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.


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.

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"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.

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Avatar image for Thegamer16

Reggie is awesome. I'm going to have 9 children and name them all Reggie.

Avatar image for DesertLynx83

Well played, Nintendo!

Avatar image for marcusmattingly

I have 4 kids and I for one know why we have lower trade-in rates on the Nintendo systems in our home. Any time that I have ever mentioned trading in a game from one of their Nintendo systems..all of a sudden they love it and cannot part with it.Even if they have not played it in a year.

Kids do NOT like to get rid of their toys, no matter how old and crappy they are.

Avatar image for cboye18

@marcusmattingly I still have my SNES after 17 years :)

Avatar image for bunchanumbers

@cboye18 @marcusmattingly I've had my NES now for 25 years lol

Avatar image for GSGuy321

He's right !

Avatar image for dribblesbarbax

Nintendo has a lower trade in rate because there are fewer games to be traded in. Also who would buy a 2nd hand Wii game? Thats just sad.

Avatar image for SavageEvil

@chipwithdip @dribblesbarbax Whoa there, Sony does make their own games they have around 15 studios that make games internally, just like Nintendo and to a lesser extent Microsoft. First party sales wise Nintendo comes out on top followed by Sony and then Microsoft.

Avatar image for dribblesbarbax

@chipwithdip Ehh Ninendo have their own internal gaming division and so do Sony. Sony's division just goes by the name of SCE or SCEA. Also Sony dont own people. They created an internal division and hired people to make games. Nintendo do the very same thing.

Avatar image for demonkingx5

@dribblesbarbax Me & its not sad especially when reggie has a point.

Avatar image for dribblesbarbax

@demonkingx5 Oh I believe his point has some weight to it but I wouldnt apply that point as the reason why Nintendo has the lowest trade in ratio. Definitely applies to Sony and Microsoft.

Avatar image for hades252

@SavageEvil @dribblesbarbax @demonkingx5 Not almost every other, every other period. Not one competing companies first party titles on PS3 or 360 can outmatch the sales of Nintendo's top selling first party titles from the Wii. Only Kinectimals gives a Nintendo game a run for it's money. No other non-nintendo first party games can compare to the Wii's highest selling first-party games. They cover half the sales at best in most cases. They're lucky to break the top ten for their system, they won't outsell Nintendo games without an enormous shift in the market, one that involves either the PS4 or Xbox One being removed from the picture and the loser's respective consumers joining the other "team".

Avatar image for SavageEvil

@dribblesbarbax @demonkingx5 Put it this way Nintendo first party titles sell amazingly well and beat out almost every other company's first party titles, Halo is probably the only first party title that comes close with Halo 3 breaking double digits in the millions. Just because you don't play Nintendo games doesn't automatically mean that holds true for everyone. The fact that they are still here making games and money is proof of that enough, they are the only GAMING only company out there with hardware.

Avatar image for deactivated-5872ea77167be

agree, make a good game and people will want to keep it

Avatar image for silvergol

This! and launch all their games on PS4/PC!

Avatar image for JustArtificial


HELL, I still have the RELEASE copy of FF7 and FF8 in my drawer, discs intact. Those games are amazing, and I'll never give them up. I'm still skeptical about getting rid of Battlefront 2 on Xbox, even though I've got it on Steam, because it's such a great game.

If it's good, it won't get sold.

Avatar image for megakick

Yep there not many and what there is... Is pretty mediocre.

Avatar image for cboye18

Warning Warning a new challenger approaching : MEGA MAAANNNN!! *Blinds PS4, Xbone and PC altogether*

Avatar image for frylock1987

"claims Nintendo has trade-in rate lower than much of the industry"

Thats because nobody buys your shit unless its a Mario Game, Zelda Game or a new Smash Brothers game.

Avatar image for brainiac1988

@frylock1987 which are all awesome games, thats why no one trades them in

Avatar image for Gen007

Not just better games either they also need to amke sure that the games have good value. They expect you to drop $60 + another 30 in DLC and more for micro crap like gold armor. All of this for a game that has a 3 hour throw away campaign and crappy tacked on MP. I feel like SP only games should deliver at least 20 hours of non grind fest content and games with multiplayer at least 10 hours on the SP side with a an at least competent MP. Its no wonder people trade so much you feel ripped off and like your stuck holding a piece of crap. Why hold onto it when you can at least get some money back.

Avatar image for thequickshooter

so they're announcing something we already know...

the reason? to join the bash on Msoft

Avatar image for cvfish

@thequickshooter HAHAHAHA.....I know, poor Microsoft. They are being bullied so badly, quick someone start a hashtag campaign!

Avatar image for MetalDogGear


Yep. All these companies are picking on Microsoft instead of focusing on their own stuff.

Xbox one isn't a bad console, people just bitch too much.

I've got mine preordered.

Avatar image for TheGamerPhenom

@MetalDogGear @thequickshooter I'm sorry.

Avatar image for bunchanumbers

@thequickshooter I think its a statement on the state of gaming in general. There's tons of shovelware out there and they think they deserve our money. Its why they make all the DRM online pass crap that EA was whoring out there. Nintendo makes great games that have great replay value and have been that way since 1985.

Avatar image for eaterofpasta


Avatar image for cboye18

Not trading a game away shows the true worth of a game, not graphics or online capability

Avatar image for Commander_Snowy

@cboye18 If I could like this more than one time I would. Your comment was probably the truest thing I ever read about video games.

Avatar image for northArrow

Hell Yes

Avatar image for minfreah5005

these article needs a like button.

Avatar image for bunchanumbers

@minfreah5005 There is never enough like buttons when you need them lol

Avatar image for Celsius765

I agree but at the same time Nintendo needs to follow their own advice. Isn't it about time for Mario to step into an openworld adventure?

Avatar image for bunchanumbers

@Celsius765 Mario has always been more of a platformer than a open adventure. That was what they made zelda for I think.

Avatar image for Celsius765

@bunchanumbers @Celsius765 true perhaps a console Mario rpg would be in order(not a paper mario game) like a new adventure or wii u remake of Super Mario Rpg

Avatar image for Celsius765

@bunchanumbers @Celsius765 which reminds me I never beat it and its on my wii

Avatar image for bunchanumbers

@Celsius765 @bunchanumbers That game was epic. I would love to see them and square team up for old times sake and make another gem.

Avatar image for cboye18

I've been playing smash bros Melee for 8 years almost!!! Not even PS3/Xbox games can top that game...

Avatar image for WTF1555

@cboye18 THAT IS DEEP HOLE!.

Avatar image for bunchanumbers

Yes Reggie! Testify! I've never traded in a nintendo game. Every one of them I can replay and never consider old and boring. What a perfect thing to say.

Avatar image for atlanticmoon

Not really...I never trade in my games even if they aren't to my liking because it's my damn money. Not going to let the middle man win on that account. I also worked at GameStop for 3 years. Adults don't really trade in games, kids are the majority. Kids do it because they don't have money to pay for the newest game on the playground.

Avatar image for JDWolfie

For once, I agree with this guy.

Avatar image for Earthen80

This +100 000. There are a few games I'd never trade in. GTA IV, Red Dead Redemption and MGS IV. I'll keep them to show my kids someday. Plus you can't brag with digital copies anyway :/

Avatar image for atopp399

Hell yeah Reggie.

Avatar image for Cloud_imperium


Avatar image for silvergol

@Cloud_imperium This! They should make even better games! to play!

On Christmas makes party games and dancing games to win!.

Avatar image for WTF1555

@silvergol @Cloud_imperium Kill ios Games and MMO IDEAS ON CONSOLES!.