I posted this response on Slashdot to argue against the following reader comment:
…I understand that publishers don’t make any money off used games sales…I get that.
Actually, you’re wrong. Publishers do make money off used game sales. Not directly, but easy to see if you analyze the system.
Person A buys a game new (ex. $50), plays it, sells it to a used game broker (ex. $20).
Person B buys the used game from the broker (ex. $40), part of this purchase goes to the broker for facilitating the transaction, part goes to subsidize the original purchase price (the $20 Person A received when selling the game comes from this purchase).
So Person A effectively purchased the game for less money. The lower price for Person A either allows him to purchase the game in the first place (was his perceived utility of the game between $30 and $50?), or leaves leftover money for the purchase of another game (this is his hobby).
So through the secondary market, Persons A and B share the cost. If, as the your hypothetical publisher who doesn’t “make any money off used game sales” argues, Persons A and B would both have bought the game for $50 each, giving them earnings of $100, then the game could have been priced closer to that $100 knowing the secondary market would allow for the cost sharing (let’s say MSRP of $80, giving the broker a $20 piece of the $100 pie). If it wouldn’t have sold for $80 to $100, then both A and B weren’t interested enough to each pay $50, were they?