Heavy Rain dev says used sales cost studio millions

Quantic Dream cofounder says the game went double platinum, but an extra million played it "without giving me one cent."

The troubled global economy in recent years has reshaped the gaming industry in a number of ways. But when asked about the impact of the recession by GamesIndustry.biz, Quantic Dream cofounder and European Games Developer Federation chairman Guillaume de Fondaumiere pointed to it sparking "the rise of secondhand gaming."

Used sales Heavy Rained on Quantic Dreams' parade.

Calling the used market "one of the number one problems right now in the industry," de Fondaumiere cited his own studio's Heavy Rain as an example. He pointed out that the PlayStation 3-exclusive adventure game sold 2 million copies, but the developer's trophy stats show 3 million people played it.

"On my small level, it's a million people playing my game without giving me one cent," de Fondaumiere said. "And my calculation is, as Quantic Dream, I lost between €5 million ($6.8 million) and €10 million ($13.6 million) worth of royalties because of secondhand gaming."

The developer went on to say that developers and publishers "are going to see that they can't make a living out of producing games that are sold through retail channels because of secondhand gaming," and will wind up moving exclusively to digital distribution channels. However, de Fondaumiere did acknowledge that prices of new games are "probably too expensive," and that all parties will need to work together for the best outcome for consumers, retailers, developers, and publishers.

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822 comments
Vamp14
Vamp14

I dont get it why they see it as lost Profit. Books, Cars, DVDs, Furniture, TVs, Speakers etc. all of theese things can be bought used and thats totaly normal.

MAXTHUNDER99
MAXTHUNDER99

@captaink24 my point was we have a cap on how much we can download from our service provider mine's at 30 gig a month if I exceed that then I'm charged 5 dollars extra per gig I download and if Heavy Rain was a dl only game I wouldn't have bought it. People may have high speed broadband but not everybody has the highest speed. I have several friends that do not have the internet and only used the PS3 for the blu ray player and when they seen Heavy Rain they became interested in gaming and now they game more than watch movies. lol.

-Vulpix-
-Vulpix-

More companies complain about used games sales the more I want to hurt them for it. And if apparently buying used games is piracy put me in jail then crybabies. To any company that complains about I'm thinking about buying all their games used. and guess he has never of people having more then one account either.

ccusick
ccusick

Guess WHAT!? Qwikster.com is the new Netflix physical mail deliver site. AND They are going to add games to the platform. Oh my will the crying begin in earnest. And 2 more cents. I have Resistance Fall of Man, still. Because it was great. Resistance 2? I didn't finish it and it went on ebay because it was NOT great.

DKant
DKant

Developers should stop seeing used game sales as "lost opportunity". Do car companies get anything when I buy a used car? If I sold my TV off to someone I knew before getting a new one, should I have to pay Sony? What nonsense is this? If you did not make me hang on to your product then it's a failure on your part to create long term value for me in your product. On the same lines, if I was not keen on buying your product full-price, it's a failure on YOUR part in enticing me to spend the money. Blaming your lack of sales on the curse that is consumers' freedom to do what they like with products they purchase, smacks of short-sightedness and a complete inability to see WHY your purchases and earnings are where they are. So what if I gave a few of my old games off to a charity? Would that count as a "lost opportunity" as well? ****ers.

GoldenRamoth
GoldenRamoth

Of course I don't want to pay for new games... $60? Please. Most games aren't worth 1/2 that. Hell, even the "AAA" games aren't worth that much imo. Like the next CoD? I'm a campaign player. so for 6-8 hours, I don't want to pay $60. I always compare gaming to movies. I pay 7.50 for 2-3 hours of movie time in a theatre with friends. So to pay 60 for 6-8? It goes from $3 an hour (this is all rounded of course) for movie social time, to a lousy $8-10 to be all by myself. Why would I want to pay that much for that? And since devs are so fond of spamming the market with repacked games and sequels, I'll wait until I can buy the original version of the game for $10-15. I do it all the time. Now there are some games that I have to buy new.. ME3 pre-ordered for example. But that game is worth it to me. It's so good. So many other games? nope. not at all.

