Forget Used Games, Some New Games Sales Don’t Pay Their Creators
Used game sales hurt the bottom line of all console game developers, as the entirety of each sale goes to the retailer and not the game’s makers. It’s a familiar line we’ve heard from several developers and publishers in the past five years. With used game sales taking heat from fans and game makers alike, digital distribution, like Steam or GOG.com, seems to offer the chance to get cheap games with a clear conscience, but that’s not quite true. Even new games suffer from the same issue as used sales; none of the money actually goes to the people who made the game.
As brought to attention by Rock, Paper, Shotgun, last week, developer Simon Roth created a quick list of “games that no longer support their creators,” and classic titles from defunct developers or publishers make up most of it — Ion Storm and Deus Ex, Looking Glass and Thief, Black Isle and Fallout 2. Other titles still maintain their original publisher but not the developer — EA collects on Syndicate and Populous, Peter Molyneux does not. You may read the titles of these games and think that the issue only affects older games, but do you think the former members of Team Bondi are seeing any money for copies of L.A. Noire sold today? If you don’t purchase used games for ethical reasons, you might have to give up many new games as well.
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