Nintendo: Devs concerned over used sales should make better games

Reggie Fils-Aime says consumers won't trade in great games, claims Nintendo has trade-in rate lower than much of the industry.

by

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.

Discussion

604 comments
G4mBi7
G4mBi7

Reading this make me reflect on the past; I have all 3 current gen consoles and i NEVER once traded in a Nintendo game, I have sold off CoDs and other games but Mario Kart and Super Mario Bros still covet my shelf :D


Good guy Nintendo! :D +1

Snaptrap
Snaptrap

If I ever did buy a console it would be a Wii U. I already have a high end PC for anything that the PS4 or Xbone can offer.

mjswooosh
mjswooosh

I was already planning on buying a Wii U once they have a price-drop, but they may have just convinced me to buy one this holiday season as a 2nd system (2 PS4s pre-ordered) regardless.... Still, I think what Nintendo needs to do is drop the Wii U 32GB SKU to a sweet spot $249, drop the Wii U 8GB SKU to $199 (or eliminate it), and offer some Zelda/Mario bundles at $299 and they will rack up some sales this X-Mas. Rumor has it MS is going to have yield problems (their pre-order slots at Gamestop/Amazon are 1:3 vs. PS4), so Nintendo should be able to cash in on this if they are smart and recognize the Wii U needs to be at a lower price point.

sicpirate
sicpirate

I hope Reggie isn't delusional enough to believe that a Mario game is a better product than Last of Us or any Halo game because it's trade in rate is lower.

tim1935
tim1935

I love the title of this article!  Awesome!

GTA-Like_Fan
GTA-Like_Fan

MS just want to apply 1984 bs on video gaming, I'm surprised they didnt called Sony and Nintendo "terrorists" for not inforcing it too.

WantYouBad
WantYouBad

Well, I still have all my Mario and Zelda games. I <3 Nintendo.

toyo75
toyo75

One you get to play a great game, you'll most likely not let go of it.

Even if you're not playing it anymore the nostalgia it gives you just by looking at the game's box art or DVD casing, or browsing the game's manual,  is enough for you to hang on to it.

Monsta1217
Monsta1217

Already Pre-Ordered my PS4 & ordered my PC components can't wait to get my hands on a Wii U Reggie you made my day, tell this to Cliffy B

so_hai
so_hai

It takes the American Hollywood philosophy of deal-making to annualize games. If you were a developer, would you put all of your best ideas in a single game if you knew you had to immediately start on next year's release?

The Japanese approach is different it seems to me. We COULD be up to Pikmin 6 or 7, Metroid 8 or 9, Zelda DLCs etc etc., but they don't take that approach.

rocketsatdawn
rocketsatdawn

That's pretty true. I still own PS1 disks and some seriously ancient PC games. I just cannot part with then. I wont be selling twilight princess, Skyrim or Xcom: enemy unknown any time soon either. This blocking used games stuff is just complete bullshit. It's a lazy way of grabbing more money off consumers. If they don't want us to sell our games, they should make them good enough that we want to keep them and bring out worthwhile DLC that doesn't hasn't removed anything from the game but builds on something that is already an awesome experience.

TheProphecies05
TheProphecies05

I think we should let the whole "Nintendo" is for children thing die. Most older people  I know were raised around Nintendo. They love it for nostalgia.. or whatever reason.. They are also PC gamers. Now.. most kids I know... look at the Wii U.. and all the past games and say "That #($* is stupid, lets play CoD". I promise you.. there are way more kids playing 1st person shooters than there are playing Nintendo games. By a landslide. Older gamers just like the idea of discovery, fun factor and repeatability. This current generation of new gamers are built around a "drone" method.. rinse.. repeat.. rinse repeat.. Thats why you see a lot of repetition in gaming these days. Older people move on in life while a percentage still play video games.. and that generation is dieing out. What is left is the Repetition Gamer.

Vodoo
Vodoo

Mr. Fils-Aime is leaving out a lot of pertinent info, as usual.There's a few reasons why people don't trade Nintendo games in as much as Sony or Microsoft. Most of Nintendos' user base are children whose parents buy them their games. For parents, used games are good to buy, but would never take away their kids games to trade in. Secondly, Nintendo has the lowest game-attach rate of all 3 consoles. This again goes back to most of Nintendos users being children. They don't have the disposable income to buy their own games, instead having to rely on their parents. 

gamer6130
gamer6130

and that's why i respect Nintendo that does make sense , and i have to admit their games are compelling, i mean seriuosly i cant get enough  of this monster hunter on the 3ds great game. most developers should focus on replayability  the point is so we keep playing their games.

burgo81
burgo81

when you tweek the numbers of course you get that conclusion, but nintendo have fewer game sales, and people who have xbox and ps games trade in old games to purchase new games it is as simple as that. also fanboys hold onto mario kart, smash bros and super mario bros because that is there favorite games over every generation of nintendo consoles

CraigNinten
CraigNinten

Games with most replayability: Super smash bros, mario karts, GTA series and competitive multiplayer titles like battlefield series, racing games and FIFA series.

