You read that number correctly: two biiiiiiiiiiiiiilion dollars!
Gamasutra has reported that used games will account for two-billion dollars of GameStop's revenue for its fiscal year ending January 31, 2009, which would be 23 percent of the company's overall revenue. This is up from 1.6-billion dollars, 22.4 percent of the overall revenue, from the previous year. The information comes from Pacific Crest Securities.
Even though it's only a .6 percentage increase, this is still a serious amount of money we're talking about. When you factor in the current economic climate and the growing resentment of used-game sales from publishers and developers, the number is tremendous. The fervor over used games is sure to grow.
The issue actually came up, unsolicited, in two recent conversations I had.
Just last week I was talking to a high-ranking executive at a major publisher that was impatient for broadband speeds and proliferation to grow so that retail sales could be eliminated entirely. I told him that it would probably take longer than he'd like, since Internet service providers are currently experimenting with bandwidth caps and love the idea of charging for tiered services. Another marketing person from a well-known publisher has said that his company is working on software solutions that would make reselling games impossible. He wouldn't give me any further details, but it sure sounded ominous.
On one hand, I absolutely believe that the consumer should be able to do whatever the hell they want with their purchased games and have the option to buy used games at a lower price. On the other hand, GameStop clearly games the system. On yet another hand (it's awesome having three hands), I feel bad for developers that depend on royalties, since they receive nothing from used-game sales. Ultimately, I'm going with the Ralph Nader route of siding with the consumer on this one.
In the last few months, I've written about a publisher hating used-game sales and a developer pointing out their benefits. Since we're all learning and evolving, I wanted to ask you (again) how you feel about used-game sales. A lot of you have complained about GameStop gouging customers, but how do you feel about buying used games on eBay or a similar service? How many used games do you buy in a year? Have you been buying more used games because of the economy?