The Games Industry

Last night I was playing the new FIFA street demo and I really enjoyed it…for a little while. It’s a fun game but I cannot see myself buying it. The same goes for the new SSX which is great craic but both have all the depth of a paddling pool and the longevity of a 1990s Mike Tyson fight. Now am I going to spend €50 on either of those games? Not a hope! I will however pick up FIFA street by trading in a game or two and I’m sure lots of others will do the same. When I’m finished with it il trade it in for my next title and so on.

I have been working in the games industry for 7 years and I feel I have seen big changes in the way it operates. The industry is struggling at the moment, like everything else I guess, and retail are having to shoulder the burden while the Publishers sit in their sprawling mansions sipping champagne beside their gold plated poolside bar. Now these ludicrously wealthy company’s don’t want you to trade in your games because it is us, at retail, that see profit from the sales of those pre-played games and they are completely cut out of the loop. I say fuck them.

It is down to the publishers to drop the RRP if they want my sweet sweet cash. There is no way I am paying €49.99 week after week and month after month to play these games. I am unwilling and unable to do that. Publishers want pre-owned dead, that is a fact, but if that happens it will be disastrous! Think about it…over the next 4 weeks there are 5 games I want.

3rd March – SSX
9th March – Mass Effect 3/SF x Tekken
16th March – FIFA Street
30th March – Tiger Woods 13

That would cost me €250 this month alone, that is NEVER going to happen! How would I be able to afford that and be able to afford to go out and fail at chatting up women?!! Single life is tough!

Now I will at some point pick all of these titles up…by buying one, playing it, trading it in and adding whatever amount (maybe 10€) to get the next one…and so on. If we are unable to do that then the publishers will fail to shift those units and then you will have a much bigger problem on your hands! What happens when you need to buy up more warehousing to store your mountains of crap!

If you keep the RRP that high then trade in prices will remain high and trade ins will continue. I remember putting a price sticker on Madden NFL 06. The sticker read “€74.99” at the launch of the Xbox 360…I will never forget that. 74.99 was too expensive back in the boom and you best believe 49.99 is too expensive now. AAA pricing is a dead duck.

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Think about the 2011 “holiday season”. From August this was the run in of AAA games…

Deus Ex
Driver San Francisco
Dead Island
Gears Of War 3
Batman Arkham City
Need for Speed: The Run
Battlefield 3
Uncharted 3
Modern Warfare 3
Zelda Skyward Sword
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations
Saints Row 3.
Mario Kart 7.
Super Mario 3D Land.

I have probably left a few out there but you see my point and that’s just naming the big titles. Think of all the casual crap that came out beside these games. Then again, if you are stupid enough to buy in to that “casual, party, fun fun fun fun with Granny” side of games then you are a knob and hopefully the publishers enjoy your money.

Do you really expect people to pay for all of those games? People don’t think the way you do. We don’t pick one publisher over another even though you seem to force us to with your marketing, see Battlefield v Call of Duty! Nobody gives a rats ass! We hardcore gamers want all of those games so stop pricing us out of the market! I can spend 99c in the app store and get a better game than most of the crap out there…priced at 50 bucks!

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How about this. RRP is €29.99? I would much rather pay that. Trade in prices will plummet as a result and people will be much more likely to pay the price while hanging on to a game they don’t want to trade in the first place! It’s not rocket science. Killing pre-played is in your hands but we both know that would be a disaster for the industry as a whole. Pre-played is vital.

This has all been brought on by the launch of PS Vita. To be fair it sold well but with zero attach rate in my experience. The hardware sold but I have sold 1 vita game outside of the original purchase…1 game. It’s the same price as the PS3 and Xbox 250gb! Madness. The games are priced as AAA for a portable system! Madness! Nuts to you Sony, il just download 99c and free games for my phone if I want to play games on the bus!

And don’t get me started on Digital sales of games! If that happens we might as well all go down to the dole office right now and let our customers play with sticks and a tyre. Digital = zero trade in = no sale. Wise up Jack.

So that’s my opinion on AAA pricing and Pre-played games even though you didn’t ask…but that’s what is all about isn’t it?

I was talking to a good friend of mine on twitter about this the other night and it seems we have very similar opinions on this. He works for a competitor of mine but it’s cool, we still talk and send Christmas cards to each others mothers because we are great guys. I got him to email me his feelings on it and here they are!

The games industry is a funny thing, you have some of the biggest entertainment franchises in the world coming from the games world, billions are made every year for the big publishers, your EAs, Activisions and Ubisofts of the world clean up with AAA titles.

As long as I have worked in this business there has always been used, Used works, sure you have the people out there who will say “Oh it’s not worth the 3 or 5 Euro on the AAA titles when they come out” but to be honest this is where us retailers hands are tied, see for us to give a fair price to the customer we need to charge a close to new price. Now again people argue you do not give enough but if you go out in the world with your used clothes and used furniture I bet you won’t make back near what you paid in fact, you end up giving it away.

This is where the consumer is spoilt, they EXPECT the value for the games they are no longer using, although before the idea of trading came along you would be stuck with all these titles after you finished them unable to trade and save. But in this world we all live in trading and games go hand in hand, it has become part of the business. But not a part the publishers want, Why? Well that my friends is simple, they don’t get paid by you buying used games, what they may fail to notice is that you may not buy that New EA or Activision game if you could not trade your old game for it.

So Trading, Used and New become this cycle that the games industry needs but does not want. I know I will not walk out and pay 49.99 for a new title, I would much rather wait til a cheaper used copy comes available or I will trade the last New Release I bought and used that to reduce the price. I like to think this is how any intelligent person does things. But now the big guns are unhappy with the Billions they have been making and they think if they can kill the Used business with Online Passes they will make even more money.

This is not how the world works, you take Lil Billy….Lil Billy is not from your average family has an younger brother and sister. He loves gaming, but you know what, times are tough, so Lil Billy gets older games, he gets them cheap and used, because Lil Billy or his parents can not afford to buy upto 54.99 for the latest game, what they can do is wait til the new game is a few months old and pay about half the price it was when new,trade in his old games and everyone wins except the publisher, who make no money here. Now you take Lil Billy’s world where used games don’t exist, Lil Billy doesn’t get that game because he can not trade his old games and he can not afford the brand new copy, nobody wins and …..the publishers make no money here. So that world without used is pointless. I don’t think AAA pricing will ever change because trading helps sustain that higher price. But what won’t change is a publish who likes money.

So there you have it. The opinions of two lads in the games industry even though you didn’t ask, deal with it. Cheers Mark!

Your welcome,


About thecityfathers

We sit around all day stroking our beards, clucking our tongues and discussing what's to be done with this Homer Simpson
This entry was posted in Are you serious Bro?, Fun in Retail, Games. Bookmark the permalink.

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