Michael Capps, President of Epic Games, believes the second hand games market is a huge problem for the gaming industry. Capps complains about the high piracy rate of PC games and is concerned about the loss of revenue due to second hand games:
Capps also said that piracy was a huge issue for PC games specifically, pointing to Crysis as an example. According to Capps the ratio of pirated to non-pirated versions for Crysis was a staggering 20:1. Capps says that's why Epic has no intention to release Gears of War 2 on the PC, not ever.
"That's gruesome to a company like ours that's been in the PC market for so long," he said to GI.biz. "We're trying to fix it, there's a new alliance of companies trying to make PC gaming work again. But if people are playing games without buying them, then the games aren't going to keep coming."
Right now though, Capps is more concerned with the second hand market, saying that Epic's primary retailer makes the majority of its money from second hand sales despite being a specialist games store.
"We don't make any money when someone rents it, and we don't make any money when someone buys it used - way more than twice as many people played Gears than bought it."
The solution, says Capps, is a platform like Steam which can feed back to developers sales figures and cash on the same day.
"We're able to respond immediately. That model's so wonderful from a developer perspective, not just making money, but knowing where my customers are and being able to make them happy. With retail, I just don't have that - I get 'Oh Europe came back with this many numbers,' and I get that 60 days after we ship."