Developers concerned about the implications of used-game sales should make their games compelling enough so that consumers will not trade them in. That's according to Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime, who told Polygon that Nintendo embodies this strategy and has one of the lowest trade-in percentages in the business as a result.
"We have been very clear. We understand that used games are a way for some consumers to monetize their games. They will buy a game, play it, bring it back to their retailer to get credit for their next purchase," Fils-Aime said. "Certainly, that impacts games that are annualized and candidly also impacts games that are maybe undifferentiated much more than [it] impacts Nintendo content. Why is that? Because the replayability of our content is super strong."
"The consumer wants to keep playing Mario Kart. The consumer wants to keep playing New Super Mario Bros. They want to keep playing Pikmin," he added. "So we see that the trade-in frequency on Nintendo content is much less than the industry average--much, much less. So for us, we have been able to step back and say that we are not taking any technological means to impact trade-in, and we are confident that if we build great content, then the consumer will not want to trade in our games."
Nintendo is not the only major game maker to have such a philosophy on used games. Grand Theft Auto parent publisher Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick said last month that the company's stance 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 at the time.
Used games have been a much-discussed industry topic with next-generation consoles from Microsoft and Sony heading to market later this year.
The Xbox One supports used games as a platform, though decisions about allowing secondhand titles will be left up to publishers. Sony's PlayStation 4, on the other hand, will not feature any "gating restrictions" at all for software.
Similarly, Wii U owners can freely trade in titles without any restrictions.