And Ben Kuchera of the Penny Arcade Report, supposedly a bastion of critical coverage in the oft-troubled arena of videogame trade journalism, has – astonishingly – told us it could be good news.
The purported drawbacks of the used game market for developers and publishers are well-known, but here’s a brief summary: publishers pocket some fraction of the revenue from the initial sale of a new game, doling out a contractually-obligated portion of that revenue to the developers who produced it. The consumer may eventually sell the copy back to the retailer, who sells it again – this time taking the entirety of the profits for themselves.
Publishers resent this secondary market almost as much as outright piracy. Steam-style digital distribution may attract good press from gamers enamored by convenience and (sometimes) more appealing prices, but make no mistake: Microsoft is pushing digital distribution because they aim to profit from increased control and directly-marketed licensed products, not because it’s consumer-friendly.