Codemasters Joins Growing List Of Companies That Hate Pre-Owned Games

The second half of’s interview with Codemasters’ Rod Cousens has gone up (the first had discussed the success of F1 2010, and he shines light on the dark practice of retailers selling pre-owned video games. You’ll recall that publishers are pretty fed up with the likes of GameStop for buying used games for pennies on the dollar, then selling those games onto people for pure profit. Video game publishers see none of the second-hand money, so they’re like, “Hey! This stinks!”

THQ may have gone overboard with its criticism of gamers who buy second-hand games, but it’d be very hard to at least not be sympathetic to their situation. (Then again, does anybody care when Ford doesn’t see any money when you buy a used car? Nuance is hard!) Whether or not that justifies EA’s Project $10, I don’t know.

I also don’t see why you’d be a used video game unless the game is out-of-print. Does it make any sense to walk into GameStop and buy Modern Warfare 2 for a whopping $5 off the new price when Amazon has a seemingly endless supply of new copies for just those $5 more?

But Codemaster’s solution is rather disappointing:

t’s not inconceivable to say that we send out a Formula One game that’s not complete – maybe it’s got six tracks. Then they have to buy their next track, and you follow it around the world. When you turn up in Abu Dhabi you have to pay for the circuit, and whatever the changes are to the cars that are put through. That, I think, would deal with a lot of it, and also address the pre-owned

Now, if Codemasters were to sell that game for, say, $20, then I’d be fine with that. If you’re only going to sell one-third of a game (the F1 season next year will have 20 races) then you should only be able to charge one-third of the price. Go ahead and charge $3 per additional track, but please do not think of charging full price for a crippled game, then charge even more for the DLC. That would be bad.

But I fully trust Codemasters to opt for my idea, sell the game at discount, then charge for each additional DLC track. I’ve no problem with that.

But something Cousens said was spot-on: why are the retailers being such jerks? Why are they being so antagonistic about selling pre-owned games? It’s not like they’re providing some tremendous service that can’t be replicated elsewhere. EBay says hi, right?

All the more reason to embrace digital distribution. Good Old Games just made Baldur’s Gate 2 available for $9.99. How can retail top that?