There's no denying that second-hand games dig into the profits of developers, but just how bad is it? Citing statistics that suggest games are traded as many as four times, Blitz Games Studios' co-founder Andrew Oliver says used game sales cut publisher and developer royalties by as much as 25%. That figure, while far from scientific, is staggering.
In fact, Oliver believes the impact of second-hand sales is a "much bigger problem than piracy on the main consoles." He acknowledges the appeal of such transactions however, saying that games are expensive and after a few weeks of playing, players have either beaten the title or grown bored of it, so trading it in to help pay for another seems sensible.
Oliver believes the damage caused by the pre-owned business is pushing game companies toward digital releases – be it the full game or extra content. This comment comes as EA prepares to block second-hand games from online access unless new owners pay $10 for an "Online Pass." That paywall will exist in forthcoming EA Sports titles and if successful, will presumably spread to other genres.