GTA parent publisher talks next-gen used games

Take-Two Interactive CEO says "If Microsoft has figured out a way to tax used games, then we should get paid, too."

Grand Theft Auto parent publisher Take-Two Interactive has weighed in on the discussion surrounding next-generation consoles and used games.

Speaking today during the Cowen Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference, CEO Strauss Zelnick said if Microsoft receives a cut of used game sales--as is rumored--so should Take-Two.

"There's no question that if Microsoft has figured out a way to tax used games, then we should get paid, too. It's hard to imagine why they should and we shouldn't," Zelnick said.

Retail sources told MCV last week that retailers will be able to charge whatever they want for secondhand Xbox One games, but Microsoft and publishers will receive a cut of every transaction.

Take-Two's stance on used games, Zelnick said, is not to "whine" about missing out on revenue, but rather to focus on creating compelling experiences so gamers do not trade their titles in.

"Our view about used games has been, as opposed to whining or figuring out ways to punish the consumer for buying used games, we've figured out we better delight the consumer," Zelnick said.

"Let's push up our quality, which you've seen in our Metacritic scores, and then let's make sure to give people DLC, often free, three or four weeks out; which is the time you're at risk for them trading in their game," he added. "If you can keep the game in consumer's hands for 8 weeks, you almost don't care anymore about used game sales because it's the first 8 weeks that really nail you."

Overall, Zelnick explained that Take-Two would rather have the ability to sell new games, but isn't sour on the used game prospects for next-generation consoles just yet.

He said the company is "somewhat hopeful" that the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 will allow Take-Two to participate in used game sales, though he did not provide any further details.

The Xbox One and PS4 will support used games, though how systems will work for both platforms remains unclear. Microsoft told Wired that users must pay a fee to play secondhand titles, while Sony has said decisions about activation fees will be left up to individual publishers.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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1656 comments
KarloCam
KarloCam

I agree with Zelnick completely! If your worried about used games....then make a damn game that people love so much that they don't want to F**kin sell!!!

1947gamer
1947gamer

Micro$ will be out of the game industry with this piece of crap.

mbize2007
mbize2007

I wish all console game purchases were digital, completely eliminating the used games market and need to mass produce media to distribute the game. Then games could actually be sold at a more reasonable price in the first place because developers wouldn't have to factor in lost revenue from people purchasing used games. Think I'm crazy? Go look at the prices on Steam and compare them to the prices on Xbox/PS3...

ShowgunSam
ShowgunSam

This is why will continue to support 2K and any of their sister divisions, Rockstar in particular, until the day I decide not to play games anymore. They're pro-consumer and it's that simple. "Instead of whining about missing out on revenue, let's instead focus on making fantastic titles." Strauss isn't just a CEO in a higher echelon, he's a consumer, just like the rest of us, who also has a very firm grasp on what makes the gaming community tick.

whoisao
whoisao

"Take-Two's stance on used games, Zelnick said, is not to "whine" about missing out on revenue, but rather to focus on creating compelling experiences so gamers do not trade their titles in."  This right here, this ish right here! Yeah, I agree 1000% with this ish right here. 

eran_1
eran_1

I have no problem with developers and console makers getting revenues out of used games. Why should only shops make a lot of money out of this market, yet, developers won't get a dime? 

And don't forget that when you buy a game, almost all of your money goes to the developers work put into it (and the console maker), and not to the disk and package, which are worthless. So used games are different than used cars!

maybock3000
maybock3000

I'm not buying an XBone or a PS4 for a few reasons. I just don't like the idea of feeling like I owe either company anything more than beyond the purchase of hardware and software. I don't want to have to do a LOT of things that will be required of me on these two systems. I am really bummed out about it and never imagined it would come to this. Not to mention these two companies have destroyed future retro gaming of these systems 20+ years down the road; it will be impossible. Very sad.

ibemonty2000
ibemonty2000

We need an update to the First Sale Doctrine that specifies that a company can't lockout a product after the 1st owner is done with it. Imagine if a car company installed DRM so that the key wouldn't turn the car on after it transferred ownership to someone else via the DMV records? It would cause a massive outrage. Why should the game I bought be devalued by DRM after I bought it, rendering it worth less than it was or completely worthless? 

