For years game developers and publishers have been trying to come up with a way to gimp the second-hand gaming market. PlayStation LifeStyle has an interesting article where the Quantic Dream’s CEO (Heavy Rain) asserts that the used game market cost the developer over a million units in missed royalties.
This is all according to Quantic Dream CEO Guillaume de Fondaumière, who said that, by judging PS3 trophy stats, they can see that a million people who didn’t pay, played the game.
From a pure black and white perspective, that is true. You could also assert that in general gamers didn’t appreciate the game even with all the critical acclaim Heavy Rain received with the majority of mega sites. Look at the Metacritic score and you will find the user rating is significantly less than the critic rating: 6.7 (1300+ user ratings) to 87 (100+ critic reviews).
I could guess what happened next, but it would be just a guess. While I did buy the game on release day, I may not have without all the pre-hype buzz that showed Heavy Rain as a potentially different experience, which as I have written many times, draws me into a game. I want new and different experiences.
For many gamers, and I put myself in this category, it all comes down to value – if I am on the fence, I will wait until a price drop. If I don’t think a game is worth the full original MSRP (usually $49-60 depending on the publisher, with some Move games starting at $39 and Greatest Hits titles clocking in at $29.99), I wait until the inevitable price drop.
I will disclose that I never by second-hand games for currently support consoles. This is a personal preference, and it also has to do with my software development background. Like I said, personal choice, but I also wait for sales, price drops, etc.
PSN Pass – Embrace The Trend
EA and now Sony (PSN Pass) are now offering one-off use codes for online play. I believe this trend will be adopted by more and more publishers as a way to curb second-hand sales.
One possible side effect may be the return (or at least the demand for) better single player experiences. This console generation has certainly seen the rise of online gameplay focus, which is fine if you have a ton of gaming buddies, join clans (or whatever the cool kids call clubs these days), or do not mind playing against random opponents. Color me different. I am an older gamer and really do not enjoy random gaming jaunts and the vast majority of my friends gave up on gaming long ago to concentrate on family and career aspects of their life. Yes, growing old sucks on a lot of different levels, but I refuse to grow up and I am starting to digress.
At any rate, embrace for more and more one-off included codes for special content, including online play, some of which may be required to complete a game.