sales would fall.
However, publishers seem to be ignoring the intangibles. How many players are introduced to games through used sales, game sharing and renting? If a player hasn’t played a Call of Duty game and decides to pick one up a used one, it could result in increased sales for the next COD installment down the line. Publishers have become creative when figuring out how to make some extra money from used game sales. Things like online passes and DLC work well. Although it’s nice to think that this could result in more original IPs, it could also kill some of these ideas. If people have to pay more to get their favorites like Madden and Assassin’s Creed they will have less money to buy titles they don’t know anything about.
Overall, we have to come down on the side against this idea. Yes, used game sales affect publisher’s profits, but it’s a very complex issue. It should not be equated with piracy, which is another topic entirely. At the end of the day, however, a used game sold equals increased awareness for the publisher and the brand, which is a benefit not to be minimized.
Should used games be banned? Let us know in the comments below.