Boost in second-hand games sales upside of global financial crisis

Gaming industry weathers global financial storm

The games software industry has found an unexpected silver lining, with sales in the second-hand games sharply increasing amid the economic turmoil of the global financial crisis.

Mark Langford, managing director of gaming retailer Gametraders, believes that the shrinking budget of gamers is making the trading of old games and the purchase of used titles more attractive.

"Second-hand titles are simply a good economic choice in the current climate," said Langford. "We're also seeing second-hand games traded to offset the cost of another second-hand game."

Rival retailer EB Games has experienced a similar rise in second-hand game sales and believes that many people see gaming as a cheaper alternative to going out.

"Both trade and pre-owned sales (of game titles)are well up on the same time last year," said Debra McGrath, EB Games Australia's spokesperson.

"In these times of economic uncertainty, people still want to have fun and video games are a great way to forget all the worries of the world," She said. "So rather then going without, people are making wiser choices when it comes to their shopping patterns."

According to 2008 gaming-related sales figures from GfK, the gaming industry has shrugged off the global financial crisis and hit sales results of $1.96 billion with a growth rate of 47 per cent. GfK said that the level of growth remained steady throughout the year.

But Langford attributes much of this to an increase in the number of game retailers and said that the global financial crisis has hit sales growth.

"We were running at over 20 per cent growth (for new games) and the highest growth we had was 43 per cent — that slowed quite dramatically starting in September 2008," said Langford.

EB Games Australia said that 2008 fourth quarter sales for new games had grown compared to the same period in 2007, but refused to comment on how much.

The global meltdown has claimed at least one Australian gaming software distributor with Capcom drops software distributor Red Ant for THQ.

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David Ramli

PC World
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