B4RK3R
B4RK3R

I'm sick of companies complaining about used games. If you guys would make new titles no more than 40 bucks I will gladly stop buying used games. Until then, get over it since I have to get over the fact that your games are 60 bucks new

Bearded-Warrior
Bearded-Warrior

@ijdow You don't know what you're talking about. The developers wanted to make the dlc and had already started working on it but Sony told them to work on a Move edition instead. The developers were really upset about this but had to do what they were told by Sony. Stop talking out of your ass and get your facts straight before say stuff like that.

jasonlc3221
jasonlc3221

I understand the pain this brings to dev studios and publishers. Some kind of happy middle ground needs to be reached, because at the same, you can't just make it a law that games can't be traded in and then re-sold as used. If that was the case, then hell, I guess cars can't be re-sold either, right? I'll be damned if government tries to tell me I have to buy a brand new car when I can just wait a couple years and get a used one for thousands less. I know some of you may not like what I'm about to say, but..............what if a game were not allowed to be re-sold as a used copy for the first 3 months from it's release date? It's just the first idea that came to my mind. In my humble opinion, if a game is worthy enough, I shouldn't want to sell it within the first three months of owing it, right? I know that's just a matter of opinion. Some of you buy a game, play through it once, and whether you loved it or not, you still sell it as soon as you're done with it. I understand the growing problem game studios are having with this issue, and they are not just going to keep sitting on their hands waiting for the problem to fix itself. They will start trying to find creative ways to stop this, or at least slow the process down. I just hope it doesn't have overwhelming reprocussions when it does happen. Sorry for the long comment.

ijdow
ijdow

maybe you guys will make the money you supposedly lost if you give us all the DLC you promised us? why would anyone take stock in your statement when you don't even keep your own word? I remember when they all canceled it. What is worse is when you announced the DLC's release..... it was slightly after or slightly before the release and then there like oops, we have no time we want to make a different game... you gotta give respect before you get it

Karjah
Karjah

Honestly people that buy used games drive me nuts. They are so uneducated about how the industry actually works and don't seem to be able to get it through their thick skulls that if a developer doesn't see a dollar of your sales then NO ONE gets any further products from them. I'm a game collector so I'm willing to pay extra all the time to ensure I have an actual game case to put on my shelf when I buy a game and frankly if a developer does move to all digital I'm liking to purchase less from them. soon none of us will have the privilege of buying games from retail all because a few individuals don't care who they screw over to save a buck. It's like buying Nike shoes when you know there is child labor involved. It's time for a two tier model of both retail and digital for people who wish to save money. Heck here's a great idea. You play a game and beat it and you like it you should be able to send it to a friend for 5 or 10 bucks for them to play as well. 1 friend per game copy.

ccusick
ccusick

OH MY freakin dog! Gamespot! - Why don't you ask Michael Bay what he thinks of Netflix! At least people bought the freaking game instead of wholesale renting or watching it on cable with nobody buying the dvd. If I buy a game, if I don't absolutely cherish it, it goes on sale on ebay, or Amazon trade in. And then I spend the money on another game. Gamespot should not be printing complaints about a market economy. Live with it. And be glad netflix isn't streaming your content to 5 devices for $8/month. I could get a new game every month for $8! Finally, multiplayer replay value is why BFBC2 is still in my house.

Metal_Jaws
Metal_Jaws

So...they guy makes $12-24 Million on the game and then whines like a baby about the money he didnt get? Did someone not share their toys in the sandbox? Poor guy can only afford 8 BMWs now, not 9...that is sad. Well those 1 million who bought the game used probably would not have played the game at all without some kind of price cut available, so either way you would not have made the money. But instead 1 million more people are enjoying the game and keeping it popular. Way to not see the silver linning or intrinsic benefits.

ibsrfn
ibsrfn

well the company shouldn't have made it ps3-exclusive. I liked their previous game a lot and if they would have launched it on the 360 I would have bought it new...so open the game to more of an audience and then maybe you would have made up for some "lost royalties"

avenger_20
avenger_20

they should just make games cost less then talking bad about selling or buying used(cheaper) games

ADDADAC
ADDADAC

SO thanks quantic dream, im thinking of getting a ps3 sometime soon, and b ecause of what you said, i will not be buying heavy rain new, lost one potential customer. Also your game doesnt seem to be worth full price, as ive rheard that you designed it so people only play it once. what am i supposed to do when i beat the game, keep the game that ill never play again in my house, no iwill sell it.

