Dyack: Second-hand games are a threat to the industry
Dennis Dyack, the often outspoken boss of Silicon Knights (Too Human, 2008), has spoken out against the strength of the second-hand games market.
Dyack has echoed many of the sentiments voiced by fellow developer David Braben, saying that second-hand games increase the cost of products while reducing publisher and develper profits.
“I would argue that used games actually increase the cost of games,” said Dyack.
“There used to be something in games for 20 years called a tail, where say you have a game called Warcraft that would sell for 10 years. Because there are no used games, you could actually sell a game for a long time, and get recurring revenue for quite a while. Recurring revenue is very key.
“Now there is no tail. Literally, you will get most of your sales within three months of launch, which has created this really unhealthy extreme where you have to sell it really fast and then you have to do anything else to get money,” said Dyack in reference to things like online passes and post-release DLC.
“I would argue, and I’ve said this before, that used games are cannibalizing the industry. If developers and publishers don’t see revenue from that, it’s not a matter of hey ‘we’re trying to increase the price of games to consumers, and we want more,’ we’re just trying to survive as an industry.
“If used games continue the way that they are, it’s going to cannibalize, there’s not going to be an industry,” he added. “People won’t make those kinds of games. So I think that’s inflated the price of games, and I think that prices would have come down if there was a longer tail, but there isn’t.”
Dyack went on to suggest that the answer to the problem likely rests in releasing games through digital channels.