Quantic Dream - 'a million people (are) playing my game without giving me one cent'

By Joseph Christ on September 12th, 2011 (36 comments)

Quantic Dream co-founder Guillaume de Fondaumiere has appeaned on GameIndustry.biz to, among other things, complain about the used game market.  More specifically, they claim to have lost $13.6 million on Heavy Rain due to the sale of used games.

"I can take just one example of Heavy Rain - we basically sold to date approximately two million units, we know from the trophy system that probably more than three million people bought this game and played it. On my small level it's a million people playing my game without giving me one cent. And my calculation is, as Quantic Dream, I lost between €5 and €10 million worth of royalties because of second hand gaming." he added " I think this is one of the number one problems right now in the industry."

Of course, let's not take any personal responsibility at all. At the moment Heavy Rain is standing at an 87 on metacritic with a meager 6.7 user score. The game, though making some interesting attempts at narrative, is also one long, badly written, QTE event with some major moments pulled wholesale from popular movies.  But,  this doesn't stop Mr. Fondaumiere from reeling at the sacrifices he has had to endure due to people buying his game second hand. And, he adds, this sacrifice is so much to bear that developers might stop making games altogether!

 "Well I'm not so sure this is the right approach and I think that developers and certainly publishers and distributors should sit together and try to find a way to address this. Because we're basically all shooting ourselves in the foot here. Because when developers and publishers alike are going to see that they can't make a living out of producing games that are sold through retail channels, because of second hand gaming, they will simply stop making these games. And we'll all, one say to the other, simply go online and to direct distribution. So I don't think that in the long run this is a good thing for retail distribution either."

Yes, we hear all the time from the likes of Ken Levine, Cliffy B, Todd Howard and others that they are suffering so much due to the used game market that they might just stop making games and get jobs at In and Out Burger, or work as desk clerks for Activision. I'm glad Mr. Fondaumiere has found the resolve to brave the slings and arrows in order to bring this important issue to the forefront.

[Source: Gameindustry.biz]

Tags: Heavy Rain, guillaume de fondaumiere, PS3, Quantic Dream

Joseph Christ

Joseph Christ is the Reviews Editor and a Podcast Personality at 4Player. Specializing in reviews, editorials, drinking, and saying inappropriate things about gaming franchises that are beloved by millions, his satirical and sometimes edgy style offsets a more serious and penetrating substance lurking below the surface. He is also the host of the Cocktail Time Podcast. You'll follow his Twitter if you know what's good for you.

Comment!
  • Hamstallion 3 years, 3 months ago

    People should not adapt to the needs of businesses, businesses should adapt to the needs of people. Also businesses does not look like a proper word Businessi ?

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    • Minyme 3 years, 3 months ago

      But isnt the online pass system adapting to the people's actions in buying games?

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  • Zladko 3 years, 3 months ago

    People are always going to let other people borrow their games, or sell them to others, or pirate it. They need to understand that if their game is good enough most people will actually care to support them and buy it.

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  • Greg the Keg 3 years, 3 months ago

    This right here is a huge reason why digital stores (Steam, XBL Marketplace and PSN Store) are booming and downloadable games have been on the rise in recent years. I do think Fondaumiere has a point, even if his delivery of it isn't the greatest. I think Heavy Rain would have received huge acclaim from gamers if it was a downloadable game rather than disc-based (albeit the visuals would likely have had to take a hit). The QTE-based gameplay had its pluses and minuses, the voice acting was bad and the story was lacking, but moment-to-moment the game was enthralling. I think it's a lot easier to forgive a game's shortcomings if it's downloadable and does one thing really well. And, of course, Mr. Fondaumiere wouldn't have to worry about used game sales eating into his own share of royalties.

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  • Trusis 3 years, 3 months ago

    I can't understand that buying used or renting games is money lost, but Why would someone keep a game if they aren't going to every play it again and even going as far as saying the game is shit and a waste of money (Which I've heard some people say about Heavy Rain) Business people are in it to make money, they truly don't care about wants and needs of the consumer. Flip-side the developers are in it to make a great game and want people to enjoy, so you have People like Suda 51 making unique awesome games with "It SHOULD be Better" sales, but you rarely see him bitching about money.

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  • TheFlameLurker 3 years, 3 months ago

    He is a business man, what more is there to say? He cares about his stocks, his companies profits, and his own. It doesn't sound like this man ever really cared about shipping a quality title as much as he cared about cutting costs and lining his own pocket.

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    • Cvillain 3 years, 3 months ago

      Well, there is something to say for losing roughly a 3rd of your sales to used game markets

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  • Berserker976 3 years, 3 months ago

    Hmmm. I believe somewhere in there he says that the cause of this is that games are too expensive, and that's why he feels people buy used games. So.. he wasn't blaming people for buying used games, he WAS saying that businesses should adapt to the needs of the people, it's really a fair point.