Already we see Battlefield 3 selling for $18 used and $20 new. Anyone who "saves" $2 by buying used and wants to play online will find out that they gotta pay $10 when then get on XBL, making their used copy cost $28 vs $20 new. That kills the resale value if I'm wanting to sell MY copy of BF3, and that is taking away value from my product after I bought it. This kind of anti-consumer DRM garbage is why I buy used at the $5-20 price point.

tevic
tevic

I really hope legislation will give back users their rights.

For example MS can ban your account with all your games if they want to.

Companies should not have this kind of unchecked power on their clients. It should just be ILLEGAL.

Aspire85
Aspire85

How much tax will I have to pay on my games if I get my console modded and rattle off some pirate copies? 


Kid_Giles
Kid_Giles

The gaming industry is like anything else, survival of the fittest. It's all about who wins over the majority of the people. And while I think Microsoft is just a bunch of greedy a-holes, I trust that the voice of people will cause them to change their ways fairly quickly. So far, I've come across maybe two or three people who ACTUALLY like this Xbox One. If you don't like what they're doing, say something. Spread the word. Otherwise, you have a corporation like this ripping people off. It isn't right at all. Games and consoles are expensive enough! It's ridiculous to think that Microsoft practically wants to take your income from you. But all I am really trying to say is: don't buy their garbage. It isn't worth it. It's literally fee after fee. Between games, Xbox live, the console itself, and now a pre-owned free? That's insane. If you're a true gamer, stand up for yourself and let these a-holes know that this isn't right. They will only succeed if you let them. 

magusat999
magusat999

If ever there was an opportunity for a new console to hit the market it's now. Just like Sony came into the industry with the machine Nintendo rejected and killed them, there is a market need for a console that will give gamers what they want instead of forcing other someone else's agenda upon us. Too bad Nintendo can't get over themselves - I'd pay SEGA to come back to the hardware market if I could! 

The simplest thing would be to make a small PC with hookups to TV (all options, not just HDMI) and a wireless controller - that can be done now(media PCs). Actually, if people did this, and developers made their games with a minimum requirement option so that the number of players can be maximized, there would be no need for consoles - especially the Xbutt None.

Esettstone
Esettstone

I fully agree with you. People are being over charged for shit games. This is why i game on a PC. It is in the long run cheaper. I live in Romania and in my country most people game on PC for this very reason. Consoles are far too expensive when you factor in the cost of games.

dcaseng
dcaseng

I can't believe how blatant the rip-offs are becoming. They are basically screwing over their BEST customers. These are the people who have supported their products for years, and they want to RECHARGE them for the very same products they already paid for?

I knew the whole "making next gen consoles backwards compatible will make the consoles more expensive" excuses were just a bunch of bull. They are willing to spend any amount necessary to come up with ways to charge customers for games they already paid for previously. People need to stop being so weak and giving in to this extortion.

pity-the-sadnes
pity-the-sadnes

The Government should put an End to that stupid tax shit. What gives Microsoft the right to do that. We should stop buying games from those company's who support that. I hope ppl file a law suit against them. I bought a game so its mine and they have no right to charge for that disc again if i decide sell it or purchase a pre-owned. Get This Microshit and Take Poo MAKE GAMES CHEAPER!!

mokalid
mokalid

xbox one ready for flash

hwrdstrnsbals
hwrdstrnsbals

I dont see the big deal.  For one,  its sort of been like this for past few years with VIP passes and the like.  The good thing that is happening, that no one ever points out, is that publishers are dropping their prices rather quickly compared to the past.  If your not patient enough to wait 3 months, then it's not feasible, but I'll buy new copies of AAA titles that I want for $40 all day long.  Used copies of recent games are $20-30, then you might have to tack on $10 for a VIP pass.  I recently purchased Tomb Raider for $40, played through it, and traded it in for $22 toward a new ($40) copy of Dead Space 3.  So I experienced the whole of TR for 18 bucks and change.  

TheLamaKnows
TheLamaKnows

Complicated, fee based pricing schemes are almost always a red flag for a rip-off. There is a reason why a simpler sale just won't do. Like the phone plans of a few years ago that looked to charge you nickel and dime for every different feature rather than give you a flat rate. Or the US tax code...but I digress.
If all these pricing schemes were intended to lower the initial cost of the product, an argument could be made for them. But not one dev or retailer is talking about a lower purchase price to begin with. They simply are piling on more nickels and dimes to their already inflated purchase cost.
Bottom line, they want more money for their games. But rather than just raising the purchase price, they figure they'll make more with this byzantine system of fees largely hidden from the consumer. We'd rather pay $100 for something over time than pay $80 up front. MS knows this, and is laughing all the way to the bank.

bamarolltide16
bamarolltide16

"Our view about used games has been, as opposed to whining or figuring out ways to punish the consumer for buying used games, we've figured out we better delight the consumer,"

At least they realize it...sadly the rest of the companies don't see it the same way.

