Buying a A Game Used Is More Harmful Than Pirating a Game, Says Lionhead Employee

How much money does a developer see from a pirated game? $0. How much money does a developer see from a used game sale? $0. Which of those is more likely to lead to a new game sale? The pirated game, obviously, although the chances are certainly not great that that will happen.

That’s the logic that Lionhead designer Mike West is using when he made this comment to Eurogamer when discussing the financial prospects for Fable III on PC:

“For us it’s probably a no-lose even with piracy as it is. But, as I say, second-hand sales cost us more in the long-run than piracy these days.”

He’s optimistic about piracy because, he says, any money they make on the PC version of Fable III is just frosting after the rather robust Xbox 360 sales.

Here’s a question for people who know about these things: What is the percentage of used game purchasers who buy DLC as compared to new game purchasers?

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4 Comments on Buying a A Game Used Is More Harmful Than Pirating a Game, Says Lionhead Employee


On May 19, 2011 at 7:53 am

I still can’t understand why these people feel that they have the right to sell the exact same disc two or more times. Used sales are a fact in the physical world. If they’re that concerned with used sales, then they should go all digital and quit the pissing and moaning!

Logical person

On May 19, 2011 at 9:28 am

This wont solve their problems. I, for example, figured out that eventually everything WILL go digital (So you’re ‘solution’ is already coming). But I seperate every digital download with a digital pass/account. Using steam as an example; I dont buy 2 games on the same steam account- meaning I could one day sell a steam account (1 game, 1 email, etc) and not lose my other steam games. I keep a list of all my accounts and games, and steam can’t tell the difference. Steam won’t ban an account because it one day started connecting from a different IP. Ya they say in their agreement they will ban an account if they find out it was sold, but how can they ever find out unless the person who sold it is a complete moron?. Don’t forget, you can always sell your game at a higher price than anyone else selling a normal copy, because if you purchased any DLCs or had to put an online code that costs 10 dollars to activate multiplayer game for used game people, They stay with the account.

The only downside of this is you can’t really have a friend list on anything but on the accounts that you know you’re going to keep.

Eventually (another 5-10 years?)everything will be digital. And this will be the only way to sell your games that you don’t play anymore.

Now Software/Game companies’ solution is to seriously shut the hell up and understand that the business they are in cannot be treated like an automobile industry, where you sell a car and expect repair bills to add to the total profit from that car but rather a food industry. You sell the product once, and forget about it because it’s been consumed.


On May 19, 2011 at 11:09 am

As per multiple sites reports it(21st of July 2010), used games is 10% of new games sales.

How many of them is ready to pay for DLC with the money they saved because it’s new? Personnaly I don’t know.

If you ask me, DLC was great until all games company added a price tag. Bringing some games from base 60$ to 90$ and even 100$ with DLC down the line. If the game is good, it will get a GOTY version will all DLC included at the base price.

To follow what Mike West was saying. I pirated Fallout3, bought it when it came out with all the DLC (Complete experience). When Mass Effect 2 comes out will all the DLC version, I’ll buy it too. I’d rather buy a new complete game than buying used and getting DLC after.

Make a good game, and people will buy it. People over EpicBattleAxe repeats it all the time, speak with your wallet.

Logical person

On May 19, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Ya except a DLC had a name prior to it requiring a credit card: Game update and Modding. a few years ago, you had game expansions that justified the price (20-30) dollars, however to get the same amount of material from an expansion pack back a few years ago today you would have to pay a full 40-60 dollars on DLCs.

Best case in point. Counter-Strike. I bet you would find more people playign CS than Call of Duty 4: modern warfare.

What’s next? charge for patches?

People who buy the next call of duty game are retards. Call of duty 4: modern warfare 3