Used Games Hurt Game Quality?

As Recession Deepens, Used Games Get More Painful on Gamasutra is another analysis of used game sales, quoting developers and industry analysts expressing more of the now-familiar consternation over the impact of pre-owned game sales on the industry. The article quotes a survey suggesting these sales will increase, saying: "According to his survey of 2,000 gamers earlier this year, one in four buyers who hadn't bought any used games in the past year says they plan to buy a pre-owned game in the next 12 months." Significantly, that survey was conducted before the global financial crunch hit, so the numbers quoted could be an underestimation. One of the developers quoted heavily in the report is Frontier Developments' David Braben (Elite), who takes issue with used games, saying: "What the used games are doing is forcing publishers and developers to incur bandwidth costs for updates and support at least twice -- once for the game's first owner, then again for the owners of the used versions." There's also a portion excerpted separately where Braben claims that used game sales are a disincentive for quality: "Five years ago, a great game would have sold for a longer period of time than for a bad game -- which was essentially our incentive to make great games, but no longer. Now publishers and developers just see revenue the initial few weeks regardless of the game's quality, and then gamers start buying used copies, which generates money that goes into GameStop's pocket, nobody else's." Following up on that, they cite research indicating that single-player and action games drive the resale market, while games with a multiplayer component tend to be held onto the longest.