Fable III dev says used sales more problematic than piracy

Lionhead lead combat designer Mike West sounds off on industry hot topics, says any sales of Fable III for PC a "bonus."

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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.

Lionhead isn't too keen on secondhand sales.

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.

Discussion

516 comments
dinslacck
dinslacck

we can't stop piracy in industries (games, movies and musics) but we can control it and turn it to our own profit - devs says.

Lateraliss
Lateraliss

I was in Gamestop not that long ago. I'd say the Fable 3 was second or third in amount of used copies available. Number 1 was Madden. Maybe these developers should go check the used shelf at these stores. If there's so many copies that it takes up three spots on the shelf, you should take that as a hint that your game sucks. I pre-ordered Fable 3. One of the few games I regret buying.

The_Godfather_
The_Godfather_

games are expensive, but developing games isn't cheap, either.

JSusie
JSusie

@AncientDozer So let me get this straight. You're saying when Gamestop buys a game from someone for dirt cheap, and then shrink wraps it and puts it their shelf for 300% of the price they paid for it.....that's not a ripoff? It's ridiculous regardless of how anyone tries to spin it. There's literally zero reason to ever use Gamestop. Gamestop is garbage with it's used game policies. All those little "incentives" they offer are nothing more than ploys to get more people into their store. You're also saying Amazon has shipping that's up to $15 on a used game? That's a bit of an exaggeration. I went and searched the 100 top games off the 360 list here on the site. 95% of them had shipping options UNDER $5. Considering Amazon lists their games by price with the shipping included, it's near impossible to get a bad deal. Like I said, selling on Craigslist is much less risky than buying. If you deal with cash and you're honest you will have zero problems selling. I guarantee it will net someone more cash then Gamestop ever would give them. When it comes to buying you just need to be intelligent about it. Most times people are just looking to sell a game they have no use for anymore. The ones who are trying to run scams, are blatantly obvious. If you do a bit of homework on it beforehand, buying on Craigslist can save alot of money.

endocrine
endocrine

@N0tYrBeezin Not even close. One is legal, the other is illegal. I am not advocating anything illegal. I just cannot feel sorry for anyone who is greedy.

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

@stan_boyd good perspective :) never think about that :roll:

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

@fadersdream do you ever heard of Steam sales on Steam.com, they give criminally low sales for most games. :)

tisoyboy2
tisoyboy2

This is a double edged sword. Devs feel like they are losing sales but lets think further along the line. A lot of traded in games are for credit towards the purchase of another game (new and used) or towards a preorder that is new. For some, trade in credit is the only way they have to make the game affordable. This shouldn't even be an issue. Developers have already countered this by over-pricing DLC and incorporating online passes. They should take it up with resellers and stop bleeding gamers dry.

stan_boyd
stan_boyd

I will never understand why people defend gamestop who will sell a used game for 5 dollars less than it is new. They are thiefs plain and simple. MK 60 dollars new, 55 dollars used, CoD Black ops 60 dollars new, 55 dollars used. And when you trade it in they give you half of what they are gonna charge and they only give it as instore credit so that they aren't actually losing any money at all by purchasing from you but making 100% profit off every used game.

wordisborn79
wordisborn79

I ALWAYS try to get games used...there's no way I can afford a $65 game (after tax), that I will beat in less than 2 weeks. On another note, anyone else agree that gaming is one expensive hobby?

BLAS1AN
BLAS1AN

I thought with holding content that should already be on a disc is a way for the developers to make more or money

tranceline
tranceline

Pirating games is pathetic and is stealing. Period. You can justify it however you want, but you are stealing the property that is rightfully owned by someone else. Pirates act as if they are "entitled" to play whatever they want. I don't care if you have no money...go get a job. If you're a kid, mow lawns, rake leaves, do something to EARN what you have. But if you pirate games, movies and music...you are just a thief, no better than a thug that steals a car stereo.

spiritgirl_uk86
spiritgirl_uk86

Second hand games are keeping specialist retailer's and indepent stores alive atm. Yes they dont give money to developers but with the market the way it is, selling pre-owned games are keeping stores like this open. Otherwise it will be only supermarkets and other places that have no enthuism or love for games left to shop at. There would be no days of going and asking someone's option or advice, no one to help none gamers make a purchase for their son/daughter. Plus ppl can not afford to buy games brand new atm and many that do purchase them on release often trade in old games to make the new game cheaper. If you got rid of second hand games their would be little industry to talk about as people rely on cheap pre-owned games and/or Trading in to get that new triple A title you have waited for.