Games with lesser replayability: Games focus on cinematic cutscene like Unch***ed series, God of *** series, most story centred JRPG, puzzle titles.

bumblebug
bumblebug

Such a simple point and so true.  I never trade in or sell my really good games.

macca366
macca366

Got to respect that, brings a smile to my face.

Loved hearing the Insomniac guy in the Killzone stage demo talk about it too, something like "I think when a gamer buys their disc they can do whatever they want with it", totally unconcerned about used games.

Its so nice and fresh to hear, I'm so used to hearing companies pushing online passes, DRM, DLC to nickel and dime people... Its nice to hear people not thinking oppressively and anti-consumer

Bahamagamer
Bahamagamer

I think it's more that many Nintendo first party games can be replayed without getting too boring.  Mario akrt, Mario Party, Super Smash Brothers.  These are games you can play for years without really getting bored.

Psycho_Hands
Psycho_Hands

Reggie, can you tell this to Cliff B so he can stfu.

MagneticFusion
MagneticFusion

I'm getting a PS4, but you're a badass, Reggie. I hope the Wii-U picks up for you guys...  :)

LOL

VeredusMaximus
VeredusMaximus

Dear Nintendo,

Drastically update your hardware and give me a regular controller, then I'll gladly give you my money.

P.S. - I wish the game industry would focus more on the gameplay and less on the graphics. Cel-Shade everything, I don't care just give me a great game.

Thanks,

Most consumers.

GladChimer
GladChimer

@sicpirate You seem to be delusional enough to believe you could objectively justify that a game like Last of Us is better than a game like Mario. Let me rock your world by telling you that me and a huge amount of other players would enjoy a light-hearted, fun game like Super Mario Galaxy over an intense, chilling and stressful experience like The Last of Us, while other players like you seem to despise games that are not getting you stressed and enjoy those that put them in tense situation.

What point are you trying to make?

mjswooosh
mjswooosh

@sicpirate Games like Last of Us and Halo are amazing, short-term single-player experiences and sometimes have lasting Multiplayer appeal. But, there can be no arguing that the flagship Nintendo games have much better long term replayability than just about anything on the MS/Sony consoles. There is a legitimate reason why Nintendo games are traded in FAR less than other console games, and it is because of this long term value that other consoles can't replicate.

Jurakk
Jurakk

@sicpirate
Mario Game = Basket Ball
Last of Us = Iphone

While an IPhone is undeniable a "better" product than a Basket Ball, if you are carefull enough, you can have fun with the ball forever. While every year you urge to sell your old iphone and buy a new one.

WantYouBad
WantYouBad

@Vodoo I love Nintendo and am 23. I have a shyguy keychain on my car keys.

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

@Vodoo Dude, what?  Kids are MOST likely to trade their games in, because they get less money toward new games.

RoachRush
RoachRush

@Vodoo You've got to be kidding. I'm 27 and have traded in my fair share of PS3 and 360 games, but I will flip off anyone that comes near my copy of Twilight Princess. Yes, I STILL play it, because it's THAT good. 

GSJones1994
GSJones1994

@Vodoo Most of Nintendo's users are not children. Where are you getting this from?  I think most of Microsoft's users are children, since they are too busy playing Call of Duty on Xbox Live. 

J_Dangerously
J_Dangerously

@Vodoo Very presumptuous.  I have friends and family in their 30's who grew up with Nintendo, and still buy the hardware just for all the classic Nintendo IPs.  Zelda in particular resonates across multiple generations in my family. 

ziqi92
ziqi92

@Vodoo How in the world are most of Nintendo's user base kids? I don't know about you, but a lot of us that did grow up with Nintendo still play their games to this day. Furthermore, simply because Nintendo targets the younger demographic doesn't mean the user base IS that demographic. Otherwise, there wouldn't be so many annoying 12-year olds on XBL.

By all means, prove me wrong by citing your sources.

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

@VeredusMaximus There's already a regular controller for the Wii U.  It's called the Wii U Pro Controller.

Hobbit189
Hobbit189

@VeredusMaximus Dear user, how can you request a drastic hardware upgrade AND claim that you don't care about graphics... 


P.S.: WiiU Pro controller?

Thanks,

Everyone else.

MagneticFusion
MagneticFusion

@VeredusMaximus The point you're missing is when a game looks great AND has great gameplay. I just finished Tomb Raider today, which is a perfect example of this. Some of the scenes were like, "Damn..." Pretty impressive for consoles that are 7 years old.

