Used Games Represent a “Double-Edged Sword,” EA Says

Next-gen consoles could have such features, the publisher admits

Electronic Arts has talked about the ongoing used games debate and revealed that the whole issue represents a "double-edged sword" as it keeps profits from going to developers and publishers like itself, but it also keeps retail stores in business.

Second-hand games represent a major issue for the gaming industry nowadays, as retailers like GameStop are making lots of money by selling used copies of certain titles because none of the actual money spent by the customer goes to the game's developer, publisher, or the manufacturer of the console.

Now, seeing as how new rumors hint that the next Xbox device, the so-called Xbox 720, prohibits used games, Electronic Arts' Chief Financial Officer, Blake Jorgensen, has chimed in on the issue.

According to the executive, used games represent double-edged swords as they have positive and negative effects on the industry.

"It's one of these classic double-edged swords," he said, via Gamasutra. "In one way the used game business has been critical for the health of the retail channel, and having a healthy retail channel is an important thing for us."

EA would like to see used games stopped by new consoles but there will be repercussions if second-hand titles will no longer be playable by next-gen devices.

"Would we like to sell everything at full price and not have a used game market? Sure," he added, "But I think the used game market's a little like any other kind of market where it creates liquidity. The fact is, that liquidity benefits us in some fashion. So if someone goes in and trades in a game, there's a good chance they're going to buy another one of our games. And so if there's a liquid market, I think that that's not a bad thing at all."

In regards to the actual rumors about next-gen consoles, Jorgensen only hints that the future could foresee such features.

"I can't really comment on where the next generation boxes are going to be relative to used games," he said. "I will say that the trend in the business is to have that always-on connectivity and connect with a customer, and to the extent that the software identifies a certain customer is going to create some issues going down the road in the used game market."

Next-generation consoles are expected to appear this year from both Sony, in the form of the PlayStation 4, and from Microsoft, in the form of the Xbox 720.

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