Celtic_34
Celtic_34

i won't be supporting an industry that continues to incur taxes and fees on its customers.  This is getting pathetic.  Microsoft is already forcing people to be always connected, use kinect, pay fees on top of fees.  Microooft wants a cut of my online service.  they want a cut of the games i play.  they want a cut of the tv shows i watch. Pretty soon they will be forcing you to watch commercials to continue playing your game.   I'd rather have control over the things i buy.  Afterall it's my money i'm spending. 

GSGuy321
GSGuy321

We used to have an industry that was FOR the gamers.

Now we have an industry that COMES AT the gamers.

kangsta1111
kangsta1111

the truth is that the full effect of this used game rights business wont be felt until it is 100% marketed, on the shelves before christmas etc.

Although the online gaming community in terms of forums and news are large and growing, it is still relatively small, and many people who dont visit gaming websites havent got the faintest idea about the hidden costs and massive disadvantages something like this will bring.

Only then will this crazy idea of charging for used games be truely in the public eye, when 100% of the gaming community come aware, instead of the 5-10% or whatever % actively seek gaming news.

That is when the gamers will have the full power to embarrass and protect against such acts. 

Andromeda13
Andromeda13

This is pathetic. Everyone in the gaming industry is preying like wolves on gamers. There are many who are tight on money so can not buy these expensive games but would love to trade or buy second hand games. But these corporations want to squeeze everything out of it. There is no more respect for the gamer but we are seen as pure cash cows.

theblackfrog
theblackfrog

this fee for used games sux extremely......its not worth  to buy used games.then.

Javier
Javier

Not counting free pre-order DLC like a weapon or a crappy costume, I cant really remember free DLC form 2K.  Help me remember, anyone?
Thx!

thegroveman
thegroveman

@mbize2007 The PC market hasn't had used games in a decade.  Right now in the console market, 70% of trade-in credit goes towards new game purchases.  To me that seems like a huge potential loss of day-one revenue for publishers, and we all know if a game doesn't sell 5 million copies in its first week it's an abject failure.

Aspire85
Aspire85

@eran_1 Don't know about you but I tend to borrow and swap games with my mates and family.

SambaLele
SambaLele

@eran_1 Yeah, because used products, something we legitimately bought are not ours to sell or lend as we want.

Let's also pay a fee to Volkswagen and Chevrolet when we sell our used cars...

inthepastxx
inthepastxx

@maybock3000 Only issue you here.  It wont be long until both companies cut ties to the old generation.  Much; much quicker then before.  Your almost forced to buy up at some point or go the PC road.

Jasper_73
Jasper_73

@Kid_Giles absolutely i certainly wont be buying an "exbox one" not sure about a ps4 yet but it will be a while before i can afford to buy a console anyway. for now it will be whatever games can run on my pc.

inthepastxx
inthepastxx

@magusat999 First, the changing the name of the xbox is stupid and old.  Second, PC's can do all that you mentioned....  I'm not sure where your getting at here.  As well PC prices would skyrocket, more than what they already are.  Sure console prices and low-end Gaming PC's  are inching closer than ever in price but still.


Oh, lastly you have the nerve to put down MS and yet your advertising PC's....  Profit goes to Microsoft.

chuchupika
chuchupika

@dcaseng Don't forget about the on-disc DLC (capcom).  That was pretty evil.  The best for the industry is for the price of games to go down.  I noticed that games drop significantly in price at the 8 week mark.  So  how will we do it?  We wait for 2 month, it will go from original price to 30 bucks buying new instead of used.  

neonblueshadow
neonblueshadow

@pity-the-sadnes  the government is more focused on limiting the games industry, they couldn't care less about its financial woes...


TheLamaKnows
TheLamaKnows

@hwrdstrnsbals I see what you're saying, but the initial purchase isn't going down. The devs simply found a way to make games $90 over time rather than charge more than the current $65 norm at the time of purchase. It's just a series of hidden fees to do it as a smokescreen. 

And you won't be buying those titles so cheaply in a couple months- because the seller still needs to cover his own costs plus now fees to devs. Three months down the line you'll be paying $10 less for a title rather than half price. Those fees aren't going to drop in relation to the game's age.

