Denis Dyack Blames Used Games For Upsurge in Multiplayer Game Content

May 30, 2011 -

Silicon Knights head Denis Dyack always has something interesting - and occasionally controversial - to say about the effects of used games. Recently he said in an interview with IndustryGamers that the surge in multiplayer gaming is due mostly to used game sales. The result is due to developers and publishers trying to combat the sale of used games by offering more multiplayer game play and less single-player.

“What’s really happening now is people are starting to say ‘why is everyone pushing towards multiplayer?’ Because the used game sales are hurting the single player experience so much, they’re being forced in because of the economics, not because people who are doing single player games are saying, ‘We really want to do multiplayer’,” he said.

“It’s just a survival thing. That’s why I think cloud computing and all those things are really going to do well for the industry. It’s going to take some time, but I think it’s an eventuality. I think there’s a statistic I saw that most of the boutique retailers are making more money and more sales off of used games than they are off of new games. Those companies are posting record profits and the publishers and developers are laying people off. That’s a very, very, very big problem in our industry.”

Dyack also believes that large retail chain like GameStop are turning to digital distribution because the used game industry will eventually make it so retailers will no longer be a viable company for publishers to work with.

“They’re probably very serious about survival,” he continued. “I think, the cannibalization that they’re doing in the used games market, there have been many people in the industry saying they’re just pushing the accelerator faster to the brick wall. You’re getting guys like us saying we cannot survive under this model. Something has to change. So they’re looking at that and probably going, ‘Oh crap they’re right’ … and so I think they’re looking to survive.

“And just to be clear, the changes that we’re going to see with cloud computing or digital downloads are not a matter of how does our industry be more swarmy and make more money. We’re talking about survival. Literally survival. How does our industry survive. When those types of economics start coming into play, you’re going to start seeing that paths of least resistance.”

Of course, Dyack also believes that his company is entitled to profits from Gears of War because Epic didn't support Unreal Engine enough when his company was developing Too Human..

Source: IndustryGamers by way of VG247


Comments

Re: Denis Dyack Blames Used Games For Upsurge in ...

This has always been my mind.

A) If used/pre-owned games were really harmful to the developers/publishers, there's plenty of said developers/publishers that would have gone under years ago. *CoughEACough*

B) The developers/publishers already have made their money as soon as the game hits retailer's shelves. Retailer buys it from the publisher. Retailer sells for a little bit more than they bought it. That's how most retailers work. So whether that copy of Black Ops sitting in a Wal-Mart display case sells or not, Activision already made their money off of it.

If you go to Gamestop and there's a new and a pre-owned copy of L.A. Noire on the shelves. Guess what? Rockstar already got their money from both copies, whether they sell or not.

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Re: Denis Dyack Blames Used Games For Upsurge in ...

Yeah yeah, it's always attributed to catastrophe de jour (aka whatever it is consumers are doing that game publisher don't like). First it was piracy, now it's used game sales.

Re: Denis Dyack Blames Used Games For Upsurge in ...

Here's a quick summary of the article, all articles like it, and what people like Dyack actually think:

"It's everyone else's fault but mine."

-- Randi Tastix

Re: Denis Dyack Blames Used Games For Upsurge in ...

Oh, the irony of that comment.

Re: Denis Dyack Blames Used Games For Upsurge in ...

 

EXEC A: "People keep trading their games in, resulting in a used market far greater than that seen in other media. Why do they do this? "

EXEC B: "Well, amongst other things, many of which are broadly out of our immediate control, they say that games don't last long enough. They get bored of it quickly and want to get rid of it."

EXEC A: "Interesting. So if we solve that particular issue, that of longevity, we can make people not want to trade games in by making a better product they will want to keep hold of."

EXECS NOD IN AGREEMENT

EXEC A: "Ideas?"

EXEC C: "Adding a multiplayer mode is a good way to create longevity. Look at Call of Duty, people play that for ages"

EXEC A: "Fair enough, we'll do that."

TIME PASSES

DYACK: "The above happened"

GAMERS: "WAAAAAAAAAH NOW WE HAVE TO PAY FOR THINGS WHY IS THE EVIL VIDEOGAMES INDUSTRY ENGAGING IN A VAST CONSPIRACY TRYING TO TAKE AWAY OUR RIGHTS WAAAAAAAAAAGH"

/b

 

Re: Denis Dyack Blames Used Games For Upsurge in ...

Umm.... yeah.

I think people are complaining about people trying to take away the rights to sell their property.  People aren't complaining about their rights being taken away with multiplayer.  That's just silly.

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: Denis Dyack Blames Used Games For Upsurge in ...

I work in the industry and I've gotten a bit of flak for my opinion.

My view is that companies ARE getting a cut from the used game market.  Do you think that the latest COD sold so many copies because everyone could afford $60 for a new copy?  There are a lot of people out there who can't afford to pay for it so they make up the difference with trade ins.  I would even say the majority of people use trade ins to pay for some of the cost of the new game.

