Healthy retailers make for healthy game industries, after all
Electronic Arts CFO Blake Jorgensen has admitted that his company would be quite happy to see the back of the used game market. While that’s a hardly a surprising sentiment, the executive did raise an eyebrow with an honest appraisal of the situation, and a confession that secondhand sales aren’t all bad.
“It’s one of these classic double-edged swords,” admitted Jorgensen in a Gamasutra interview. “In one way the used game business has been critical for the health of the retail channel, and having a healthy retail channel is an important thing for us.
“Would we like to sell everything at full price and not have a used game market? Sure. But I think the used game market’s a little like any other kind of market where it creates liquidity. The fact is, that liquidity benefits us in some fashion. So if someone goes in and trades in a game, there’s a good chance they’re going to buy another one of our games. And so if there’s a liquid market, I think that that’s not a bad thing at all.”
I never thought an EA executive would echo my thoughts to the exact letter, but this guy nailed it. As a long-time supporter of the used market, I’ve spoken at length about how the long-term benefits of the used market, and why it’d be short-sighted foolishness to destroy it. In an infuriating world full of short-sighted imbeciles who unequivocally paint used games as a blight, it’s nice to see someone — from EA of all places — demonstrate a nuanced thought on the topic.
On the topic of rumored plans by Microsoft and Sony to cut out the used market entirely, however, EA’s chief financial officer had nothing to say.
“I can’t really comment on where the next generation boxes are going to be relative to used games. I will say that the trend in the business is to have that always-on connectivity and connect with a customer, and to the extent that the software identifies a certain customer is going to create some issues going down the road in the used game market. But I do believe that the consumer likes it, and it’s been good for the retail channel.”
If systems cut out used games entirely, it will simply be bad for the console industry. That particular sector is already a total shitshow right now, and alienating customers who rely on trade-ins to accrue credit and buy new games, and killing opportunities for gamers to introduce themselves to your potential franchises via low-risk secondhand investments, would be blind idiocy of the highest order. I don’t think the console market can afford to do it, no matter how much some developers believe it’d be the answer to all their problems.