Buyers and sellers alike
One of Microsoft’s selling points of Quantum Break for platform-agnostic people was that those who pre-ordered the game on Xbox One would get a bonus copy on Windows 10 PC. In an effort to bolster its PC gaming presence, Microsoft even implemented a cross-save system where progress can be freely picked up between the two platforms. It’s a fair attempt at breaking Xbox players of the mindset that they can only play on Xbox.
But, that’s not what everyone wants. Some of those who pre-ordered Quantum Break are finding themselves gifted a second copy of the game that they have no use for. So, they’re turning to the second-hand market.
As of this afternoon, eBay has plenty of listings for Quantum Break on PC. Remedy recently confirmed that the first wave of codes would start hitting inboxes on April 12 (which is exactly when mine showed up). Many people immediately turned to eBay to hedge their expenses for the Xbox One version. And, it’s working.
A quick look at the sold listings for Quantum Break on PC shows that codes for the game are going for anywhere between $20 and $40, with a few outliers. But, a good number of them are right around $30 — exactly half of $60, the full price of Quantum Break at retail.
What’s interesting about this is that Microsoft effectively flooded the market by doubling the number of products it’s distributing, and everyone’s better off for it except for possibly Microsoft. Sellers can get half of their investment back by flipping that extra code for $30. Buyers can get a 50 percent discount for buying at $30. Microsoft doesn’t see an extra cent because it’s all taking place on a market that it doesn’t exert any control over.
Obviously, this is something that had to have been taken into account before the introduction of the promotion. It’d be a mighty unforgivable oversight to completely forecast how this could lead to lost revenue. For what it’s worth, Remedy indirectly weighed in on this by saying “We get our share of the game from making it, not selling it, so it’s completely up to the publisher what to do with it after we’ve shipped the game.” (Although, it should be noted that this quote was about pricing in Malaysia, not duplicate copies on PC; however, the sentiment seems as if it still applies.)
There are still benefits for Microsoft, albeit less tangible ones. This strategy introduces more people to the gaming on Windows 10 ecosystem. It also incentivizes some stragglers to upgrade to Windows 10 if they’ve been actively avoiding it. What’s that worth to Microsoft? Apparently the missed opportunity to sell a few more copies of Quantum Break.
It’s easier to put your finger on the benefit to everyone else. They just have to be savvy enough to shop around or sell their wares. Those who do will find that it’s easy enough to chop the cost of Quantum Break right in half.