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 WWE6427

I would never sell/trade in a awesome game

Avatar image for JumpyLuweegee

This is actually true. Nintendo games retain their value a lot longer than Sony and Xbox games and barely lower in price at all. Nintendo games are the only games I don't trade in. Sony exclusives I usually trade in immediately after the first playthrough.

Avatar image for Vegamyster

@JumpyLuweegee Your comment... You're not actually saying bad things about Nintendo :P

Avatar image for Mitsukiba

@Vegamyster @JumpyLuweegee It's True. Brawl was $45 dollars in any retail until 2012. Same thing with Mario Kart, now that I think about... And Mario Party... I wonder what my SNES goes for...

Avatar image for Hicser03

@Mitsukiba @Vegamyster @JumpyLuweegee Recently tried to get super metroid for snes , costs like £70+ boxed, wish i never sold all my snes stuff in the classifieds back in the day :(.

Avatar image for mario113

they just hit the nail on the head with this one

Avatar image for OseiWar

When I was little I sold my copy of Super Mario Sunshine needless to say it was my biggest mistake ever, I rebought it and I haven't sold another Nintendo game since

~True Story

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

Ooooooh burned by Nintendo. One of the few intelligent things they've said in a while.

Avatar image for The_Last_Ride

See, Microsoft are you taking notes? You should!

Avatar image for isv666

@The_Last_Ride Microsoft should take a few notes. In all reality, compared to Nintendo and even Sony, they are still the new kids on the block and have a lot to learn.

Avatar image for SopranosFan

@The_Last_Ride they're taking notes..........given to them by publishers.

Avatar image for The_Last_Ride

@SopranosFan @The_Last_Ride how is limiting a game to borrowing it to one friend and then losing the rights to that game forever? How is that up to the publishers? The whole system was built in by MS! Sony nor Nintendo did it!

Avatar image for locknuts84

Makes sense to me. If you don't want customers to sell their games: make games they won't want to sell. That's probably why I've still got most of my old Nintendo consoles and games but I would gladly sell half the games on my Steam account if I could.

Avatar image for Icepick_Trotter

Maybe you would.
But I would never sell my The Witcher 2, Alan Wake, Skyrim, Company of Heroes, Half Life 2 or Portal 2 just to name a few... even if I had the option...

Not only Nintendo makes good games, you know...

Avatar image for bender961

But Nintendo games aren't really big hits, when you don't really have a market to sell those used games, that's why they have a low rate of trade-ins. I get what he's saying, and I agree but using Nintendo as an example seems funny to me.

Avatar image for Furwings

@bender961 Wii Sports = 81 million sold (ok it was a pack-in so doesn't really count)

Mario Kart Wii = 34 million sold

Wii Sports Resort = 31 million sold

Wii Play = 28 million sold

New Super Mario Bros Wii = 27 million sold

All dwarfing the sales of Call of Duty - and that series is on nearly ALL platforms!

I wont' list the rest of the Wii or DS/3DS games. Point is, Nintendo games are HUGE hits and their re-sale/trade-in value is very high because finding their games used is rare due to people NOT trading them in.

Avatar image for RoachRush

Best Selling Video Game Franchises of All Time

Need For Speed - 100+ million

FIFA - 100+ million

Call of Duty - 100+ million

Final Fantasy - 102.04 million

Tetris - 125 million

Grand Theft Auto - 125 million

The Sims - 150 million

Wii Games (Wii Sports, etc.) - 192.76 million

Pokemon - 219.28 million

Who's number 1? You guessed it....

Mario - 453.96 million

NFS, FIFA, COD and GTA COMBINED is still eclipsed by Mario alone, so saying Nintendo games aren't big hits is very ignorant.

Avatar image for Mitsukiba

@bender961 Super Smash Bros. has no market?! Then you do not exist.

Avatar image for voljin1987

@bender961 mario kart wii with its 34 million worldwide sales says hi... nintendo games not big hits lol

Avatar image for BrutalPandaX2

@bender961 Nintendo games not really big hits? What are you talking about...

Avatar image for isv666

@BrutalPandaX2 @bender961 I was wondering, too. Some of the most sold games in the history of video games are Nintendo games. Some of the highest reviewed games of all time are Nintendo games.

Avatar image for bender961

@cubachino @bender961 @isv666 @BrutalPandaX2 I am in the warm and delightful grace of the fans, seeing how my comments has made quite the impression with them.

Avatar image for cubachino

@bender961 @isv666 @BrutalPandaX2 "proven by the fact that this whole article is filled with Nintenfans" fact? And yet here you are.

