Retailers want to share profits, only if publishers drop online codes
This feels like some gunpoint drug trade. “We’ll give you the profits after you hand over the damn codes!” I don’t really think most industries work like this, but it is what a number of UK retailers are now asking for. Its no secret that video game retailers make a huge profit from sales of their pre-owned games, sales which in no way, shape or form benefit publishers at all. That means that every time you buy a used game, the publisher doesn’t see a dime (I know many of you are thinking “oh big company doesn’t make a few bucks, big deal!”, but bear with me for a moment).
In response to diminished returns from these pre-owned sales, publishers began a habit of using a one-time-use online code that would be packaged with new copies of the game, but cost roughly 10 to 15 dollars if bought used. Its an interesting strategy that has reportedly been working in some small part at least for EA. That causes the price of used games to look slightly less valuable when considering you need to attach an extra 10 bucks to the price tag. I think the ultimate strategy is to get you to think: “Hey, why not buy this new?”
If there were some takeaway from this story, I would say its a move of desperation from a business model that will inevitably die off due to online sales. The next generation of console will almost certainly be geared toward the online purchase (in many ways it already is with Xbox Live, PSN and the Nintendo Shop), so brick-and-mortal retail shops will want to stave that off as long as possible.