It’s no secret that the video game industry loathes the success of used game sales. Publishers have attempted to entice gamers to purchase new copies with exclusive, one-time use DLC codes, but it seems like many prefer saving a few bucks and go the pre-owned route. The one beacon of hope companies have in this arena is the success of digital distribution. You can’t sell used digital content, right?
Well, perhaps you can. GameStop, a titan in the used games market, is currently researching ways to distribute previously owned digital goods, according to a post on GameSpot. “We’re interested; it’s not a meaningful business yet,” GameStop CEO Paul Raines was quoted as saying. “Right now we’re not seeing that as a huge market, but I think we’re on the leading edge.” Despite not seeing it as a “huge market,” Raines said that talks have occurred between GameStop and companies with the technology to make used DLC sales happen.
My question is this: how much money can one expect to make by selling GameStop the copy of Torchlight they bought for $3.74 during the Steam Summer Sale? The sporadic digital content sales thrown by places like Amazon, GOG and Steam could potentially take away most of the profit the company hopes to make through used sales. A more important worry is how this will affect the independent game developers that fully rely on digital distribution for income. To me, these two things are the biggest flaws in GameStop’s plan.
It will be interesting to see how this one turns out.