to join the CVG community. Not a member yet? Join now!

EA, Activision war on pre-owned 'odd' - HMV

Vast majority of second-hand sales support new releases, says chief exec

HMV UK & Ireland CEO Simon Fox has questioned the war being waged by game publishers on pre-owned software sales.

"I think it's slightly odd that publishers should somehow think that they have a claim to profit that a customer might make on a second sale," the exec told


"As a retailer all we're doing is providing an intermediary service, just as eBay is, or Amazon is. We genuinely think that actually what it does is enable people to buy new product - and it allows them to trade-in previously-played product to get a credit and put that back into the games market."

He added: "The way we've certainly geared our offer is that it's far more advantageous for the customer not to take cash, but to take a credit that's then used in buying another game. The vast majority of our pre-owned sales are to support new releases."

Fox went on to say that he has some sympathy for publishers, but that it's hard to find a market where the original owner benefits from the future trade of products.

"The fact is, in every case, the manufacturer of whatever it might be makes their profit from the original sale, transfers the IP or ownership to the buyer - and if the buyer then chooses to sell that item, it's up to them. You don't hear book publishers asking for a share of the second-hand book market. I've never heard that. "

A number of the industry's leading publishers have attempted to combat pre-owned sales in recent months by only including access to features like online play in new boxed copies of their games.

EA pioneered the one-time code in the area, implementing its controversial Online Pass across its Sports portfolio.

Ubisoft has publicly supported the idea, whilst Activision has admitted that it wants to "limit the supply" of content in pre-owned games - so that it can take a slice of revenues from second-hand sales.

THQ has been one of the most vocal supporter of the move, having implemented it in UFC and WWE games.

The firm told CVG earlier this year that it believes second-hand sales "cheat" developers out of income.