Dev calls pre-owned games a larger threat than console piracy

Piracy is looming over consoles each day, but one developer says it is not the biggest threat to game developers but rather pre-owned games are. Lost revenue as a result of pre-owned games is indeed becoming the bigger problem, Blitz Games Studios co-founder Andrew Oliver has told Develop.

“Arguably the bigger problem on consoles now is the trading in of games,” Oliver said. “I understand why players do this, games are expensive and after a few weeks of playing you’ve either beaten it, or got bored of it so trading it back in to help pay for the next seems sensible when people are short of cash.”

Publisher and developer royalties are practically quartered according to Oliver, pointing towards data which suggests games get traded in as many as four times. “So while retail may be announcing a reasonable season, the money going back up the chain is a fraction of what it was only a few years ago. This is a much bigger problem than piracy on the main consoles,” he said.

Oliver sees a future where publishers will only push harder for digital distribution, either in the form of a complete of downloadable content, if the pre-owned trend continues. It begs the question as to whether or not initiatives like EA’s recently announced pay-to-play Online Pass will catch on with other publishers.