Ready at Dawn boss confused about putting money first

Ru Weerasuriya is excited about launching his PS4 exclusive, The Order 1886, and claims to have put creative direction ahead of financial gain.  But he’s still unhappy with the current second-hand market in games – he thinks developers should get the profits instead of the retailers; that retailers are the problem in the industry.

In an interview with Games Industry, Weerasuriya ranted and raved about the evil that is GameStop.  Like most developers, he is unhappy with the fact that developers don’t see any of the money when a game is sold second-hand.  It’s not that he doesn’t think gamers should be able to sell on their games; he simply believes that developers should get a piece of the pie.  

“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. 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.”

That said, I think that developers should strive to make better games – then people won’t want to trade it in!  Also, he mentions adjusting prices for games of different lengths.  Amen to that!  This way, game studios can feel free to make a 2-3 hour game, and charge a fraction of the price.   Just look at The Walking Dead games – there’s no need to make every game a AAA title that will cost R600 (or more depending on exchange rates).  We don’t always want to sit down to a huge game, and maybe we need to see more stratification in gaming other than simply casual, indie or ‘real’ games.

While Weerasuriya doesn’t rule out the option of eventually bringing The Order 1886 to other platforms, he explains that it just made sense to bring this new IP as an exclusive to PS4.

“We saw the initial talks about PS4 and what it was going to be and we’ve had a relationship with Sony for 10 years, so we felt it was the right time to not only move but to move to a single platform again where we could bring our expertise to something that could make us realize the game we wanted. Once we knew that internally, we approached Sony and said this is what we have and here’s where we want to go, and they listened to us and we had a great discussion about how big it was going to be, and it turned out to be bigger than expected. So it’s a good conscious decision from us to target a platform that we could make the most of.” 

He states that while there may be opportunity for greater financial gain by releasing across multiple platforms, the creative focus achieved by developing exclusively for PS4 was more important.  That said, he explains that the franchise isn’t simply a gaming IP:

“I will tell you, the franchise was created not as a game franchise. It lived its life before it became a game as a world, as an IP. You can imagine now that the game is a window into that IP, so yes, I want to have a lot of windows into that IP, and hopefully that’ll come in many different forms.”

I’m still excited about this game, but the guy in charge seems a bit confused.  Are you staying focused or spreading your seed?  I don’t have a problem with either model, to be honest, but I think they need to decide.  Everyone deserves to be financial successful if they create a good product, and I understand the frustration over second-hand sales.  It just feels like Weerasuriya is contradicting himself – stay focused on the IP for PS4 to make it really great, but then merchandize it in all possible ways?  Or is he just gunning for a TV series?

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Author:Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. I believe people should stop defining themselves and just enjoy playing games, so let's get on with it!
  • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

    Why not approach people like Gamestop and set something in place that developers get a portion of the profits made from second hand sales? It doesn’t even need to be huge. But that way you have a constant flow of income that trickles in and can go a long way to help out with souring dev costs.

    But no, rather call the second hand market evil without trying to understand why or where gamers are coming from. Silly man

    • Trevor Davies

      Can you imagine trying to police an agreement like that?

      Think devs trying to take a piece of the second hand market is either greed or entitlement. You’ve sold it once, most probably at full price, move the fuck along. You’re not owed royalties every time sometime sells a single copy again.

      • Ready at Noon

        No it’s the other way around. Gamers are the greedy ones with entitlement. Dare devs start to charge the second hand market to play used and watch as the internet will explode.

        • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

          Tell me, is it wrong then to buy second hand cars because you can’t afford a brand new one?

          Should car manufacturers also get profits from second hand sales?

          They don’t. But you know what they did? They set business in place to try and make some money off it by starting their own second hand trades within their own dealerships. Devs can do the same. They can create their very own second hand market and people would use it. And it doesn’t need to be online only.

          • TiMsTeR1033

            Well said, and you make a very good point indeed.

          • Sir Twakkus

            I actually love this Idea. And if the devs want to make a bit more money, they can raise the price a small amount for the second hand sale but offer extra DLC or something else. This will give incentive to buy at their stores as well as drive a bit of competition.
            I can understand their frustration but we all know that the real problem lies with the publishing companies who takes most of the profit. It is sad because the developers cant speak against them without retaliation from the publishers. So they lash out at the only other place they can, the second hand market.

          • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

            Yeah, unfortunately publishers are killing the market. People can’t keep up with game prices anymore. The only reason the second hand market is flourishing the way it is, is because of soaring game prices at launch.

            Developers really could make their own second hand market with a bit of effort. There must be a solution. It was going to happen on the XBoxOne with digital resales. Why not just create their own systems where people could resell and trade games properly? They could start online and move across to physical discs eventually

          • Ready at Noon

            Cars are different. They depreciate over time. Any piece of software is an IP of the software developer.

            Anyway, car manufacturers hold back the rights for certain parts that can only be manufactured, sold and serviced by the manufacture themselves. I’m a mechanic by trade and I know these things.

          • Argentil

            DLC and season passes share the same perks as car parts do.

          • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

            Season passes, DLC, one time codes, online passes, etc; all have the same principal behind them. Can only be bought from the publisher developer. So the base product (Car/Game) can still be bought second hand even if the spare parts/DLC etc; can only be bought direct from dealer/developer

          • Argentil

            F2P is like the extreme of this example whereby the dev/pub ONLY profits on the transactions that occur after fronting the cost of the game itself. It’s like giving someone a really shitty vespa, and selling the inevitable replacement parts.

        • Argentil

          Gamers are entitled, but your proposed system is broken and impractical.

          Incentivise purchasing new, it’s that simple.

        • HvR

          Sorry, devs and publishing houses are just as guilty.

          They can stop Gamestop from doing this practice from excluding them as resellers OR offer games as digital copies at a 30% discount.

          But they are too greedy and afraid of potential sale losses to put their money where their mouths are.

      • RinceWind

        You, stop speaking reason and get in your corner!

        • Trevor Davies

          I’ll go to the fun corner with Darryn *baits hook again* :D

          • RinceWind

            With Darryn, pah, sooner have more fun nailing your tongue to a gaslamp. DAMMIT!

  • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

    …lost me at “exclusive”

    • TiMsTeR1033

      I know right, whats up with these articles from zoe lately

      • Trevor Davies

        Give her a break dude, she writes on a Mac. ;)

        • TiMsTeR1033

          thats no excuse! I am thinking I should be writing articles… I find alot of crap to talk about. I am a pit of useless information. which in some cases becomes very useful. :)

          • Skyblue

            If the shoe fits…

          • TiMsTeR1033

            I assume I have been insulted… :(

          • Skyblue

            hugs

  • Ready at Noon

    “That said, I think that developers should strive to make better games – then people won’t want to trade it in!”…. That’s one ludicrous statement! Games are just too expensive and gamers will always be looking to do a trade-in. He is right about Gamestop every other retailer that sells second hand games. But hey, this trade-in fiasco has become a culture to gamers.

    • Argentil

      Then there should be higher value in the first-hand purchase of a game. Whether it’s DLC codes, multiplayer access, season passes etc. I’ve never had a problem with these methods. Instead of eliminating used games, depreciate their value so that retailers won’t make as much money selling them for $5 less than the new copy.

  • Skyblue

    If the PS4 adoption rate is slower than these guys are expecting watch how fast this game goes multiplat.

    Everyone is crying about used game sales except the last 2 cogs in the wheel, namely, the retailer and the consumer. The truth is that developers have no way to distribute their wares without retailers and have no business at all without consumers. So if pricing wasn’t as exorbitant as it is they would in all likelihood sell more copies upon release. I choose what I want based on quality (review based) vs price and when it comes to a title like TLOU and what I’ve seen of BF4, fuck it, take my money but if you don’t quite match up, fuck you, I’ll wait for a special or pick it up second hand.

  • Lourens Jordaan

    Developers get a piece of the pie when the game is bought first hand. Then they get some more for DLC sales. If someone buys the game second hand, then they double their chances of selling DLC. In the end the second hand market only improves the sell-by-date of the pie.

    • Skyblue

      Exactly but that’s why we get fucked with “on-disk-day-1-DLC” horseshit

    • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

      Precisely. If they kill the second hand marketthey destroy the industry.

      Second hand gamers will not buy games first hand because they can’t afford it, or at least would only buy very, very seldom.

