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.

599 Comments

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 DarkReign2552
DarkReign2552

Unfortunately, Miyamoto is both right and wrong. On on hand, it's true that, because so many of the games today are linear, short, and offer little to no incentive to play through it again, they are generally beaten and sold. Developers need to create game that will produce fond memories. Better story, better characters, memorable levels, etc... all work hand-in-hand with people not trading in games.


On the other hand, though, the reason Nintendo's trade-in rate is so low is because

1. Most of the people that play Nintendo are either nostalgia-driven industry veterans who want to keep their games or children who don't really know how to trade games in.

2. Nintendo games generally become rare and valuable down the road. I'm looking for Gamecube games right now and just trying to find an affordable copy of some of the games can be a tremendous task. If it weren't for Amazon selling used, I probably wouldn't have Super Smash Bros or Super Mario Sunshine again. I learned my lesson. Never trading in any Nintendo titles again.

Most gamers on other consoles today, regardless of how good or bad a game is, will only be played once. People today will take a game that took 3 years to develop, race through and sell it in 3 days even if they haven't done everything there is to do. Most gamers today don't understand the love and appreciation put into creating a game and are only interested in a cheap "amusement park" thrill.

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BlackStar9000

@DarkReign2552 to deepen your point, I am one of those original NES gamers and i still play them to this day. When i was a kid, me, my friends and family could play ONE GAME FOREVER, even if we had already beat it, example are Double Dragon, Mario (all of em) punch out (me and my bro are the only ones i know who beat that one) Batman Movie game (still the best 2d Batman ever) and Battletoads, so damn hard, never could beat it back then. The music and gameplay had us all hooked on our games and we even talked about them in school, parents even jumped in (seriously, my mom kicked ass in the original Zelda, Mario and she even showed us how to play batman, especially the wall jump) So gamers like me want to make those experiences for my kids as well, and Nintendo still enables me to do that in a grand fashion, they just make fun games, period, and they know how to bring families together with games. That hasnt changed all these years later, My boys are 5 and 6 and love mario, Sonic and Zelda, even though they suck so bad at them, they even like the old ones from my childhood ( again they suck at them but they keep trying) Thats another thing, these games have gotten much easier for kids, they dont have to try hard to win like we did, I have proven this by letting my cousins who never played the oldskool nes games have a crack at em. I offer $20 to whoever can beat a game of my choice (like ninja gaiden) and 6 boys (age 5-13) take turns and try to help each other out, 20 mins into said game they say its too hard, same with double dragon, same with all 3 original mario games, same with ANY Nes game they play, makes me laugh so hard but kinda sad knowing the modern generation of gamers just dont get it, wow that was long winded

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shinta125

@DarkReign2552 Most games these days are just giant set pieces that feel disposable and not worth going through a second time. Nintendo games are actually rarely ever like that. I still go back to play past games and classics because they're still so fun and enjoyable to play, offer a lot of things to do and have endless replay value. The problem today is the constant stream of one-offs are only short term, even tacking on online multiplayer and making it the major focus compared to the single player campaign even though the servers will be dead in a year.

Hiroshi Yamauchi, former president of Nintendo even said the same thing back in the 90's towards other publishers in japan who were trying to ban used games then. Japan has already been through this and Nintendo's stance will never change on used games and they will continue to say "make better games".

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edinko

@DarkReign2552 Well its also because many games are nothing but a cheap amusement park ride. PLay the 4 hour CoD campaign and tell me what it felt like.

Avatar image for Grenadeh
Grenadeh

@DarkReign2552 That's the fault of the gamers, not the developer. All people do anymore is race through and go DONE and quit playing. It's a ghost town on any game that isn;'t CoD or BF online if you try to play multiplayer. For instance, .I was trying to play Raid Mode on RE:Rev yesterday. Found maybe 5 games in 3 hours, not including 2 or 3 that dropped. Everyone's level 50 and they spent like 148 hours the first week on the game then they quit.

