A PS4 developer's unfortunate used game experience at GameStop
Ready at Dawn founder Ru Weerasuriya is the latest developer to speak out against used games. Unlike most, though, he doesn't want to see the secondhand game market disappear entirely. He would rather GameStop, or whatever retailer, give a little back to the developers who are missing out on a potential sale.
“I think the problem is right now there are retail outlets that are really taking everybody for a ride,” he told Games Industry International. “You can’t make a living at the expense of everybody else.” Weersasuriya went on to explain that while consumers are able to get games cheaper, they'll also suffer in the long run because it means "less and less games come out if developers can't get revenue to make more new titles and keep going as a business."
"I think this is something we need to curb on the retail side. We're putting the consumers in an awkward spot and we shouldn't have to," he continued. "Why should they be the ones to deal with a flawed system? They are the guys we do this for. They are the ones who should be able to benefit the most from being able to buy it."
Turns out, even if a consumer wants to buy a game new, retailers will often try shady tactics like offering them the used sale anyway. Weerasuriya recalled a story of how a local GameStop employee attempted to slip him a used copy of a game for less price, rather than sell him a new one.
"I walked into a GameStop, asked for a new copy of a game and without telling me [the store clerk] tried to slip me a used copy and wanted to sell it to me for $5 less,” he recounted. “I flipped out in front of the guy. I was like, ‘Dude, wrong guy... You’re doing this to the wrong guy’... There are developers out there who are making games for [years] and some of them will go down purely because the revenue stream is basically flawed and creating this place where developers don’t see even a little part of it.”
Despite the incident and the problem developers and publishers face as a result of the used game market, Weerasuriya clarified that he doesn't believe used games should be done away with entirely.
"I don't think we should stop used games, but we should do something about getting part of the revenue back from GameStop and places like that," he said. "That's not penalizing the consumers; they'll still get what they want. But I don't know who's going to address it."
Ready at Dawn is currently working on The Order: 1886, an upcoming title for the PlayStation 4. Given the presumable large development tag on blockbuster title, it's no wonder Weerasuriya is concerned with secondhand game sales. As we enter into next-gen, it's expected that development costs will only rise, requiring more new copies of games to be sold just to recover what was spent on development.