Gamasutra's Paul Hyman has a gloom and doom look at the used games market and why publishers are very unhappy with the situation; the comments section is surprisingly lively, and it's worth a look.
While GameStop (the main player in the used game market) management declined to comment, but several industry types (like David Braben of Frontier) put in their two cents. On how the used game market is bad!!!!!! for the industry at large, Braben had this to say:
"... [We] don't see anything from the used-game sales, which is one reason why the price of new games throughout the industry remains artificially high," he says. "I mean, the industry has to make all its money from the first sale since we don't get a penny from the subsequent dozen or so sales of that same game."
The used-game market may also be negatively affecting the quality of games, he notes. "Five years ago, a great game would have sold for a longer period of time than for a bad game — which was essentially our incentive to make great games."
"But no longer. Now publishers and developers just see revenue the initial few weeks regardless of the game's quality and then gamers start buying used copies which generates money that goes into GameStop's pocket, nobody else's."
It does sound pretty whiny (as one analyst notes, "... publishers want their cake and eat it too. They want the used games business."), and as many people note, the used car that gets trotted out isn't particularly apt. Being a fan of good used bookstores, I wonder what book publishers think about that particular resale market (since this is hardly exclusive to the game industry).