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GameStop is exploiting customers, says Ready at Dawn boss

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on 22 July 2013

Ready at Dawn’s head honcho Ru Weerasuriya recently sat down and spoke with GamesIndustry International about the topic of used games. He expressed his views on the problems found with retailers like GameStop and how their pricing and sales of used games hurt more than just developers like him.

"I think the problem is right now there are retail outlets that are really taking everybody for a ride. You can't make a living at the expense of everybody else," said Weerasuriya in the interview. "Unfortunately, they're not just making a living at the expense of developers but also the consumers because the consumers will see less and less games come out if developers can't get revenue to make more new titles and keep going as a business."

"I think this is something we need to curb on the retail side. We're putting the consumers in an awkward spot and we shouldn't have to," he continued. "Why should they be the ones to deal with a flawed system? They are the guys we do this for. They are the ones who should be able to benefit the most from being able to buy it."

Weerasuriya details an account of experiencing this flawed system firsthand at a local GameStop:

"I walked into a GameStop, asked for a new copy of a game and without telling me he tried to slip me a used copy and wanted to sell it to me for $5 less. I flipped out in front of the guy. I was like, 'Dude, wrong guy... You're doing this to the wrong guy.' I don't think people realize, and the guy was trying to justify it to me. I was like, 'You have no idea.' There are developers out there who are making games for [years] and some of them will go down purely because the revenue stream is basically flawed and creating this place where developers don't see even a little part of it."

However flawed the system in place may be, Weerasuriya does not want to see the practice of used game sales go away. Instead, he asks for a reformation of the process:

"I don't think we should stop used games, but we should do something about getting part of the revenue back from GameStop and places like that. That's not penalizing the consumers; they'll still get what they want. But I don't know who's going to address it."

While the enacting of Weerasuriya’s ideas would do well to benefit developers and consumers alike, he has yet to address the larger issue at hand: pricing. Why are used games sales so successful? It’s because $60 a game is too steep of a price point for most gamers to afford. Fear not, for Weerasuriya has a developer-friendly solution for this as well:

"Think about it this way. What the consumer wants is choice. It doesn't mean we have to kill the $60 game, but you should have the choice for other price points. I would love to go home and play a two-hour game at night right before I go to bed. You play the game, get a full experience and a full story and go to sleep afterwards. I love that idea, but I also love the idea of playing the 15-hour game that I have to pay more for. I think there's room for different tiers. And I think the market is already breaking those out."

What do you think of Ru Weerasuriya’s comments on used games? Do you feel that you, the consumer, are being mistreated by used game retailers? Is Weerasuriya being overly dramatic, or is there truth in what he says? Let us know what you think in the comments below.