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Braben sticks knife into secondhand games market

'It's killing single-player titles'

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Elite co-creator and Raspberry Pi backer David Braben reckons the secondhand games market is detrimental to the development of core-gamer and single-player titles because most retailers won't give them long-term sales support.

"I know publishers who stopped games in development because most shops won't reorder stock after initial release, as they rely on the churn from the re-sales," said the Frontier Developments founder in an interview with Gamasutra.

"It's killing single-player games in particular, because they will get pre-owned, and it means your day one sales are it, making them super high risk. I mean, the idea of a game selling out used to be a good thing, but nowadays, those people who buy it on day one may well finish it and return it."

Braben claimed the price of new games would have come down a long time ago if the industry was getting a share of the revenue from used game sales.

"Developers and publishers need that revenue to be able to keep doing high production value games, and so we keep seeing fewer and fewer of them."

Publishers may have attempted to tackle the issue with online passes for multiplayer content, a move that devalues second-hand titles with a large online focus. But as story-centric content rarely translates well to multiplayer games, the industry has seen a decline.

High street retailer Game, renowned for pre-owned titles, arguably suffered as a result, by relying too much on a market that publishers are fighting hard to eliminate. Ironically, if the retailer had thrashed out a deal to share second-hand revenue, the market may have just kept it afloat. ®

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