Second-hand market 'killing single player games' - Braben

Elite creator says prices would be cheaper if the industry got a share of pre-owned

The second-hand games market is killing core gamer and single player titles, according to Elite and Kinectimals creator David Braben.


Speaking to Gamasutra, the Frontier Developments founder said such games have become too high-risk for many studios and publishers to invest in even if they'd like to.

"The real problem when you think about it brutally, if you look at just core gamer games, pre-owned has really killed core games," he said. "In some cases, it's killed them dead. I know publishers who have stopped games in development because most shops won't reorder stock after initial release, because they rely on the churn from the re-sales.

"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 added: "People will say 'Oh well, I paid all this money and it's mine to do with as I will', but the problem is that's what's keeping the retail price up - prices would have come down long ago if the industry was getting a share of the resells. 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."

Braben seemingly has first hand experience of this with Frontier's The Outsider. Little has been heard of the single player open world action title for a long time, although Braben said last January that it hadn't been binned and there was still publisher interest in the project.