Avatar image for bender961

@isv666 @BrutalPandaX2 And their best selling games aren't intrinsicly good games, they have a good fanbase and they know what they are doing with them, proven by the fact that this whole article is filled with Nintenfans

Avatar image for bender961

@isv666 @BrutalPandaX2 @bender961 Rephrase that, aren't really marketed as much as others in modern times, and yes the Nintendo Wii surprisingly sells more than the other 2 I think

Avatar image for Yunask

"The consumer wants to keep playing New Super Mario Bros. They want to keep playing Pikmin,"

Yeah, we keep playing Pikmin 1 and 2 because you won't release number 3.

Avatar image for IamAtom


Avatar image for bj91x

Yep. Some games are so good that I not only keep them for more than half a decade, I buy them on multiple platforms, buy special editions, director's cut versions, collections, HD versions, portable versions, etc. By the time I trash/sell the obsolete versions, they're obsolete and don't even do the company any harm.

The only games I re-sell early are games not worth it; The same games I will no longer buy at full price if I can't sell without paying companies royalties.

Avatar image for acelogan1989

good point

Avatar image for iempire68

Ohhhh, shot fired! I like it though. It's true. But Reggie, where are the damn games!?!?

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

@iempire68 See, no one trades in Nintendo games, because we don't release anything for them to trade in!

Avatar image for derceto

Thumbs up for Reggie. I don't dislike Nintendo, I don't love Nintendo. However, this guy makes nothing but sense. Now, I am hoping Reggie and the gang maybe land just a 'couple' more cool looking games for me to get a WiiU. I am on the borderline but just not quite enough for my liking yet. Just 1 or 2 more interesting ones and I would gladly be on board. Bayonetta 2 was a rather good start to get things going. :)

Avatar image for x-2tha-z

Hey, Reggie, is this also the reason why your games never drop in price, either? Seriously, I'm not paying full price for Paper Mario Sticker Star. The damn game was released about seven months ago and it's still as expensive as the day it was launched. Stop being so greedy. Shit.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

@x-2tha-z Nintendo notoriously doesn't drop prices. This is why their digital offerings suck as well.

And don't get me started on their DLC pricing. There's like $80 of DLC for the $40 Fire Emblem Awakening. For shit's sake.....

Avatar image for mario113

@Thanatos2k @x-2tha-z at least it is better then paying for a 20- 50 dollar season pass for features that should have been in the game in the first place. Plus the DLC is worth it anyways

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

@mario113 **** that. Paying 200% of the price of the game for some bonus maps is pure unadulterated bullshit. Only a biased fanboy with serious mental issues could argue otherwise.

Avatar image for balaysked

@x-2tha-z Yes. You get what you pay for

Avatar image for GOGOHeadray

I am far from a Nintendo fan ( as can be evidenced by most of my comments on this site) But when someones right they are right. And in this case Nintendo hits the nail on the head. Games that dont get traded in are the ones that give good value and make you want to keep playing it 2-3 years down the road. Star wars Battlefront, DBZ Budokai 3, and dark souls are just some of the games from my collection that I couldn't imagine trading in and all 3 were bought new. Developers need to start being honest with themsleves about the current state of the gaming market.

Avatar image for BlazingSpeed

@GOGOHeadray Argeed...

Avatar image for Mr_Big_Boss

I approve of this topic, well said Nintendo.

Avatar image for buffaloblitz85

This is so true. Most sensible thing said all E3. You don't see a lot of 9.0 + rated games go used and if you do it is years after the release date. Nintendo does a good job providing these games, and I'm not a Nintendo guy.

Avatar image for sonynhater

A good example of this is at 2nd and Charles. Everytime I go, I never see any Mario Party games on the N64 (I've been trying to get 1 and 2)

Avatar image for balaysked

@sonynhater Video game exchange, Plaistow NH

Avatar image for voljin1987

mario games are like hogwarts... dumbledore takes a wrong turn one fine day and finds a room filled with chamber pots.. in mario i do a normal jump one fine day and lo and behold a hidden block containing 1-up

Avatar image for jon_bone

Amen, Reggie.

Avatar image for mamelon2012

Haha thats actually an awesome quote and has a lot of truth to it!

Avatar image for speedy5212

Manly respect for Reggie.

Avatar image for svaubel

Finally someone said this.

Reggie speaks truth.

Avatar image for ant19831983

"Devs concerned over used sales should make better games." It's about bloody time someone came out and said this.