It's crazy. No other industry operates like that. Even entertainment like DVD's never considered the things theirs after it was purchased. A house, a car- real things far more important than video games-- and none of them operate under this business model. I can sell my car without having to pay Dodge again....

tevic
tevic

@TheLamaKnows Hope this can be attacked as abuse of dominant position. 2 High Def console makers + a bunch of publishers make a perfect case for Oligopoly.

Being so few give them the power to flout consumers. I hope it will be investigated.

inthepastxx
inthepastxx

@MatrixGamer78 Boycott MS, huh?  You realize just how big of a company they are?  Much more than making a game console.

TURBO-BURNER
TURBO-BURNER

@GSGuy321 

With most inputted features that would of been worth for a DIGITAL BOX

Rather than better inputted features for a CONSOLE

SopranosFan
SopranosFan

@kangsta1111 I am telling everybody that will listen that if they want to borrow my games they have to wait until I can come over to play it.  they are not ammused.

Cypress131
Cypress131

@Andromeda13 

As a developer working at a small game development studio, I resent your use of "Everyone".

Game developers are fine with the second-hand market being the way it is. Microsoft is the one who wants to cash-in by changing it. All that game developers are saying, is that if there WAS a tax, then Microsoft is not where the tax should go.

Zevvion
Zevvion

@theblackfrog Can't believe people still think this is true. On some level I don't blame you because Microsoft sure as hell wasn't clear, but if you just took the time to read official stuff for yourself instead of only reading comments of people freaking out, you'd know there is no fee for used games when you go through set up channels.

And even that is still a rumor.

Cypress131
Cypress131

@Javier 

XCOM: Enemy Unknown came out with a free "Second Wave" DLC.

magusat999
magusat999

@inthepastxx @magusat999  Your right, I am putting down MicroSlagg - not the company, but the specific policy. Just because a person utilizes a company doesn't mean they have to like all that they do - that's called fanboyism.

I don't care what you or anyone else thinks about what someone calls the Xbarf Bun - that's my prerogative to express it that way if I choose.Nobody is asking for your editorial blessing before they post, and I'm sorry if it bothers you but toughen up. That won't be the first time in your life your going to hear something you don't like, so get ready for the real world.

My post was already saying that the PC can do all that. That's why I put the term "media PC" in parentheses. The fact is, the Xbox is really a console that is actually not even necessary, and it perplexes me why MicroSpank, who makes the bulk of their income from PC software sales,  even started making it. Using a PC as a game device is not expensive, btw - for one thing you don't have a upgrade a PC as often as console come out. You also do not have to have the newest components that come off the factory line - even at moderate settings games look and play much better on a PC than on any console - and that is not going to change with the new consoles. The point is that there is an option and its easier than people who are dumb to PCs and PC gaming think. Unlike a console, you can start with a cheap PC - or even a used one and take that hardware up to whatever level of power you need - its more economical, and you can take your time instead of laying out a fat wad of cash all at once.

TheLamaKnows
TheLamaKnows

@neonblueshadow @pity-the-sadnes Yup. Commerce is good so there is no gov't motivation to care. The only role gov't is interested in is the appearance of acting on a perceived threat (game violence this month, game sex last month....). That is votes in the coffer when used as a sound bite during a campaign.
Other than that, the (US)  gov't would like to find a tax scheme on games just as they tried on firearms- anything they label as 'bad' that month, they like to simply tax the hell out of.
The US gov't is okay with vice, as long as it's taxable. So alcohol, cigarettes- totally legal drugs despite destroying lives--because they are taxed nearly 100% both at the state and federal level. Gambling is increasingly legal, because casinos are taxed at incredible rates. Nothing is really THAT bad here, as long as it's accountable for taxation.

If games are considered a 'legal evil' in the US- a vice for lack of a better term- then the role of gov't will be to tax it heavily, not punish the producer of the vice....

inthepastxx
inthepastxx

@tevic @TheLamaKnows Yeah, just what the gaming industry needs, more involvement with the government.  

Which they want to destroy the gaming industry, so letting them sink their teeth into a stupid point you made will hurt in the long run. 

Don't like it then just don't buy, simple.  You could always go back to Nintendo.

Slade968
Slade968

@Zevvion @theblackfrog To be fair, they haven't clarified on that. But yea, I agree that we are getting a little a head of our selves. I'm waiting on E3 before I make a final decision but for right now, it doesn't look good.