notasoul
notasoul

These guys like to ignore the fact that many people are willing to pay the sixty bucks up front because they know they can trade the thing in. If there was no secondary market, some people would wait for second or third price drops to pick up these titles. I'm sure that wouldn't help their sales figures or their bottom line.

fadersdream
fadersdream

Gamers are TOO expensive. Lower prices and you'll see better NEW game sales. Go back to economics 101 and read up on supply and demand. Companies want to lock in initial pricing and inflate value, but consumers are not willing to pay the current prices. That has to tell you something. If you stop them or raise prices or create methods of prevention you'll have the same amount of sales. It really is basic accounting.

conkerton
conkerton

@xaviermf Agreed. Unfortunately if feels like too many devolopers are quick to say that ____ are the problem with there game sales. The ____ seems to be any excuse or cultural meme why their lack luster cookie cut garbage didn't sell.

CISX
CISX

@ mikees1 @Ladiesman17 SADLY IM A GAMER WITH NO MONEY, I ONLY DOWNLOAD PIRATED GAMES, AND 98% WORK PERFECTLY, I HAVE A FEW ORIGINALS, I DOWNLOAD MY GAMES SUPER FAST WITH NO VIRUSES, BUT THE ORIGINAL COPY IS ALWAYS THE BEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

xaviermf
xaviermf

I barely ever trade a game, unless it's a mediocre one. Example: Fable 3. Of course Mr. West complains about pre-owned sales hurting their bottom line, because when people that bought the game brand new, let everyone else know that this game felt more like Fable 2.5, everybody thought "pfft, heck, I'll just wait for a trade". To make matters worse, Fable 3 first dlc was crappy and uninspired. Do I think it's a "bad" game? No, it was "enjoyable". Would I have paid $59.99 + taxes if I would have known how the game was? Nope. Make a game worth holding to (I still own KOTOR) and you will see there are less trade-ins.

ironmonk36
ironmonk36

I quit trading games in and I only buy games new. I want the money to go to the developers of the game and not gamestop. Trade-ins are a huge rip off for the trader and the next buyer.

mikees1
mikees1

I recently downloaded Napoleon total war, couldn't play it online but i have a purchased copy of Empire total war to do that with, and i'm more of a campaign gamer when it comes to strategy games, then i tried to download men of war assault squad with a skidrow crack.......worst thing i ever did! If you're intending to download any skidrow listed game think twice....AND DON'T! I have only just got my computer back after having to have windows reinstalled after the crack unleashed something on my PC. Never again, i will save and buy my games in future. Haven never used pirate games with my 360 though. And after the experience with my computer, i've learnt my lesson!

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

Pirating actually sucks, loong download, after downloads, it become unplayable, because those yahoos put broken RAR software or broken file, got stripped download from 8.5 Gb to 4.5 Gb, copying crack, copying into your DVDs, your DVD-ram error, installing virtual soft, then your PC become freeze, when patch come out the crack is not compatible anymore, copying crack again, internet goes down, downloading crack again, oh no It contain virus, browsing again for 2 hour, I can't understand why people like downloading.... do you think most people enjoying free download, I don't think so!! :roll:

servb0ts
servb0ts

@kansaspwnage. I agree i used to rent playstation 1 games and sega genesis games, but would eventually buy ones i loved. if developers actually made greatness in games instead of mediocre game in HD as priority, they would get better sales. but why pay full price for shallow game, when renting will establish your answer?

fredwv
fredwv

You know what's worse than second hand sells? Games that you can't sell back. See any mmo game. :|

gracey91
gracey91

@chessmen1941 The reason it hurts them is because they don't get any money from the second-hand sale. For your theory to work someone has to buy the game retail so it doesn't make sense. If someone has already brought the game, that's their profit they wont gain anything else buy someone buying it second-hand. That why it costs them money

im-a-roustabout
im-a-roustabout

@chessmen1941 I may have read your post wrong, but it looks like you think Gamestop gives developers money for used games sold...they don't.

noigel
noigel

Real example: Magicka - 10 EUR for a classic-to-be game. Will never leave my shelves.