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DarkReign2552

@Grenadeh @DarkReign2552 Precisely (although to the credit of some gamers, Capcom and the Resident Evil series have proven themselves unreliable in recent years. I think a large part of RE:R being so dead is because people either already own the game initially built for handhelds or they just don't trust the series after the garbage that was RE6. I'm going to rent RE:R eventually just because I don't trust Capcom in general anymore. Not after they charged me extra for the real ending to Asura's Wrath...)

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YukoAsho

@DarkReign2552 @Grenadeh Revelations is TONS better than RE:6. There's actually a tension to it the series hasn't had in years.

Avatar image for bj91x
bj91x

Since the PS1 days, all my main consoles were from Sony and MS. In fact, aside from the GBA, Nintendo's hardware was never one of my main even before Sony and MS came in. And aside from Mario Kart and Smash Bros., I'm not a fan of Nintendo's games, either. Despite all these, my favorite first party company has been and still is Nintendo.

Nintendo puts so much passion into their games. Rather than trying to milk and exploit us, they just want to make great games that people will want to buy. The end result is that people love Nintendo's games and fork up tremendous amount of money for their products.

Customers are not objects just sitting there to be exploited. We don't spend our money for the benefit of greedy companies. When companies try to screw us over, we take notice and take our business elsewhere.

I see what MS is doing with the Xbox One and it's disgusting. If MS thinks the best way to sell me their hardware is by pissing me off, they're in for a surprise. I'm another gamer that will definitely not be buying the Xbox One in its current state.

I also see what Sony is doing and it's also disgusting. It may not be as bad as the Xbox One, but the PS4 is halfway there. Paid online... The block of used games if the publishers choose to. These may be enough reasons for me to not buy a PS4.

In a time where games are expanding to smart phones, tablets, and other dedicated game systems, Sony and MS really need to give gamers reasons to buy their products. This is just about the worst time to turn people away.

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goggles123456

@bj91x Couldn't agree more. In another 20 years, people will forget what Dishonored was, and still remember Mario, Zelda, Mario Kart, Super Metroid, etc. I mean, they did such a good job at branding their system with those familiar faces that Nintendo truly is unforgettable. The only titles I can vividly remember from PS1 days were Symphony of the Night, Mega Man X4, and Metal Gear Solid. Those were the only ones that vividly stuck out for me as pure fun, and memorable to boot. I think what's missing from MS and Sony these days is personality. They are just systems without a face.

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kiskunk

@bj91x I agree with these points above, and Nintendo games' quality isn't higher than xone ps4, but definitely funnier, and catchier. Also there are still people like me who doesn't even own neither ps1,2,3,4 neither xbox1,360,1 neither from gba to wiiU, no tablet pc, smartphone etc. As for me, I could easily find games on almost all consoles/devices which could entertain me, which means, I still don't want to settle down on only one console.

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Grenadeh

@kiskunk @bj91x The majority of the consoles you listed are all under 100 dollars. Go buy one, a real gamer doesn't settle on one console.

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drgribb

All these game companies keep taking public shots at nintendo, they're just firing back. Keep that pimp hand strong Reggie, I see you!

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RoachRush

Wow... Nintendo basically told Cliff Bleszinski and every anal-retentive developer to stop with their excuses and make better games.

Shit just got REAL!

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MightyEzekiel

I just bought a Wii(used console, accessories new) for 90$.. worth it ? O_o

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YukoAsho

@MightyEzekiel The Wii U is fully BC, so you would have probably been better off putting that cash toward a Wii U instead.

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Superzone

@MightyEzekiel Yes. There are tons of great games and almost all of them are less than $30 now.

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hiphops_savior

@MightyEzekiel Nope, Wii U is completely backwards compatible.

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Grenadeh

@MightyEzekiel No but there are at least 6 good games on Wii so I think you'll be alright.

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Falru

I hate people who play great games, love them to death, then immediately go and resell them despite enjoying them because they only care about playing them once.

It just feels wrong to me. I love having a collection of old, good titles.

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bender961

Soo many nintendo fans....

