At the moment the world has countless of dead artists. The amount will grow in the future. They all have at one thing common; most of their work will make most profit after their life.
Imagine Sistine Chapel in your mind. Throughout the Renaissance many artists worked on its paintings so that the church would have a grand place for worship. These artists never imagined how much money their work would do in the following centuries. Paintings usually skyrocket in price after their original author has passed away, and the money they fetch might not even come into the artist’s own family. Van Gogh and Picasso most likely never even imagined how priceless their paintings would ultimately become. Some paintings have simply become priceless and their monetary value can’t nver be properly measured. Sistine Chapel is one example of said art.
To create art that will last generations after generations is difficult, if not almost impossible. One has to have exceptional artistic skills, but even more than that proper connections and fame, and most importantly, live in proper place at proper times. Every thing, in the end, is at hands of chance. There is only so much that one can do to get accepted to art galleries, and find the right people at right mind set to view their work and get their positive approval. It’s insanely impossible, and that one thing makes every successful artist even more enjoyable occasion.
I am, of course, speaking mostly of paintings, sculptures and similar traditional form of art. Films nowadays seem to make the most profit on the cinemas and on disc sales. These sales are instant. This kind of market is somewhat young and there’s no real proof whether or not old VHS tapes fetch high prices. However, dead actors and film directors do not get money on the reruns of their films and disc releases. As time goes by, the film studio with the rights to these films will keep obtaining that money. Thus, if we think the studio as the artist, is the only kind of artist that keeps making money that belongs to it for the longest of times. People do change however, and this human aspect must be kept in mind.
Music is in similar place. The record studios will keep making money long after the artist is dead. In principle some people have decided to pirate dead artists’ music in order to avoid giving money to the studios. Whether or not this a moral thing to do is questionable.
Video games are in a slightly different situation. Some rare games fetch very high prices on second-hand markets, and the studios will never see the light of these money. As with classical art, games make the most money years after their initial release, and companies have noted this. I haven’t heard film or record studios trying to stop reselling a purchased product, but game companies are trying this as we speak. The companies argue that used games sales hurt their sales. As a consumer we do not want to pay full price of a product that has less value to us. I paid 12€ to see Green Lantern in 3D. I don’t mind paying so much, as I do have some cash to spare into my interests. I would’ve have gone to a 2D show if they had offered one, because I do not value 3D films over traditional 2D. The difference in price is five euros or so, thus it really doesn’t matter; the versions are the same film and I can always work for money. By the way, our local film theatre is having false results in the popularity of 3D films because they do not really offer 2D versions until the very last weeks.
Personally I try to find games new as much as possible. However, I am not willing to pay 60€ for any of games that are being released in the following year for either 360 or PlayStation 3. Wii has solely THREE games that I am adamant of purchasing; Xenoblade Chronicles, Pandora Tomorrow and Last Story. I’ve found myself thinking that L.A. Noire has too high price of 25€ new, but I am willing to pay 65€ for Thunderforce V for the Sega Saturn. Most modern games, like most of modern films (and perhaps art in general) won’t fetch high prices after twenty years have passed. People will still pay a lot for Thunderforce V or Radiant Silvergun. Nobody will pay even 5€ for L.A. Noire, Assasin’s Creed or even Metal Gear Solid 4. The latter one most likely has a new remaster release then either way.
Game companies will find that their ‘art’ will have even more instant sales if they’d follow the examples of good artists. Then the second-hand sales won’t bother so much.