      First hand sales would see only a fractional improvement and DLC sales would plummet. The market would start shrinking. Brick and mortar shops would struggle to survive.

      • Lourens Jordaan

        More and more developers will close their doors; stock markets will plummit; before you know it, it’s another black friday; governments collapse; chaos ensues and the earth is sent back to the dark ages (somewhere around the nineteen eighties)… oh the horror!!!

        • Argentil

          Ooo, that sounds grand. Who wants to start a band with me? Where can I find a good place to perm my hair?

      • Lourens Jordaan

        I believe that EA (aka: the devil *spit over left shoulder*) understands the DLC possibilities of the second-hand market. They recently dropped their obsession with “online pass” codes. This will improve second hand sales and as a result, expand the exposure of their beloved DLC. A disc on the second hand shelf is better than a disc in the trash or rarely opened drawer. Besides, a lazygamer review of a recently released DLC may convince me to get a cheap second hand copy in order to get said DLC but It’s not enough to get me to buy a first hand copy and then buy the DLC. The point being that the developer gets his piece of the pie.

        • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

          “A disc on the second hand shelf is better than a disc in the trash or rarely opened drawer” <- This. This a million times over.

  • Troll Slayer

    Dear PS4 developer, it’s Sony that’s behind this dilemma of yours. Take it up with the man that owns your soul. This topic will be a recurring argument from developers for the next decade. Watch this space.

    • BroMo

      Awwww…but Sony don’t give a shit about developers and their 2nd hand qualms. All they want to do is shove the PS4 down every gamers throats because it’s doing what Xbox Won isn’t. The console may have no exclusives in years to come but they don’t care.

      • Argentil

        You know, one Won (KRW) is worth R113,58.

    • Jo Average

      Selfish Sony only thinking off themselves.

  • Anon A Mouse

    You know I’m really getting fed up with these developers and their want attitude. Please show me one industry where the original manufacturer / developer receive money when an item is sold as second hand by the first original owner. Their entitlement to everything is ridiculous.

    • Argentil

      Blame Apple, they made everyone think selling ‘licenses’ to a single person was ok.

      • Skyblue

        Ah but blame Valve first, they started the crap with Half Life 2:

        To recap the launch:
        Day 1 internet connection required – check
        Unstable servers due to overload – check
        Gamers unable to play what they purchased on day 1 – check
        DRM bitches! – check

        For their sins? Unanimous declarations of Game Of The Year throughout the industry. For ours as consumers? Forever changing the landscape of gaming to our detriment.

        • Argentil

          I remember. I really do. I’ve not forgiven them for that, and no one should really. They did give us steam sales in return, but I really do value your point. You’re completely correct.

        • HvR

          Download steam crack day 2 – check
          Make Gabe fat joke -check

  • RinceWind

    Rince: “I’d like to buy this copy of The Last of Us please kind sir. Sir: “Sure, give me R600 and I will give you your game. Rince: “Here you go. Great stuff! I own it! Sir: “Just until you want to sell it laddy, then you need to pay me some more. You see, that way I can get more money for the game. I have set the price at R600, because that is what I need to get my investment back, BUT, if I make you pay me for a second time, I can finally drag race with Cliffy B” Rince: “Piratebay it is then…”

    • Skyblue

      LOL dude!!

  • RinceWind

    This is a problem we are all going to suffer I fear. Until such a time where second-hand games are either regulated, or banned we are going to have excuses coming from developers about why their game is sh1t.

  • xdvd

    Everybody forgets that Microsoft tried to remedy this with the Xbox One’s original policies. What happened? The internet exploded and said Microsoft is stupid (Sony included). Ready at Dawn should complain to Sony and that’s that. At least Microsoft tried to devise a system that could benefit developers too before they were forced by the internet lynch mob to change their ways. You want more money? Make your game multiplatform.

  • Andre116

    As a side note. The last 2 games I bought new was Tomb Raider and Dishonor. Both I bought only after trading in old games to make them affordable. I don’t mind buying new, but then the price needs to be right…and that sometimes only happens thanks to the second hand market.

  • Benign Adviser

    ‘You can’t make a living at the expense of everybody else.’ A very apt truism. There is a need for innovative games http://makemoney.hereishelpforyou.com

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