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DSkinMasque

Make better games...by making billions of Mario games?

Avatar image for kiskunk
kiskunk

@DSkinMasque billions of mario from nintendo, billions from cod on xbox (and others) billions of final fantasy on ps, different people like different games, there are a lot of other games too to chose from

Avatar image for jpaul0983
jpaul0983

Totally agree -

Mario Kart - still good.
Wii Sports - still good
Resident Evils - still good
Smash Bros Brawl - still amazing
Even Mario Party is worth keeping for the right occasion

In fact i don't think i've traded in a Nintendo game for a long time.

Avatar image for YukoAsho
YukoAsho

@jpaul0983 "Even Mario Party is worth keeping for the right occasion."

Unless it's Mario Party 9...

Avatar image for CrouchingWeasel
CrouchingWeasel

This +100 fucking times over. Hey Devs, you want people to buy your games new & then keep them? Then start by making a good game that people want to buy on day 1 & then keep. Include some replayability. Stop releasing day 1 DLC & stop forcing people to pay for DLC with characters & story necessary to the overall lore of the game (talking to you here EA-Ware with forcing people to pay for the Promethean DLC if they didn't specifically get a collectors edition). Most importantly however, stop destroying your franchises by neutering sequels like Mass Effect, Splinter Cell & Dead Space into action-fests designed to appeal to lazy arsed 12 year old CoD/BF4 players who're too damn stupid & incompetent to understand that running in & shooting the utter bejebus out of everything on screen & then not insta-healing doesn't mean that the game is not worth playing. I swear to whatever God exists that most gamers today would give up gaming entirely if developers went back to developing games as they were in the 80's - mid 90's. They wouldn't last 5 minutes without throwing their controllers at the TV in nerdrage.

Avatar image for kiskunk
kiskunk

@CrouchingWeasel the new splinter cell was a huge disappoint for me, watching the video i was like wtf, in chaos theory the player could do massive stealth things, in conviction, less stealth, but new style, still acceptable, but now its like "hey, im in the light, it doesn't really matter, i just crouch-walk, because i like it, no use"

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mnoalpha

I can't lie, Nintendo games do have some high replayability. I still play SSBB to this day...

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Superzone

@mnoalpha Psh, I still play Melee to this day.

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YukoAsho

@Superzone @mnoalpha Shit, I break out the N64 one every once in a while, I'm that old-school.

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glimpus

@YukoAsho @Superzone @mnoalpha I got my SNES hooked up in the basement.

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gaming_binge

nintendo's games have been the shit for 28 years

Avatar image for faceless-mask
faceless-mask

@gaming_binge At first I read that as just "shit", but then I managed to see the "the".

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Dissentioncc

@faceless-mask @gaming_binge He should have left the "the" out.

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faceless-mask

@Dissentioncc @faceless-mask @gaming_binge No, that would make the statement untrue.

Avatar image for Chico_Azteca
Chico_Azteca

Man someone will need some BURN HEAL

Avatar image for Superman_legend
Superman_legend

Learn from the pros. Stop whining and start creating better games. Now wonder Nintendo has the longest history of quality titles.

Avatar image for AngelsongCA
AngelsongCA

Crap games get traded in for new games. Stop making crap games. End of story.

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codeman101360

Finally, somebody in the industry with some common sense.

Avatar image for JOHN1486
JOHN1486

Hmmm interesting...it sounds like Nintendo is siding with Sony on this issue...Strange bed fellows but I like this.

Avatar image for hateyourface
hateyourface

@JOHN1486 It's less about siding with Sony and more like siding with the consumer. They know where their bread and butter comes from and they respect it!

Avatar image for telaros
telaros

pffft

Only reason Sony backed out, yet still worded their used game policy so consive that no one noticed that PUBLISHERS STILL HAVE THE OPTION to lock you out of content on used games and or charge a fee to play it at all.