DarkReign2552
DarkReign2552

@Malscyllis How does that solve the issue of second-hand sales or Piracy? Obviously they aren't crappy or people wouldn't waste money on a used copy or even take the time to steal it? (And I'm not sticking up for Lionhead. I'm not a big fan of Fable 3. The first 2 were leagues better (and the 1st one was better than the second one still.))

Arturo84
Arturo84

price games at their real worth and you will solve the problem if the game is mediocre/average dont try to price as much as highly rated titles

Malscyllis
Malscyllis

quit making crappy hyped up sequels and your problem will be solved

kansaspwnage
kansaspwnage

@servb0ts Yeah pretty much, I do the free game rental thing from GameStop on the weekends, usually I'm busy during the week and sometimes even the weekends but I can always take it back for the full refund. But those triple AAA games I have to own. One's with ALOT of campaign re playability and/or length or really good, addictive multiplayer. Right now Gears of War 3, and Elder Scrolls: Skyrim are the only ones next on my buy list. I just bought Killzone 3 and it was awesome, especially multiplayer. But I mean renting games like this I played a few other triple AAA games that I want to own but I can't afford it because the world is kinda in an economic fix and can't just drop $60 on a game especially a fairly average game like Fable 3 without at least selling it? The times we've got now it's really put up or shut up for the game developers and Lionhead should shut ef up.

chessmen1941
chessmen1941

I'm skeptical that used games even hurt developers. As a thought experiment, say there are two people: A and B. A is willing to spend $40 for a game, and B is willing to spend $35. A new Xbox game cost $60; neither are willing to buy it as is, and the developer sees $0. Now say they can sell it back to the game store for $20. Person A buys it for $60, plays it, and sells it for $20, so he in total paid $40. The game store offers it used for $30. Person B buys it from the game store for $30. The developer sees $60 where once they saw $0. The game store sees $10, and both A and B get to enjoy the game. Although I am sure the game store takes a lot of more off the top, it seems reasonable to me that developers see higher sales thanks to the used game market, and that by destroying it, they will end up having to lower prices, and possibly end up not making as much overall.

Raven-002
Raven-002

I honestly think the gaming industry being flooded by bad games is a much greater threat than piracy or second-hand sells combined. Remember Metal Gear Solid, Turok, Zelda, Super Mario? What made these games good is that it offered us a unique and breath taking user experience. There are a few problems with games nowadays: 1) Price: PS was $40, PS2 was $50, PS3 is $60....so let me guess, PS4 is gonna be $70? Games keep going up, people are not making more money and the economy is horrible. Who the hell cares about buying a game when they are losing their homes? As the prices go up, piracy and second-hand titles will become more prevalent. 2) Mediocre games: Games that offer a lack-luster experience and have little replay value. If you're going to make a bad game, make sure it has multi-player. No one wants a crappy game that can't be played for over a weak. Bad games are a big reason for bad sells. People will shell out for something even if they are broke, if your product is good enough and has a good reputation. 3) Crowded Market: I honestly believe this is inevitable, some companies are going to die out. It's the nature of business, the most popular and the most innovate are the ones who will remain. Keep making bad games and your doors will be shutting. I'm not trying to sound harsh, but these things I listed are issues in the gaming industry. Been gaming for all my life, so I know what I'm talking about. ;)

servb0ts
servb0ts

Fable III dev says used sales more problematic than piracy. ^^Make it a good game, an problem solved. lol

Nymphonomicon
Nymphonomicon

Yes, secondhand sales are worse than piracy, because secondhand sales only pay the developer once (the original sale) and piracy doesn't pay the developer at all and completely circumvents pointless, costly DRM... and now my brain hurts from trying to think like a greedy developer.

supernaught360
supernaught360

@AncientDozer The used game market is "here to stay"?? Lol - Ummm... Gamestop isn't as certain of this as you are. http://www.dallasnews.com/business/headlines/20101011-Court-ruling-could-hurt-GameStop-s-2853.ece Here's a snippet: "But a recent federal appeals court ruling could allow game publishers to prohibit Grapevine-based GameStop Corp., which gets the biggest portion of its profits from used games, from buying or reselling used titles. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided last month in the Vernor vs. Autodesk case that a software publisher can prohibit buyers of its software from reselling the program to other users. Many computer programs are sold with licensing agreements that the user must agree to in order to use the software, where terms prohibiting resale are spelled out." But I guess you know better, right?

