Last year when JB Hi Fi moved into the second hand software market for games the likes of Sony and Microsoft were not happy. Aimed at competing head on with the likes of EB Games and E Bay JB Hi Fi realised that there was good margin in turning over a game once, twice and often three times. However for vendors the used game market is a source of consternation, confusion, and endless debate as many console makers are losing money on the gaming unit in the hope that they make it back selling games.

According to GameDaily at the recent MI6 conference in San Francisco, Eric Villain, executive vice president of Media & Entertainment Insights at research firm OTX, presented a session with some revealing truths about the video game resale market.

“We spoke to 2,000 gamers from March 14th to 17th,” said Villain. They focused on the resale market. “Is it good or is it bad? For now, it’s actually a good thing. And actually fuels new game sales. Used games are only a fraction of the market.”

Some of the benefits that OTX identified were that used games sales create a larger reach for in-game adverting. They also increase brand equity of some titles. “Consumers of used games are really our core audience,” said Villain, noting that these consumers bought many more games than those who only made retail purchases.

In the survey, 65 percent of gamers said they buy both used and new.


GameDaily went on to say that another element of the study involves how soon a title is sold by its owner. “Every game has different curve,” Villain said, offering the example of Call of Duty 4. At the time of the survey in March, three percent of gamers had already sold their copies of Call of Cuty 4, while 32 percent said they intended to sell the game within 12 months of purchase

Demographic data indicated that “Sellers are guys. The buyers are more evenly split, fifty-fifty.” Sellers are younger, with a median age of 26.

“What’s driving the retail market is people who are buying action-shooter games – RPGs as well,” noted Villain.

When it comes to the console wars, more gamers are buying Xbox 360 games than the PS3 or Wii players. They also own more games in total, because, said Villain, the Xbox 360 has been around longer than the PS3. On Wii “They tend to be less in the used and buying category.”

While a number of gamers sell or trade-in their games, the new-gen consoles all have “keeper” titles too. They predominantly feature social play as an important part of retention, with Guitar Hero serving as a primary example.

For more on this story see GameDaily

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