And I'm looking forward to Tomb Raider 2 on PS4 which will have graphics that will blast me across the room! LOL 

Yes, gameplay is definitely more important, but when you have BOTH there's no comparison.

VeredusMaximus
VeredusMaximus

@Hobbit189 @VeredusMaximus Hardware is way more then just graphics. Speed affects any type of calculation which includes things like physics, gameobject count, far clipping planes for open world environment, NPC complexity, and memory.But I would still give the developers the option to do high end graphics if thats what they tailor to, so as to not limit the developer community.

WiiU Pro Controller isn't a refined controller like the other two console, because it was made after launch in response to the low rating of the second screen controller. I don't want them to focus on stupid gimmicks like motion plus or second screens when developing their console. I'd rather have them spend all of their time designing a regular controller that is not a clone of an xbox controller and that feel great.

godslayer61
godslayer61

@ArcoJawa @VeredusMaximus not really the wii u is at a stand still even eb games is moving all wii u products to the back were bad sales items go. plus there first party games are 6 but it going to be late 2014 for half and until than there is nothing because most devolepers wont make stuff for the wii u.

GSJones1994
GSJones1994

@Vodoo Another case of a Sony fanboy spewing lies around just to try and get a point across.

Mugzippit
Mugzippit

@Vodoo @Mugzippit @burgo81 Nintendo's 7th gen as of March 2013 (Wii and DS, not 3DS) has over 1.8 billion games sold, that's nearly 3 times the PS3's 595 million games sold (although that figure was given from Sony in March 2012 so it's a year out of date). I can't find any reliable xbox 360 sales figures but there were articles about how the PS3 overtook the 360 recently so I'd place it somewhere below the PS3 sales figures.

r1g0
r1g0

@GSJones1994 @Vodoo @Mugzippit @burgo81 Mario Kart for wii has more than 33 millions sells and the entire god of war franchise (God of War, God of War II, Betrayal, chains of olympus, God of war III, Ghost of sparta, Ascension, including the collections) have less than 22 millions... so Nintendo sells a lot.

ziqi92
ziqi92

@Vodoo @Mugzippit @burgo81 Sorry, but how does Nintendo have the least game sales of the big 3? Are you telling me that Pokemon, Mario, and Zelda, and Smash Bros. don't sell several millions of copies for every release? If you combine all third-party sales, I can see that...

VeredusMaximus
VeredusMaximus

@GSJones1994 @VeredusMaximus @ziqi92 @Hobbit189 IGN took a pole off of youtube. They're only target audience was people who watch e3 and youtube, that's not biased. The Kotaku article wasn't stated as fact, just an official publication that mirrored my opinion on the controller.

simomate
simomate

@VeredusMaximus @Hobbit189 The trouble is, while hardware can improve those things you are talking about, developers seem to be more and more placing an emphasis on graphics rather then other things that make a game great. Heck BF3 could have easily supported more people online had they just cut back on the graphical power.

craigprime
craigprime

 @VeredusMaximus @Hobbit189 Wii U Pro controller was available at launch, as fully developed as a Dualshock 4. And Mario Kart 8 runs 60 fps, even with splitscreen.
Hardware!

ziqi92
ziqi92

@VeredusMaximus @Hobbit189 The WiiU Pro controller isn't refined? How so? It's still a "regular" controller. I can't see how someone like you would represent "most consumers."

simomate
simomate

@VeredusMaximus Ubisoft hasn't abandoned development, they are still supporting Nintendo they are just not making any more exclusive games.

Mugzippit
Mugzippit

@VeredusMaximus When compared side by side, the Wii U is outdoing the 360 by around 200'000 sales (which isn't much). If the Wii U goes above 5 million by the end of its first year then it had a better start then the 360. Playstation 3 on the other hand was released in 2006 and by the end of 2007 (over a year into its life) had 3.61 million sales so Nintendo doesn't really have much of a challenge to beat the PS3's sales. If the Wii U gets to around 6 million sales by the end of its first year, it will have outdone the Wii which would be a big achievement from Nintendo.


Still, we will need to see how the PS4 and Xbox One do before any real comparisons can be made

VeredusMaximus
VeredusMaximus

@mjswooosh@VeredusMaximus@ArcoJawaNo, their much lower than that. CEO Satoru Iwata issued an apology for the poor sales of the WiiU and developers, such as Ubisoft and EA, have recently abandoned development.

mjswooosh
mjswooosh

@VeredusMaximus @ArcoJawa Wii U sales are about at the same point that the PS3s and 360s were by this point in their release. The PS3 in particular took a long time to pick up steam due to be over-priced and trying to force restrictions on gamers (sort of like the XBone is doing now). The Wii U will be fine when a few 1st party exclusives hit and they do a price drop.