Attack of the Fanboy

Innovation stymied by greedy retailers says The Order 1886 developer

by William Schwartz


Despite consumers being unwilling and unready to give up pre-owned games, developers are still quite vocal about the negative impact that pre-owned policies at retailers are having on the games industry. In a recent interview, Ru Weerasuriya of Ready at Dawn lobbies for shops like GameStop to pass on a percentage of their take on pre-owned games to the developers to make up some of the perceived lost income on the transaction.

Consumers will see less and less games come out because developers won’t be able to afford to make them

Right now, pre-owned tactics being used by retailers are hurting both the consumers and game developers in the long run. “Retail outlets are really taking everybody for a ride,” said Weerasuriya. “Unfortunately, they’re not just making a living at the expense of developers but also the consumers because the consumers will see less and less games come out if developers can’t get revenue to make more new titles and keep going as a business.”

Despite this developer sentiment that is likely shared by more than just Weerasuriya and Ready at Dawn, Sony and Microsoft are both allowing pre-owned games at the console level. Pre-owned is obviously here to stay for the next generation, with consumer backlash forcing Microsoft to change their policies on used games just weeks ago.

“I don’t think we should stop used games, but we should do something about getting part of the revenue back from GameStop and places like that. That’s not penalizing the consumers; they’ll still get what they want. But I don’t know who’s going to address it.”

Unfortunately, it isn’t usually the businesses that lose out on things like this. If and when somebody loses, it’s usually the paying customer. Weerasuriya’s game, The Order: 1886 saw a positive reception at E3 2013, and is due out for the PlayStation 4 at an unannounced date.

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