Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Used Games Triumphant

We've heard a lot of publishers complaining about the used games market, which has been mostly GameStop up to this point. In the past few months word has come out of used game efforts in 7-11 and Walmart, handled through a rack jobber. Now the situation is accelerating, with both Target and Best Buy announcing used game programs. Not great news for GameStop, especially in Best Buy and Target offer reasonably competitive amounts for the buyback.... because instead of just using the credit to buy games, you could be buying all sorts of other things. Flexibility is worth a lot to consumers.

The greater impact is to the console game publishers. Now it's looking like nearly 50% of the retail outlets for video games will be offering some sort of game buyback program. This means even more downward pressure on new game prices, and lower sales numbers since people will have more opportunities to buy lower-cost used titles. It all adds up to a very grim Christmas, with no recovery in sight for sales numbers.

Expect the publishers to respond with more efforts to get money from consumers, like charging for online access or going to subscription models. The development model is also going to be a target; with sales numbers dropping, 3-year development cycles look awfully long and expensive.

It's a great time to be pushing free-to-play games and low cost mobile games... if you have those. If you don't, it's way past time to be putting those together.

I believe that logo up above is on the backs of video game publishers...

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