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Developer Wants License Keys For Console Games

August 3rd, 2008 by Derrick Schommer · 1 Comment

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UK developer David Braben from Frontier Developments believes smaller development studios are in the worse position when it comes to re-sale of “pre-owned” video games. Since a developer only gets their cut of the profits when a game is sold new, pre-owned titles allow gamers to play games without paying the developer for the effort.

This also hurts larger publishers, but they’re able to recover because of the sheer volume of games and game titles. One idea David had, was to code each game with a unique license key like a PC game that gamers must enter before playing. This would kill the ability to re-sell video games back to the market for others to buy at a cheaper price (translation: better value).

The future shows a higher degree of downloadable games, which cannot be re-used or sold back to the market, but for now, developers have to deal with pre-owned video games cutting into their profit. Presumably you could have a great game with smaller sales and a high degree of resale in the pre-owned market.

Problem with this take on development? Besides large scale video game sellers like GameStop making 80% profit margins on resold games (rather than a 10-15% on new), gamers want a way to make back some of their money on expensive titles. When you’re paying $60 for a game and you beat it in a week or two, you want to resell it so you can invest in a future title.

My theory… make games more affordable so we don’t feel gouged on the price. We may decide to hold on to it longer and tell our friends about it. A good game reference and a reasonable price will increase sales every time. Don’t try to solve pre-owned problems when the problem is the publisher and the industry making huge game prices.

(Thanks, Kotaku)

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Tags: Console Games · Editorial

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