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    • kickliquid 3 years, 3 months ago

      ^^^^^ THIS!!!!!! ^^^^^

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  • John 3 years, 3 months ago

    That's what he gets for abandoning the dlcs for heavy rain, ain't karma a bitch.

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  • lemith 3 years, 3 months ago

    Interesting article, thanks!

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  • CrossOutlaw 3 years, 3 months ago

    "We broke!" should explain why we borrow games more often or buy second hand. But honestly though not many games out there are worth the 60$ price tag. I mean a single player only game with no real replay-ability is a bit hard to buy on launch day, even if its a good game.

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  • wilko2603 3 years, 3 months ago

    A lot of games cost way too much and offer so little in terms of content. Apart from games like skyrim I always buy 2nd hand.

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  • Pat 3 years, 3 months ago

    Heavy Rain was an amazing game. I fucking loved every second of it

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  • Seth 3 years, 3 months ago

    They could just move into the PC market Problem solved, herpderp

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  • GoroLink94 3 years, 3 months ago

    I hope this doesn't mean that Quantic Dream isn't doing well financially. Although I agree that Heavy Rain had some serious issues, as did Indigo Prophecy, this developer is definitely talented and I can't wait to see what their next project will be. Heavy Rain stands as one of my favourite PS3 games, mostly because it emotionally affected me in a way that few other games have. I understand that issues in voice acting, writing, etc. stopped some people, like Joseph, from enjoying the game fully. However, I let these things slide. Most games that tell an above-average story (i.e. Mass Effect, Red Dead Redemption, Dragon Age are some recent examples) serve to just tell a story to the player and that's it. Granted, some games, like BioWare games, let you play out the story the way you want to. But Heavy Rain is one of the only games I've played (another is NieR) that's made me step back multiple times, either while playing or not playing. Heavy Rain's dark story reminded me that while we'd like to think that our world is all nice and happy and safe, it's really not, and *possible spoilers?* when I found out who the killer was, I was shocked more than I've been with almost any other plot twist in a game. I apologize for that tangent. I just strongly feel that if some of the problems Heavy Rain had were addressed, Quantic Dream's next game could be phenomenal.

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    • Bombader 3 years, 3 months ago

      In a way I agree, though to me when I realize that your actions does not change the story in a profound way the entire experience is cheapened. Such as the killer was the same guy no matter who died, which makes the experience a one playthrough game. You seriously can rent the game, beat it, then only buy it if you don't have the memory to remember what the game was like. I can't wait for a Dragon's Lair game though, I'm surprised one hasn't been remade with Heavy Rain controls in mind.

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  • ex_machina 3 years, 3 months ago

    It's amazing these mediocre game CEOs get off thinking they should be making more when the game sucks. Just because it gets six figure funding doesn't mean they can coast and make a shitty game.

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  • Comradebearjew 3 years, 3 months ago

    I really liked Heavy Rain, but he shouldn't be complaining about this stuff.

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  • Muddy_Donuts 3 years, 3 months ago

    What an ass

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  • Aged Milk 3 years, 3 months ago

    I see no problem with him or his company being upset over lost sales. He was, to the point, antagonizing a broken business practice that DOES in fact hurt the both ends of the industry; both the developers and the consumers. Let's be honest here. Look how much the value of a game deteriorates after a person has bought it and played it even just once. The resale plummets massively when going to a chain like Gamestop and attempting to trade it in. Meanwhile the same used game retailer will turn around and sell the used copy for a meager $4-10 cheaper than it's new counterpart. This has actually been having a negative effect on the natural decline in retail value of products as well. Or have we not noticed that some games have been taking nearly 2 years to go from there $60 launch point to the $40 mark?

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    • Greg the Keg 3 years, 3 months ago

      Couldn't agree more, very well said.

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  • Kou 3 years, 3 months ago

    That guy has to be someone who hasn't noticed the economy has seriously tanked. Of course people are buying more used games, and selling their game after they're done with it with how the economy is now. Dude should wake up and realise what's going on around him instead of just whining that he isn't making as much as he thinks he should. Not to mention, it's one thing to complain about piracy. Complaining about people buying used games? At least they're actually buying your game, bro. If I couldn't buy stuff used or during one of those crazy steam sales, I wouldn't be buying /any/ games right now.

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  • Sir_Kibble 3 years, 3 months ago

    In some industries, the ultimate game changers have been the companies that recognize that piracy and secondhand sales are a symptom of a failure of marketing rather than a failure of the consumers. Crunchyroll baing a good example, as highlighted in this article: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/04/competing-with-free-anime-site-treats-piracy-as-a-market-failure.ars

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  • Minyme 3 years, 3 months ago

    Hmm, I'm a little torn on this one. I'm not sure if it's the game makers/markerters or the consumers fault. I see the point he's getting at, over a million people are playing their game without any support what-so-ever to the dev, but on the other hand I belive in free trade with used games and movies. Idk about this one.