That trade in IS our cut.  Without that trade, it's a lost sale.

------- Morality has always been in decline. As you get older, you notice it. When you were younger, you enjoyed it.

------- Morality has always been in decline. As you get older, you notice it. When you were younger, you enjoyed it.

Re: Denis Dyack Blames Used Games For Upsurge in ...

>Do you think that the latest COD sold so many copies because everyone could afford $60 for a new copy? There are a lot of people out there who can't afford to pay for it so they make up the difference with trade ins.

The problem with that argument is that ultimately it's a little short-sighted- work backwards from that point. If games cost 'too much', then what upwards forces are there on games prices that make them $60?

For example, a post above points out that used games are generally only about $5-10 less than the new price, and this is frequently pointed out by many to be almost pure profit for the retailer. With that in mind, where is the incentive for the retailer to lower the price of a new game below $60, when they can continue to sell used games at $50-55 and hoover up high-margin sales because they're fractionally cheaper?

Supply and demand are also major factors in the price of a commodity- games that are difficult to find command higher prices (As an example, Radiant Silvergun on Saturn goes for upwards of a grand) than those there are a lot of copies of (Wii Play can be found for about a fiver without even trying). With that in mind, if a retailer knows they are going to sell 20 copies of Game X lifetime, where is the incentive for them to buy 20 copies at wholesale and sell them at a sensible price, when they can buy ten, sell them at an inflated price, wait for six or so to come back, sell those used at an inflated price, wait for three of them to come back and so on? What effect does this have on a publisher's ability to spread the cost of development more thinly across a number of units, increasing wholesale prices and squeezing retailer margins?

Yes, there are other reasons that game prices might be high, but then those above are the most relevant, at least to this discussion.
 

/b

Re: Denis Dyack Blames Used Games For Upsurge in ...

 No, what they feel they're entitled to is money from the sale of used games.  I can't think of another industry that works that way.  When I sell my Toyota, unless it's to a Toyota dealer for resale, Toyota isn't getting a cut of what I get for it.  Where they get this sense of entitlement is beyond me.  Perhaps they should lower the price a bit and sell the multiplayer keys seperately.  One, I get to save a buck because I don't play online with the morons out there and two, they could quit worrying about DRM and simply worry about who's got a valid key.  

My opinion, YMMV.

Re: Denis Dyack Blames Used Games For Upsurge in ...

>No, what they feel they're entitled to is money from the sale of used games. ... Where they get this sense of entitlement is beyond me.

No, they don't, they didn't get it from anywhere as they don't have it.

All that's ever been said so far from the games industry on the subject of used games and money is "People are buying that product, we would like people to buy this product instead, how do we get people to do that?"

To continue your analogy, it's no different- at all- to Toyota saying "Perople are buying Fords, how do we get people to buy Toyotas instead?"

/b

Re: Denis Dyack Blames Used Games For Upsurge in ...

All that's ever been said so far from the games industry on the subject of used games and money is "People are buying that product, we would like people to buy this product instead, how do we get people to do that?"

You've clearly not been paying attention to what's been said.  There's been a lot of interviews talking about how the used game market is "cannibalizing" the game industry, or complaining about how there are sometimes used copies on the shelves the same day that a game comes out.  Of course, someone had to have bought those games new in the first place, so the developer already got money for those copies, but somehow that little detail is slipping by in all the "used games are killing us!!!" doom and gloom.

And then they're using that as justification for things like single-use codes in the game box for content, in a direct attempt to lower the second-hand value of the games and extract additional money from people who bought their games used.

And since Ford doesn't rely on people buying Toyotas and selling them off at a loss in order to get their stock, your analogy doesn't really work at all.

Re: Denis Dyack Blames Used Games For Upsurge in ...

Do cars only have one month to make the bulk of their sales and be considered succesful? Are used cars widely available within this extremely limited window? 

Re: Denis Dyack Blames Used Games For Upsurge in ...

Dunno. Do car companies sell you a car at full price but don't tel lthat that it doesn't include seats and seatbelts and that you have to pay extra for those?

Re: Denis Dyack Blames Used Games For Upsurge in ...

That implies that DLC is a necessity, without which the product would be incomplete. You could have said that DLC is akin to a CD player, a sunroof or built-in GPS.

Re: Denis Dyack Blames Used Games For Upsurge in ...

Re: Denis Dyack Blames Used Games For Upsurge in ...

Yeah they want money for the games they made, how greedy of them. 

Re: Denis Dyack Blames Used Games For Upsurge in ...

They want you to give them more money for selling a product you already buy to them. How is that not greedy?

If you make a sandwhich and you sell it, would you like the companies of every ingredient you used charged you for the sandwich you sold?

 

Re: Denis Dyack Blames Used Games For Upsurge in ...

On a topic beset with false or tortuous analogies, this is unquestionably the worst I've ever seen. Good job.

