The Latest Essential Must-Have Technology™.
Re: "trade-ins have been a point of contention for publishers lately, who feel they're losing out on sales." & "Rentals and trade-ins do damage the industry"
I've not heard Ikea complaining about the resale of their tables and chairs.
I've not heard VW complaining about the resale of their vehicles.
In the case of the latter (and other car manufacturers), they've taken the initiative and decided to try and exert some control over the used market by offering added value (guarantees and finance on 2nd hand vehicles etc).
Why should I not be allowed to sell a tangible product that I've paid good money for?
Game publishers need to realise that a vast amount of their custom is based on the desire of a certain demographic to go chasing "The Shiny". Otherwise known as... The Latest Essential Must-Have Technology™.
Even though the the reseller buys low and sells comparatively high, there is a strong resale market due to the fact that a sufficiently large demographic recognises that FIFA 09 is perhaps not worth paying the full RRP for when FIFA 08, 07, & 06 can be had for less, less & even less.
Lets's take a look at prices on Amazon for FIFA on the Xbox360:
FIFA 09: £22.96 new, from £19.00+1.94 P&P used, RRP £49.99(!)
FIFA 08: £12.99 new, from £2.50+1.94 P&P used, RRP £24.99
FIFA 08 ("Classic" packaging - identical game to '08) : £17.99 new(!), from £6.93+1.94 P&P used, RRP £24.99
FIFA 07: £10.02 new, from £1.18+1.94 P&P used, RRP £29.99
FIFA 06 (Road to the World Cup): £39.13 new(!), from £2.39+1.94 P&P used, RRP £49.99(!)
Or you can rent the game and garner the desired utility from the product for a couple of quid per night. Rentals add a further element to the mix. That of keeping the publishers "honest". It's an opportunity to playtest the game and see if you want to purchase it for keeps rather than just hire it for a while.
Imagine if car showrooms didn't let you testdrive vehicle before purchasing it. It'd be seen as utter madness. And I know that if a showroom wouldn't let me testdrive their vehicle, I'd spend £20 a day to someone who is willing to rent it to me while I make up my mind.
Or how about if Ikea put all their furniture behind glass screens and wouldn't let you get hands on with their furniture before committing to a purchase. They're not quite identical analogies (when are they ever), but it illustrates my point.
And as long as the ability to rip a console game and sell the original disc is not as it is for CDs and DVDs, the bouyant second hand games industry only goes to prove provides unequivocal support for the allegation that the games producers are pumping out too far much generic filler. Filler that only a select few are willing to pay for because they value the perceived caché of owning The Latest Essential Must-Have Technology™.
But The Latest Essential Must-Have Technology™ element of gaming has become marginalised of late. This is evident in sales of the Wii compared to the PS3. Essentially the Wii is GameCube v1.5, but with some wavy sticks. And it's a lot of fun. For a while. But there's limited mileage in it. Just like there'll be ever more limited mileage in punting out FIFA 10, 11, 12...
Put simply, Supply is outstripping demand. It's not difficult to understand.