It truly baffles me the level of ignorance surrounding this subject. Yes, it's not black and white, but there is no doubt that pre-owned market is big business and cuts a significant chunk out of the pocket of the games industry.
I've read one argument above that no other media complains about the 2nd hand market, which may be true, but the revenue streams are very different. In gaming, the industry has one revenue stream in primary sales, and if they plan well a 2nd one in DLC, which, whilst fairly lucrative, not everyone buys into, no small number of people refuse outright to pay the price for CoD map packs, others wait on DLC they want to buy a GotY edition instead, and get all the DLC for cheaper. Primary sales is the real revenue stream for the industry. Other industries have a better revenue stream.
Film for example has movie ticket sales, which usually match the production costs at the very least. After that they have DVD and Blu Ray sales, licencing fees from TV showings. They also have a significant and well publicized revenue stream in additional licencing for toys, games, soundtracks, lunchboxes, posters and, yes video games. Of course, some games have this too, but nowhere near the extent that film does The point is, by the time the 2nd hand market comes into play, a film has gone through a number of revenue streams and made significant money, the 2nd hand market probably does actually take a good chunk of money from them, but it's so far down the line that they don't really notice or account for it.
TV is similar, all its revenue stream is in primary viewings and how the licencing fees for TV works, sales of DVD and Blu Ray are additional revenue streams, which, again, the 2nd hand market will likely impact, but again the bulk of their money comes from initial licencing fees.
Music? Its the first media to completely adopt the digital sales method which has seriously changed the market in the industries favour. But even so, lets look at the revenue streams for music. Initial revenue is from sales of singles, after that we have album sales, concert tickets, TV time and a huge merchandising structure. Music has always had numerous revenue streams of which sales of songs are only 1 part, which they have then managed to largely shore up thanks to digital sales.
Books, well I'll admit I don't know too much about the revenue model for books. I would assume though that 2nd hand sales have never ever featured as an issue for them. Yes 2nd hand books do massive business, but the difficult nature in finding particular books often means that people will simply search for the cheapest new copies they can find instead. I don't seen the 2nd hand market for books hugely impacting primary book sales. However, we now also have to consider digital sales once again. I don't know too much about the price of ebook and kindle book sales, but no doubt they have made a vastly significant difference in bringing new primary sales.
The point is that every other industry accounts for its sales differently, and have numerous other revenue streams that factor in. The games industry doesn't really. DLC, yes, that is one, but it requires the primary product unlike movies for example where you don't need to see the film in the cinema to then be able to go and buy the blu ray. The games industry lives and dies on its primary sales, and the 2nd hand market tears into that.
In my opinion, the games industry needs to wake up to its pricing. I'm not one of those people who thinks games are too expensive, I was paying £40 for a game 20 years ago (this is another area people need to consider, every other media has increased its prices over the years, except the games industry) and see no problem paying £40 now either, the problem though is that some great games get forgotten because of this price tag. Enslaved for example, a quality game and it didn't do well. Why? Because it was something that people really weren't sure about and it cost £40 to buy. People preferred to spend that money on something they were more comfortable with. Go figure. If the prices were lower than they are now, chances are that more people would have been willing to take a gamble on a great game. Unfortunately, why should bobby Kotick and Activision care whether a game like Enslaved sells well as long as they can continue to make their squillions from CoD?
I've said it before, this industry needs regulations and standards across the board that everyone has to adhere to. Microsoft also needs to wake up a bit too. The steam sales are a fantastic example of the right way of doing digital sales. If the complete AC collection appeared on GoD for £40 next year, I'd be tempted to buy it, and likely so would a lot of people. Similarly, right now you can buy the complete the ME collection new on disc for £40, if that turned up and GoD for £20 next year I'd snap that up in an instant. Great deals are one real way to make extra sales from games in the face of the 2nd hand market. I've owned all the AC games and all the ME games, and yet I'd still be willing to buy them all again in mass collections if the price was good.
“It's a movie. If you are going to believe and be affected by an action film, you shouldn't go to see Pocahontas because you are going to think you are a Disney princess” Chloe Grace Moretz, what a legend.