David Braben, founder of Frontier Developments has hit out at the practice of selling used videogames, claiming that it’s “not tolerated by other industries” and that something needs to be done to stem the tide of what he suggests are “essentially rentals.”
“More than half their floor area is dedicated to pre-owned and that is something as an industry we don’t see,” Braben said of UK retail chain Gamestation, who have some great pre-owned prices and good part exchange rates, I must confess. “Those same retailers are only carrying new copies of games from the past few months – if it’s a game that’s been out for two months and you want to buy one from a shop not Amazon and you don’t want pre-owned, it’s very hard,” he explained.
“This is essentially rental, and it’s not tolerated by other industries… Why can we not introduce special ‘for rental’ copies?”
Of course, Braben is right, other industries have zero tolerance on the sale of pre-owned products. Apart from, of course, movies, cars, televisions, clothes, everything you find in charity shops, computers, in fact most home appliances … actually, everything apart from food, although I’m sure you could buy some pre-chewed sausages in some dark corner of the Internet.
Let’s face facts here — the sale of secondhand goods is not unique to the games industry, and it will continue to be part of it until digital distribution takes over, or we no longer run the risk of shelling out fifty quid on a game that could turn out to be crap. Rawr rawr rawr, indeed.