Take-Two: Quality And Support Can Counter Used Games
Used video game sales are a gigantic market, one GameStop has counted on for billions of dollars in profit, and one in which most major retailers have dabbled.
But big game publishers have voiced their displeasure with the system; they're a little unhappy that they only see profits from one sale, while the retailer can turn around and sell it a hundred more times. And each time, they'll make about a 120% profit based on the trade-in rates and price tags of used games. So, publishers like EA and THQ (and soon, Ubisoft) have sought to combat the problem by discouraging the purchase of pre-owned games through one-time online unlock codes. But Take-Two chairman and soon-to-be CEO Strauss Zelnick doesn't believe in this approach. Quite simply, he says "it's irrelevant to be critical of the used-game marketplace" and that publishers need only produce titles consumers want to keep.
"You don't want to use a stick punishing users for buying used; you want to give them a reason to buy new. You want to create something that's of benefit to consumers."
In addition to making a quality product, Zelnick adds that it's important to support that product down the road, thereby giving the gamer ample reason to keep it. These days, this is done via downloadable content, which can indeed come at a fast clip for the well-supported games. "By letting consumers know there's more stuff to come, it stands to reason they'd hang on to their titles," said Zelnick. Lastly, he mentioned that MMOs aren't part of Take-Two's future plans, saying that the idea of spending $100 million to launch something that might not work doesn't sit well with the company.
"How many MMOs have worked in the US market? WoW and Everquest. How many have been launched? We didn't like those odds."
Well, it's certainly a logical answer to the problem. I'd also like to add that if there were more collectors in this day and age - rather than those who wouldn't mind in the slightest if everything went digital tomorrow, and those who never keep a game they wouldn't play again - it might be a different story. Personally, I keep any game I deem worthy of being in my collection. I play most only once but that's hardly the point. The only time I ever traded in a game is when I was disappointed with it, which wasn't often because I knew what I liked and I did my research.
...but clearly, this is a very different generation of gamers and I'm a dinosaur; part of a dying breed.
11/11/2010 3:01:00 PM Ben Dutka