msfan1289
msfan1289

@Spudtaco im with you, that is the main reason why i buy used or even go to amazon or wait for Steam sales to kick in to buy games that comes out a few months before. i felt like my money got stolen when i bought, Call of Duty MW 2, Home Front, and other "big budget games." becuase they are so short you can beat them in less then a day. that is why i love Mass Effect games, Dragon Age, the new Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Assassins Creed, and many more games that are long in length and with good story lines to keep you hooked on to it. and to tell you the truth the only real DLC i really bought is for Mass Effect and Dragon age, why you ask? why fork over my money to buy those DLCs? (the extra level DLCs not the extra weapons ans skins) its because both games had good stroy lines that got you hooked on to it, that you want to keep on playing more of it, so when a DCL came out for the game i had the more reason to play it more and most the DLCs were not that short and took a few hours to pass them.

msfan1289
msfan1289

whats next they will lobby for the government to tax people for selling games in yard sales to force people to buy new.

kintama88
kintama88

i understand they're running a business and will always try to maximize revenue. What bothers me is the sense of entitlement to the money from second-hand sales. Talking about it as if it's some unspeakable evil taboo. What makes them so different from dvds, cars, or books? They are just avoiding the fact that people do not accept the current price. If the industry want less people to purchase pre-owned games, then they either need to lower the price or add more value (particularly the playtime length) to justify people spending $60. They can have all the pretty graphics and innovative gameplay, but the bottom line is most people wont spend the full $60 on a 5 hour experience.

lynxpraline
lynxpraline

I understand his argument but it’s completely flawed on so many levels. Rental market, Friends and family, The fact that so many people don't want to keep the game suggest a lack of longevity and replay value. A good game costing £20 isn't necesarily a good game at £40, so he can't justify they would have sold more than the 2 million at full price. Heavy Rain is at best a good interactive movie, so he couldn't have picked a worse game/movie to base his 'second hand sales cost us' argument on.

bradocki
bradocki

Maybe the dev should think up a little, i own the game and three people played the game in my household, my wife, sister and I. Should we all buy different copies of the game just to make the devs richer? I swap games with friends and neighbors all the time, so that could explain what happens when they claim they sold 2 million copies and 3 million ppl have trophies. There is no point for devs to be crying over used games market, anybody is free to sell whatever they own, cars, boats, toys, houses, clothes, that's the real world!

spoonybard-hahs
spoonybard-hahs

@ Fanible Actually, there is an excuse. If publishers sold games-on-demand for less than physical retail, retailers would be up in arms and stop selling their products. It's fair business. As for pricing, even with middle men gone, games would still go for $60 a pop. $40 is what a new Atari game sold for (%50, actually) and that was for a team of one. Today's games are developed by teams of 100 plus. As for EA, they are still paying for those NHL, NCAA, FIFA, and NFL rights.

Fanible
Fanible

If they lower the prices of digital distribution, it would even out. The only reason current gen console games are $60 is due to middle men and licensing. There's no excuse for $60 PC games, and $60 digital download games is even more absurd. With manufacturing and most middle men costs out the window, games should cost no more than $50 ever, and in many cases could or should be as low as $40. The biggest example of this is EA's new Origin. They get 100% through their digital download service. They have no licenses to pay for these sales, no stores to consider their cut, and no manufacturing of boxes/discs/manuals. And yet, their new games are still going to cost $60.00. Granted every business wants to try to increase their profit gain where possible, but EA is also one of the ones that has been complaining about the used game market. It's illogical.

bahamut172
bahamut172

Wow, so much people react to his complaint...i hope the game industry is taking some note. I'm really not sure that devs will make more money if they go with the digital sale..maybe it will only create a new kind black market...yeah, there is always a mean to...

jono_51
jono_51

@Phazevariance The devs aren't the ones who set the price though. The publishers have to pay Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo, their staff, the devs and other people and also make a profit. Then the retailer jacks up the price to double what they buy it for.

hardstyle_intru
hardstyle_intru

The extra million playing the game could be comprised of someone letting their mate borrow the game. Doesn't necessarily mean all of it is used game sales. They should be proud that 3 million people are playing their game. Drop prices if you want to sell more :s

paulsifer42
paulsifer42

@thejblounge I really wouldn't know about that. I play very few games online, though that would make up for my argument. In cases like that, I could postulate that it costs a lot to make that DLC and the companies don't feel they need to, but that would only be my imagination talking. Maybe they just don't feel like they should have to compensate...

paulsifer42
paulsifer42

@mellow09 He didn't say how much, although I would actually expect the cost per gamer to be more for games with fewer players than WOW, since most of what they have to do is mass downloaded, therefore, the more people playing, the less that mass download is per person. I'm not saying they're right in trying to stop used purchases, I just say that I can see how they have a side too.