Re: Denis Dyack Blames Used Games For Upsurge in ...

Because your interpretation for used goods market is so awesome, right?

Re: Denis Dyack Blames Used Games For Upsurge in ...

"they want money for the games they made"

They *got* money for the games they made, when the customer bought it from them.  What they want is to prevent that customer from ever being able to recoup any of the value of the item by selling it to someone else.

Personally, I think that if they're going to drastically alter the value of the games they sell by killing the used market, they're going to start having a more difficult time selling at typical prices.  Even if someone never makes use of the used game market, that market still has an influence on the perceived value of the games.

Re: Denis Dyack Blames Used Games For Upsurge in ...

>Personally, I think that if they're going to drastically alter the value of the games they sell by killing the used market, they're going to start having a more difficult time selling at typical prices.

So what you're saying is that if the used market went away, game prices would be lower?

/b 

Re: Denis Dyack Blames Used Games For Upsurge in ...

I'm saying they should be lower.  I'm not under any delusions that they actually would be lower, however.  At least, not until sales started hurting even worse than the "hurt" they imagine the used game market is causing.

Re: Denis Dyack Blames Used Games For Upsurge in ...

If used games is hurting the 'single player experience' and causing a shift towards multiplayer, then why is the Online Pass specifically used to unlock multiplayer for used copies?  What he's saying makes no sense.

Re: Denis Dyack Blames Used Games For Upsurge in ...

Because not everyone buying single player games are connected online, whereas 100% of people of buy games for online multiplayer will have online connectivity. 

Re: Denis Dyack Blames Used Games For Upsurge in ...

That's not interesting so much as it is idiotic. They're trying to find all sorts of ways to say that the used game market is the devil.

Re: Denis Dyack Blames Used Games For Upsurge in ...

I love how the publishers think that if a $10 used game isn't around that someone is going to magically pony up $60 for a game, I really do.  If I buy a game used I generally would not have purchased it new to begin with.  Which is why I purchased Portal 2 new the first day it came out, but would not do the same for say, Spider-Man Web of Shadows.

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: Denis Dyack Blames Used Games For Upsurge in ...

Um, because the difference in price between a new game and a used game is usually only like $5-$10; no clue where you get that $60 for $10 numbers; never seen a deal that good.. places like gamestop and amazon would have the used version of a $60 game selling for like $50. the difference in price between used and new is quite small... and frankly i don't think its at all hard to believe that most customers would fork over an extra $5-10 for a new version if the used version was not available. Hell i would say that most of the time customers go to someplace like gamestop to get a particular game, they intend on paying full price for it, and only get the used copy instead because they want to save a few bucks.

 

Re: Denis Dyack Blames Used Games For Upsurge in ...

I'm not talking at release for the used game.  If I'm not really interested in a game I'm not going to buy it at release for $60.  I'm going to buy it months and months later used for $10.  Understand?  If a game just really doesn't interest me, a publisher waving their hand around and magically destroying the used games market isn't going to make me buy their game new.  I just won't buy it at all.

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: Denis Dyack Blames Used Games For Upsurge in ...

I'm trying to see why they should give any consideration whatsoever to this situation when the person in that case is not a customer at all. 

Re: Denis Dyack Blames Used Games For Upsurge in ...

What I'm asking for is that they don't give any kind of consideration to that kind of person.  But the thing is that they are considering them, quite a lot.  They think that every sale of a used game as a 1:1 loss of sales of a new version of the game, and that is simply not the case.  If they destroyed the used games market, as they so wish, I don't think they would get quite the result that they wish.

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: Denis Dyack Blames Used Games For Upsurge in ...

In the first month, where sales matter the most, I believe the 1:1 figure is not far from reality. As mentionned, used games at that point are typically only $5-10 less and I don't believe that this margin makes any noteworthy difference in purchase intention.

Beyond that first month or so, yeah I don't think it matters that much.

Re: Denis Dyack Blames Used Games For Upsurge in ...

I believe it is pretty damn far from reality.  I own about half new games and about half used games.  If the used games market vanished then well fuck you developers, I'm still not buying them new.  I'll just go without.

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: Denis Dyack Blames Used Games For Upsurge in ...

Round these parts those figures arent unbelievable.  It all depends how old the used game is - if it's something that's only been released in the last couple of weeks, then yeah, the used price is only £5 cheaper.  But if you dont mind waiting 3-6 months, you can definitely pick up a HUGE bargain.  I've spent a lot of money on these bargain-price games that I can assure you, I most definitely would never have spent on a brand new title, with the rare exceptions of the handful of games that I absolutely love.

 

Re: Denis Dyack Blames Used Games For Upsurge in ...

How much costs a used copy of a recent game as Portal 2? Here used games are still expensive, like $50 or even $80 dollars.

Re: Denis Dyack Blames Used Games For Upsurge in ...

Portal 2... on amazon is currently $40 new, and $35 used

 

 
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