With Sony's past failurs at trying to push DRM and proprietary crap on on since it first released it's PSP GO, yeah anyone remember THAT one? The poor sales on PS Vita, which was supposed to bring us into a more digital download service sort of next gen handheld age, was smeared by high price, PC mandated device or requiring a PS3 to install games, they have began to find different approach to getting us to go Digital through there stores exclusively.

Sony WANTS to ween us off used games. They want ALL the control. But you know what? They aren't stupid. And they know they HAVE to get PS4 right. They were already threatened to be shut down (gaming division, duh) and luckily began to make profit finally on PS3 some early last year I believe?

Now, with how much of a BACKLASH Microsoft got, everything Sony had planned got TOSSED OUT A WINDOW and came around to sweep up gamers with jabs at MS and how PS4 is "EXCLUSIVELY GAMING MACHINE FIRST!" which got them much attention.

Sony _FIRST-PARTY TITLES_ will not have DRM. You can do with any Sony game whatever you want. Any SONY game. I'm not being broad here. He told us the PS4 allows _PUBLISHERS_ the right to _DECIDE_ if we are allowed to play used games. To decide what penalties buying used will bring us.

So, PS4 HAS DRM. CAN BLOCK USED GAMES. CAN CHARGE YOU FEES FOR USED GAMES.

*BUT*

Yeah, stay with me, I'm finishing up, it's now up to YOU to keep tags on WHICH PUBLISHER (Activision Blizzard and EA) will be requiring you to pay fees to play used games or lock you out of certain content within the game.

If a game is multiplatform and has fees on one, it'll likely set similar restrictions on PS4. This will be a case by case basis and we'll see which Publisher decides to test these waters first come launch day. I'll personally be sitting back a few months to see what happens.

Don't support publishers who add these fees on our physical copies of games and tell us what we buy isn't ours! We bought it, it belongs to US and NO ONE should EVER tell us otherwise!


P.S. Reggie, bro, if your games were so hot you guys wouldn't be sitting last all the time man =(

Focus on treating your fans right for once, ya'll treated us like shit for like what? 3 consoles now PLUS Wii U? Don't stoop to low brow shit of why people don't sell off your games, you can't carry on First Party alone. Listen to what you say and tell Nintendo of Japan to start making new IPs out of those new ideas already!

Avatar image for madsnakehhh
madsnakehhh

@telaros What??? Are you crazy??? Nintendo games are among the best selling games, he is totally right, make a game your consumers like and they will buy it, period. And that's why Nintendo is the best.

Avatar image for voljin1987
voljin1987

@telaros nintendo being last?? they have the highest software and the hardware sales last generation.. they are dominating the handheld markets.. the wii u is lagging a bit but its too early to say it will come last.. do your research before commenting.

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Mitsukiba

@voljin1987 @telaros Wii U outsold PS3 and 360 first 4 months of it's release.

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Tripwolf

He's absolutely right.

I hate Nintendo hardware... but Nintendo games? Amazing. I'd kill for Nintendo to develop for PC.

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glimpus

@Tripwolf You can play many Nintendo games on PC!

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goggles123456

@Tripwolf Holy God, that would be amazing.

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Lhomity

The better games remark is a cheap shot. Its also bullshit. I hope nobody seriously buys this line as anything more than low-brow PR. SMH

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coreyrobbins

@Lhomity How paranoid and/or cynical are you?

Avatar image for deactivated-57d307c5efcda

But its also is in the eye of the beholder, while I loved Mass Effect 1,2 and 3 and would never sell them as they will be part of my collection forever, many people hated them and sold them very quickly. So while I do agree with them, it's kinda hard to implement because there will be many that are not pleased.

Avatar image for Mitsukiba
Mitsukiba

@ryangcnx-2 You might also not sell 3 because you like to have the physical proof of your games. A lot of people WOULD sell 3. But you have the trilogy and they look pretty nice lined up next to each other.

Avatar image for deactivated-57d307c5efcda

Nintendo knows what there talking about here, and they are 100% correct. Microsoft, you should learn from Nintendo

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obsequies

it's funny cause it's true.