Spudtaco
Spudtaco

Since he's complaining; how about I ask for my money back off a developer if I feel cheated by a game? I think he needs to refocus his priorities and look at how to get gamers to buy his game straight out of the gate, by focusing on the quality of the game as well as its length. There is nothing worse than forking out your hard earned cash for a game only to finish it in a day (e.g. Homefront)......its off putting and to tell you the truth leaves you feeling like you've been robbed. Some of the best games combine these elements (e.g. Mass Effect, Red Dead Redemption, Crysis 2 etc) invigorating the player and leaving us wanting more (e.g. how many people are looking forward to Mass Effect 3? Or the new Uncharted? these games incorporate all these values and it shows the developers appreciate the fans and love what they do). Hearing this from a developer is so disappointing.

varunvikram1
varunvikram1

I know it cost millions but i am pretty sure you guys made a profit with heavy rain. Stop complaining its not a perfect world. I dont hear developers crying on about pointless dlc. I mean whats the point of dlc that is on the market the day game hits retail.

Phazevariance
Phazevariance

Oops, i meant used game sales. (not piracy) since the games will be worth less to trade in also, making it more likely for people to keep the game after purchase.

Phazevariance
Phazevariance

I might actually feel bad for them if their games weren't so costly (as most games are). Drop the price by 50% and I bet less piracy will occur.

Madgnad
Madgnad

@TheDarkCrucible Right. Games should have plenty of things to do with a $60 price tag. Games that come to mind are Skyrim, Red Dead Redemption, Battlefield 3, etc. Those games I don't mind paying $60 for and it's a shame when a company complains about not receiving a lot of money and they blame it on used game sales or piracy. They're looking for a scape goat and they never can back it up with hard evidence that shows it's hurting their sales.

ekisom
ekisom

instead of moping around loss sales why dont they program the games to self destruct if it detects its been sold to someone else you greedy sons of witches..

Hear-No-Evil
Hear-No-Evil

There is also a thing called "gamefly" Aka i was never planning on buying the game, it was never worth it to purchase for $60. It was a great game, but had zero to little value after you go through the story. Digital wont be a main stay for a loooooong time. Music still isnt all digital, books arent all digital, people like tangible objects because they can re-sell them. I havent purchased a game in over a year because nothing is worth the $60 tag. I can have 3 months of gamefly for $60 and go though about 6 games in that time period.

Daemoroth
Daemoroth

@mryakan, the problem is that a used car has wear and tear on it. If you buy a used copy of 'heavy rain', it's the same quality as it was when someone bought it new. However, devs and publishers should stop counting every used sale as a lost sale - a lot of people buy used because the game doesn't have replayability and therefore doesn't justify the need to pay full price. If a used copy wasn't available, they probably wouldn't have bought it at all. It's high time publishers start pricing their games based on what they are releasing. It's getting old that you pay the same price for a game that you'll play for a year and one that you'll play for 15 hours and never touch again (Not to mention that crappy games are priced the same as awesome ones). As long as they release games that have no long-term value, people will trade them in and the second-hand market will continue.

foxfacer2d2
foxfacer2d2

and here comes the the dawn of the next gene console with no disc but download only

hibikino
hibikino

Heavy Rain is a brilliant game. It's just the re-playability is pretty low once you have completed it once. It's fun to try and replay see all the endings but that's pretty much it. I love this game and I never buying it but I just can't agree with Quantic Dream blaming it all on used sales.

Gen-Gawl
Gen-Gawl

Unfortunately this all stems from the developers/publishers belief that the games they sell don't belong to us once we purchase. They believe they are selling a limited right to use with no right of transference. I personally this it's BS. If I buy 1 copy i should be able to do anything i want with that 1 copy. It's not like we're talking about taking that 1 copy and making millions. It's 1 copy, purchased legally and used legally and at the end of the day if I sell it, there's still just that 1 copy out there.

