Ah, used-game sales -- one of the most polarizing facets of the gaming business. In general, consumers love that used games are available and publishers universally loathe the fact. This week's used-game hate comes from Atari, which had not one, but two executives proclaiming that used games are evil. Ars-Technica quotes Atari CEO David Gardner as saying:
"Obviously, it has economically been extremely painful for the industry...the publishers don't benefit."
Atari president Phil Harrison also chimes in:
"There's no doubt that second hand games sales has a macro-economic impact on the industry and a lot of people get miserable about it."
I strongly disagree that "publishers don't benefit" from used-game sales. That's just garbage. Certainly the publisher doesn't benefit as much, but it still gains brand awareness and valuable marketing, as well as an opportunity to sell downloadable content. Developer Soren Johnson recently listed several positive aspects of used-game sales. Gardner also dismisses the benefit to retailers and consumers when he says that used games have "been extremely painful for the industry". That's just a narrow and publisher-centric view. Every publisher needs retailers to perform strongly. Every publisher needs consumers that know their games. Used games do very well for outlets like GameStop and they also allow customers to experience games they otherwise could not afford.
Hmph. Atari has me all grumpy now. All the coolness it gained by partnering with Q Entertainment has been negated by the comments above. (I'll get over it by Monday.)