Used Games Will Doom the Industry Says Silicon Knights Head

You’d be hard-pressed to go one month without hearing the head of a studio or publisher decry the used game market and its effects on the industry. This time around it’s Denis Dyack, head of Silicon Knights doing the decrying. He says used games are not only taking money from the coffers of the people who make them, but that the secondhand market is increasing the price of new titles at retail. He attributes a lot to the fact that games will be more expensive to produce in the coming generation.

“People once again are saying we’re going to have development costs that are two or three times of what they were last generation,” he told GamesIndustry International. “I cannot see how that economy is going to continue.”

He goes on to say that the used games market is cannibalizing the industry itself, saying developers and publishers need to see revenue from the secondhand games market in order to continue. Part of his solution? Digital distribution.

We need a system with recurring revenue and that’s why I think digital distribution is going to play a big role in things to come,” he said. “That’s why I am still very big on cloud computing.”

So would those rumors of Microsoft’s next console ditching physical media altogether alleviate those concerns? Who knows. Heck, maybe the guy’s right and GameStop will be the death of the video game industry, just like the VHS killed Hollywood and cassettes doomed the music industry. Maybe.

Join the Discussion

  • john mercado

    the gaming industry is just making excuses just for having 100% of profit without investing more money.

    • And why shouldn’t they have more of the profit? They’re the ones that spent months, sometimes years, developing the game, and poured hundreds of thousands, if not millions, into the game. Yet after all that work, they only see a real profit for a handful of months because Gamestop and the like shove used sales down the throat of everyone who walks into their stores taking the money that should have gone to the developer.

  • Anonymous

    Nice article. I’m gona be very simple and “layman” about this.

    Would it make sense if I said that from what Denis Dyack said about the predicament. Is that it’s not necessarilly the Games Industry that’s screwd just perhaps This Generation. Do you see what I mean?

    In comparison to PS2 era there were TOO MANY titles, publishers, devs to choose from. Only with the increased price of hiring more expensive engine licenses, tech and polishing to crazy ends does it start to go out of balance and hence it all merges into financial troubles.

    Instead of seeing new IPs we’re seeing franchises. Genres are either merging or having to call themselves something else to appeal to different audiences.

    The only thing I can so far see is disbalance in the industry. It’s a bit like they’re trying to attempt everything instead of focusing on roots? Or something the developer would know really well, initially.

    Does it make sense?  

  • Kriven

    There is a ridiculous amount of bullshit in this article. Nobody is losing money on used games sales, just like nobody is losing money on pirated media. People who buy used games likely would have never bought the game new at full retail price anyway. The only affect the used game market has on developers and publishers is brand exposure, and that works to their benefit.

    Head out of ass, media developers. Stop arbitrarily raising prices.

    • “likely would have never” is nothing else than an educated guess with no factual base.

      It’s called “missed revenue”. It’s a rather large topic in any marketing class. And no, the “brand exposure” doesn’t even come close to make up for it. Games already have a ton of brand exposure. They don’t need further “help” from Gamestop (and even less from pirates lol) there.

  • Anonymous

    One of my concerns about the eradication of ‘used’ games, is the availability of limited release titles. If a title has a limited release, and you don’t purchase it close to when it is released, you could likely never get to play that game.

    That has to affect sales. But perhaps it is acceptable loss for developers, publishers, and retailers. Is putting Gamestop out of business more important than souring consumer opinion? I think it’s a douche move and as we see with Capcom, fans don’t take kindly to developer and publisher BS.

  • Wait until the auto industry catches on!  Then they’ll need to see revenues on their used cars.