TheDarkCrucible
TheDarkCrucible

@Madgnad: Thats cause Activision has another plan with there stuff -.- honestly they still make good money so why complain? I mean Heavy Rain was a great game imo but at the same time alot of modern games are lacking the feel of what they cost. if I am paying $60 for a new game it better be packed with alot of things to do. Idk kinda disappointed cause I was liking this company but idk don't like hearing companies complain about this kind of stuff.

Madgnad
Madgnad

They have no clue. They're not receiving any money from the used game sales because they already got their money from the first purchase. What do they expect to be paid twice for the game? This is something that irritates me. EA is charging $10 for multiplayer for BF3 if you buy it used. This is some of the greediest crap I've seen in years. Surprising that Activision hasn't jumped on that idea yet. Hope I don't jinx it.

Granpire
Granpire

Maybe developers should give their games more replayability? Heavy Rain had choices, but it was very movie like in that you're not likely to replay it for a long time. Besides this, sales were very good, so ignoring the used sales, much money was made. I don't see what they are complaining about.

mryakan
mryakan

What next, car companies complaining used cars sales cost them revenue. Give me a break, when does the greed stop!!!

OldDogOfWar
OldDogOfWar

they shouldnt get mad at gamers buyng used games, i bought this game new and it was awesome but have i played it recently? no i havent played it for almost a year now,...am i playing old games still yes, im playing sants row 2 still...

anigmha
anigmha

@Vamp14 

Publishers are also complaining about used books and DVDs and your other examples are not valid because they degrade over time. The difference in value between a used car and a new one is proportional to how much wear it has gone through. Games, however, don't undergo wear.

anigmha
anigmha

@DKant

The difference in value between a used car and a new one is proportional to how much wear it has gone through. Same as TV sets. Games, however, don't undergo wear. Your other points are fine and I agree with most of them.

DKant
DKant

@anigmha This....happens to be a really old thread. But the issue is still relevant so here goes.

The point is - I have the right to do with my property as I wish. Once I'm done with a game, if it doesn't offer any replay value, I  would very much like to resell it. Not because I want to make some money in the process, but because I'd like to get rid of junk. Much like a garage sale. Or how having 2 cars at home may not make sense to most people with moderate-ish incomes.

Whether the value of the item has dropped, sustained or appreciated over this duration of time is not my concern at all.

The right to resell is a right I have over property I purchased. Call it a license purchase, license transfer, copy purchase or what you will. But unless it involves some kind of a subscription where the developer is incurring an ongoing cost, I cannot see a SINGLE scenario where the developer can claim to have a RIGHT to charge the new owner any kind of money. This is just bean counters going nuts over "opportunity loss" - which is a big load of BS.

In other words, charging used game buyers to access Single-Player or any other kind of content that was purchased already, and does not involve an ongoing cost to the developer, is just plain CHEATing, and developers exploiting the fact that there is barely any oversight on digital systems. It's insane how hazy software licensing still is, or how very little anyone cares. 

This, ought to change, if people like this are to get any kind of whiff of ethics.

DKant
DKant

@anigmha Appreciate your point re. the free market principle. However when an entire industry starts to toe the same line (courtesy platform owners such as Microsoft or Sony) the choices grow fewer and far less attractive. :) The environment in such a scenario                      is closer to that of a duopoly (or a "bit-more"-o-poly) than a free market. At such a point, and when too many industry folk seem to (erroneously) perceive used games as "lost opportunity", the paranoia just ups a bit. :)

Np about the old thread. It's funny how we perceive these as "live" conversations, not relevant when somewhat older, whereas the "Internet" really just sees them as permanent records.

Well, have a nice day!

anigmha
anigmha

@DKant @anigmha Oh no, don't get me wrong, I agree with the notion of reselling a license and I think it is fine selling/buying used games. I do it myself. I just keep on hearing the used car analogy and deem it to be fallacious. 

As a believer of the free market, I think we have the right to resell/buy used games and I think they have the right to implement legal measures to discourage those sales. We can respond by either buying into such practice or not, and that, to me, is the beauty of the free market. I don't expect you to agree with me, I'm just expressing my philosophy.

Also sorry, I didn't realize this was an old thread. One of GameSpot's newer articles linked to this and I happened to click on it and thought it was new.