supernaught360
supernaught360

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

supernaught360
supernaught360

@AncientDozer All that blathering...(sigh)... and you STILL can't formulate a single, solitary, cogent reponse as to how a game can be "used"??? Soory, bro, but all the slobbering over semantics can't get you around that one rascally fact: the game, and the disc, are disparate entities. Period. Thee. End. That same "game" code can be on disc, cartridge, hard disc, floppy discs, usb drive, or hell, even written down on paper - the transferable media it's imprinted on isn't what we're discussing, and is irrelevant. It's still impossible for a game, song, movie, poem, or any other IP to be "used". It's not impossible however for it to be created, and owned, and licensed to individual users. Are you daft enough to think legislation can't be that fundamentally sound?? The only reason it isn't, is because no one wants to spend the money to do it, and frankly, the mere thought of trying to convince throngs of mentally incapacitated individuals like yourself that can't grasp the Intellectual property and tangible physical property is so daunting a prospect, it actually frightens myself and others that humans (like yourself) can be so blatantly ignorant. There's no pedantics involved. There's the transferable media, and what it's imprinted on. Eat it.

raptures330
raptures330

@-Saigo- Well, one could say... since when does someone that does nothing to support a developer consider himself a fan of that developer? Jynxy does have it right though.

somberfox
somberfox

Put reasonable prices on games, problem solved. At $60 for a game that only lasts a few hours, a lot of people don't think that's an acceptable ratio and will trade it off after finishing to get some of the wasted money back. The smart people who refuse to pay such a ridiculous price for a game are the ones who buy them used, they would start buying more new games if the price was reasonable.

stan_boyd
stan_boyd

Its not just fable that this is effecting though, there are alot of good titles that this is happening to as well, I am all for second hand games, but what I do not think is right is companies making money off of second hand games. I buy games on ebay or kijiji off the indiviual selling it and therefore we both get a fair deal, but Gamestop underpays who they buy from and overcharge who they sell to. To buy Mortal Kombat new is 60 dollars to buy it used is 55 dollars and to trade it in is 30 instore dollars. So gamestop makes 55 dollars off whoever buys it.

Ice-Menorah
Ice-Menorah

I'm assuming this has been said before, but if they're so against used sales maybe the should MAKE A GAME THAT PLAYS FOR LONGER THAN TWO WEEKS! Seriously, I bought fable 1 new. pretty good.. about a month of use at the most. Fable 2 was about 2 weeks. So I'm pretty pissed, figured that they don't really deserve my money again, but everyone I know with Fable 3 finished and got bored with it in under a month. Of course people are gonna trade it in they're done with it

archlvt
archlvt

You know what's even worse than used game sales? Crappy games with a $60 price tag. I'm absolutely opposed to used game sales, but that's not the reason this game failed. Shop shelling out crap and maybe people will be willing to buy your games. And for the love of god, get rid of Molyyneux! He's hurting game sales more than anything just by being there. The whole "yeah we realize fable 2 was bad so we're going to make fable 3 better" tactic only works if you make it better, not by leaving it pretty much the exact same but with more flaws.

GodGundamNT1
GodGundamNT1

The reason tehy are crying is because gamestop makes billions of money on used games, far more than the game developers make and gamestop forces gamers to believe in trading, finishing and trading in again and again or waiting until the game is used for discount basically any game that is not new is a full profit only for gamestop not for the game developer companies.

Reyveign
Reyveign

So they made Fable 3 for PC to "make up" for the "loss of money" in second hand sales? Then they need to stop making poor games. Nobody wants to pay $60 for a mediocre experience.

KinderGrinder
KinderGrinder

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

PhilWil92
PhilWil92

I WISH i bought my copy of Fable 3 USED! That way when I beat the game FOUR days later I could return it and get all $60 back. If it wasn't such a over hyped game, then it wouldn't be such a issue to Lion Head.

Darth_Tyrranus
Darth_Tyrranus

Virtually every other industry has a second-hand market out there. I see no basis as to why video games should be an exception. The right of first sale precedent has clearly been established in our court system, and should apply to all markets, not just select ones. If a game is of good quality, people will tend not to re-sell it. It's as simple as that.

Carpe_Noctum
Carpe_Noctum

Bro, move on, EVERYTHING is sold used; cars, homes, movies, games ect.. It's the way the world works, why would video games be above every other product on earth? NEXT..........