Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Game Rentals are Killing Developer Sales

Blockbuster. RedBox. GameFly.  All these videogame rental venues have an unfortunate consequence for developers:  they don’t make them any money. 

Used games come at a fraction of the initial retail price.  Once a game is traded into a retailer, it profits no money toward the companies that produced and distributed the game.  All the money for used game sales goes to the retailer.  This is convenient and economically practical for avid gamers, as today’s games are more expensive than ever, and new titles are released multiple times a week.

At $60 plus tax for each new game release, gamers are more frequently trading in old games or renting in order to save some cash.

So, while gamers can save a few bucks by doing this, it’s also providing companies a reason to sell more new copies.

In the past couple of years, downloadable content has become ever-popular.  Games are more frequently being released with “online pass” codes that are only available for new copies. 

Although frustrating for those that can’t afford hundreds of dollars a week in new games, this method of “exclusive content” is a way for companies to generate more revenue while discouraging the sales of used copies.

If consumers can’t afford it, they won’t buy it.  Maybe if games weren’t so expensive, companies would see more new purchases and less trade-ins.