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  • Kevin Schnaubelt 3 years, 3 months ago

    the only game ive ever bought used was FEAR 2 lol, and if they want to choke renting to death they need to simply price there games competivly with the rent....peoples. eventualy it will stear people to just buy then new and suffocate the rent peoples. then they can better control price to time ratios

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    • Cvillain 3 years, 3 months ago

      Please child...never go into any sort of business where profit or the bottom line is the focus...because you don't understand money very well...

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  • xXM3GXx 3 years, 3 months ago

    Aye, buying used games is wrong, so is being a smug money-grubbing doucher and charging 60€ for one big shitty QTE- game. I'd rather buy it used and pay around 30€ and be at least moderately satisfied with my purchase. Also, with a price of 30€ I can at least downscale my letdown for not using a shitload of money on something that turned out to be a piece of shit. There are very few games I'm going to buy on it's release date and the next one is coming out on the 20th. I'll give you a hint (It's Gears of War 3, which is actually good.)

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    • Greg the Keg 3 years, 3 months ago

      Where have you ever seen a used game going for 50% the price of its new counterpart? Aged Milk has it right, consumers are getting gouged and developers are kinda getting screwed with the system retailers have in place now.

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  • Lethalz 3 years, 3 months ago

    These game companies should start their own trade in service. Then they can resell them back to the public and still earn money on used games. Once the game gets sort of old and they feel they arn't going to move their current stock then they should throw in some sort of dlc such as a skin etc to try and tempt people into buying because an extra skin or something similar costs nothing to the company as they are most likely going to have left over stuff that diddnt make it into the final game anyway as thats what most dlc turns out to be.

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  • SithSymbiosis 3 years, 3 months ago

    I've just heard of this news recently. I didn't realize it was on the front page since I don't come here often. But when aside from stocks, I wasn't expecting HR bashing. Especially for the writing. Anyway, I hope they don't suffer what happened to Team Bondi.

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  • Big Winters 3 years, 3 months ago

    He's got a point, but so does everyone else who's made this exact argument these last couple years. Nothing's changed, and nothing will until everything goes fully digital or the stores don't sell used games (which will never happen). And it's not as if other media's aren't 'suffering' from used sales. I'm a big fan of literature, but I couldn't tell you the last time I bought a new book of the shelves of a store for full price. I download most of my music off amazon or itunes because it's cheaper as well. I imagine Heavy Rain is also just the type of game that suffers mostly from this kind of thing. Going in, you either fully for it, or you unsure of what it is. These experimental games, trying to break the boundaries of traditional will always suffer, as do any media the same thing. You can't be experimental, but then complain that no-one bought it; you can't have it both ways. You can't be fresh and exciting and different, but also something that the average gamer wants to buy. They just don't want that, they want their games that they know and understand and enjoy. Ask the average gamer if they want fully-voiced characters, an intricate plot or innovative controls. I doubt they would, but that's the facts of life. Either be innovative and realise that your not going to sell that many copies and keep it cheap as possible to make, or make it big, stupid and generic and hope you cash in on the average gamer. But on another topic, I bought Xenoblade Chonicles yesterday, I bought Shadows of the Damned day one, and already paid for my copy of Dark Souls. Some gamers will support what they love, but there will never be enough of them to make your money back.

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  • Cvillain 3 years, 3 months ago

    Come to think of it...before the internet, and therefore piracy, we never really had these gigantic elaborate Special Hardcore Massive FunTime Collector's Editions launching with virtually every title. Which are ingenious because you can't buy those used, save for like, Ebay or something. Then again I guess they only really help launch sales.

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  • Rendrak 3 years, 3 months ago

    Well boo-fucking-hoo. Used game sales are destroying the gaming industry. And libraries are destroying the book industry. Maybe if you made a game that was actually worth spending 60 bucks for on release date I wouldn't wait until it drops to 20 bucks or cheaper.

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  • lunao 3 years, 3 months ago

    I think we are all aware that used games have a huge impact on game sales, but i think it's important for everyone to look at both sides of the arguments before we start bashing each other. while i did enjoy Heavy Rain i don't feel like it was a game that warranted the $60 price tag and for that i can understand why some people would choose to rent or buy it used. Honestly, In my opinion Quantic needs to focus more on making games where people feel like they're actually getting their moneys worth. i wonder how many people wouldn't have even bothered with the game if they couldn't get it at a lower price. That being said i do feel that they're a lot of games that don't truly sale as much as they should due to rentals and used sales but maybe Heavy Rain isn't the best example. we have to remember that just because the wrong person is bringing attention to a problem doesn't me that it isn't a problem. I'm not blaming the gamers in anyway. almost every market in existence has been faced with a similar problem. one of the most basic qualities of running a business is being able to adapt to a constantly changing, constantly evolving market, and if your not able to do that then, well... maybe your in the wrong line of work P.S. Still love u Heavy Rain

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  • Marsh D Teach 3 years, 2 months ago

    Business people....

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