With the Online Pass schemes adopted by Electronic Arts, THQ, and Sony, it's clear the industry isn't keen on secondhand game sales. What's less clear is exactly how the industry views the impact of used game sales relative to outright piracy.
In an interview with Eurogamer, Fable III lead combat designer Mike West sounded off on two of the industry's hottest talking points: pre-owned sales and piracy, claiming pre-owned sales were more hurtful than piracy to a developer.
"Piracy these days on PC is probably less problematic than secondhand sales on the [Xbox 360]," West told the website. "I've been working on PC games for many years, and piracy is always a problem. There are a lot of honest people out there as well, and if they like your game, they'll buy it."
Lionhead released the PC version of Fable III yesterday in North America. West told the site any sales of the game will be seen as a "bonus," as the original Xbox 360 edition of the game covered its development costs with sales in the millions.
"For us, it's probably a no lose even with piracy as it is," West said. "But, as I say, secondhand sales cost us more in the long run than piracy these days."
While PC gamers have had to wait months to play the game--it was released on the Xbox 360 in October--the time has afforded Lionhead the ability to do something it has never done with a Fable game: add difficulty levels and stereoscopic 3D support. Fable III for the PC features an exclusive Hardcore mode, which raises the game's difficulty.