Nintendo Boss: Used Video Games Aren't Good For Consumers

from the oh-really? dept

The folks over at GamePolitics are highlighting the most ridiculous part of a VentureBeat interview of Reggie Fils-Aime, the president of Nintendo of America:

VB: Used games are coming up as a big issue again. Why?

RFA: More and more retailers are experimenting with the used game model. We don’t believe used games are in the best interest of the consumer. We have products that consumers want to hold onto. They want to play all of the levels of a Zelda game and unlock all of the levels. A game like Personal Trainer Cooking has a long life. We believe used games aren’t in the consumer’s best interest.

VB: Because?

RFA: Describe another form of entertainment that has a vibrant used goods market. Used books have never taken off. You don’t see businesses selling used music CDs or used DVDs. Why? The consumer likes having a brand-new experience and reliving it over and over again. If you create the right type of experience, that also happens in video games.

First off, it’s rather stunning to claim that a vibrant used market isn’t in the best interest of consumers. As studies have shown repeatedly, healthy second-hand markets actually help both consumers and original producers because it adds more value to the product. That’s rather obvious once you think about it. If someone knows they can resell the product at a decent price later, then it both lowers the risk and increases the value of the original product. On top of that, the used market also helps better differentiate on pricing, again benefiting both customers and producers.

Second, it’s quite odd to claim that there’s no used book, used CD or used DVD market. A few years back we noted that the used book market had become a multibillion dollar industry, and you just need to look on, say, Amazon or eBay to see thriving sales of used books, CDs and DVDs. To claim that there’s no such market either shows ignorance of the market or is an outright lie — neither of which is a good thing.

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Companies: nintendo

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Comments on “Nintendo Boss: Used Video Games Aren't Good For Consumers”

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R. Miles says:

What did you expect...

…from a company that charges $250 for a redesigned Gamecube or still charges $49 for its titles it released in 2007?

Reggie has said many, many things, most of which have been inaccurate up to this point in time.

Especially the part about gaming developers [ad lib] “flocking to the Wii for its simple design structure”.

Right, Reggie. We’re still waiting.


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: What did you expect...

Um yeah… wow. What a stupid comment (the original one). The Wii is probably the most different that the predecessor than any of the consoles. I mean how much did MS change the X-Box? Sony would be the next closest, with some of the new features in the PS3. But I must have missed the wireless motion sensing controllers for the Gamecube.

Tgeigs says:

What would happen?

What would happen if they had asked them that question and he’d responded something like:

“Well, unfortunately because of the nature of our business, we have to strike a balance between the demands of our customers and the demands of the shareholders that we also have to answer to. Obviously these two parties are on the opposite sides of the business spectrum, and so there is some natural friction between the two. In the opinion that we’ve reached, it is simply better overall for our business as a whole to promote the purchase of new games over used games, and we act accordingly.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Missed Quote

I see you emphasized a part of his followup question, but you may have missed a very important thought at the end:

“If you create the right type of experience, that also happens in video games.”

I think that the “best interest” he is referring to is the nature of high replay value. I’ve always found that many nintendo games have a very long lifetime. If the creator focuses on the long term experience, then the reason for selling off your used games diminishes, because there’s still that high replay value.

Alan Gerow (user link) says:

First, I love Nintendo. I have a Wii, original DS, DS Lite, and want the DSi (I also have a PS3).

In 1994, all Nintendo executives were required to jump into a giant pipe in the basement of Nintendo of Japan headquarters. Since then, they have all lived and worked in a parallel, but separate, world where Nintendo characters aren’t rendered, but exist. They document with the ferociousness of a historian on meth, and give those stories to the world.

The used market is dead there, just as he explains. Because in Nintendoland, earning money is as easy as trespassing on royal property and collecting all the gold coins the King has hidden inside in and on all of his masonry.

So there is no need to sell used games, or even concern oneself with the price of retail video games. In fact, people usually overpay, just unload the burden of bulging pockets of gold coinage.

The executives only resurface occasionally to bring us the latest tale of mystical wonder and whimsy, and also to take back news of Sarah Michelle Gellar’s latest movies.

PaulT (profile) says:

Christ, what a stupid set of remarks…

“You don’t see businesses selling used music CDs or used DVDs.”

Yeah, Amazon Marketplace doesn’t sell anything like that, and you can’t find any used media on eBay. *facepalm*

“We don’t believe used games are in the best interest of the consumer.”

Yes, they are. People factor in the trade-in or used sale value of a game when they purchase it. This can make the difference between buying a new game at $60 or waiting for a bargain bin sale at $20 a couple of years later. Used games mean that consumers can buy more games with the same amount of money. How can that not be in the consumer’s best interest?

“They want to play all of the levels of a Zelda game and unlock all of the levels”

…and then trade it in for another game when they’ve done that and they’re bored of the thing. If they can’t do that, they might not be willing to pay full price.

I wonder if this is an indication of some future plan to “crack down” on used games sales, even though it would probably damage sales of new games?

interval says:

What a D%ck

Used books have never taken off? That’s really an apples-oranges argument. Used anything doesn’t “take off” by definition. Its after-market. As much as it pains these guys I’m going to have a hard time believing they have a right to control what I do with a product after I’ve purchased it.

Like there’s a huge underground of people marketing and getting rich off after-market purchases. These guys are disparate to milk every last cent out of me.

Trevor says:

Use of Used Games

As a consumer, and strictly speaking for myself, I am much more willing to purchase a video game if I know in 6 months I will be able to sell it for 50% the purchase price. With that money I go purchase the new latest game, which I am more willing to pay for since half the money used came from the last purchase.

If I knew that every game purchased would automatically be worth nothing at the time of sale, not only would pirating software become much more appealing, but my purchasing habits would be saved for only very specific titles.

In my honest opinion, it is a ridiculous claim to make that used games are futile for the gaming industry. If the used game market were to expire, I would most likely invest in other hobbies. And not to mention, I still enjoy playing the SNES. How in heaven’s name am I supposed to be able to purchase games for a console that old directly from the retailer?

Aaron says:


“We have products that consumers want to hold onto. They want to play all of the levels of a Zelda game and unlock all of the levels. A game like Personal Trainer Cooking has a long life.”

If that’s true, then what’s his problem? If people want to hold onto Nintendo’s games then they won’t show up in the second-hand market. It’s not like Gamestop is breaking into people’s houses and stealing their games to resell as used *knocks on wood*. People are choosing to take their old games and sell them back.

Alex says:

Actually, as penny arcade have mentioned several times, the used game market hurts consumers more severely than in most other industries. Gamestop et al have realised that the markup on used games is way higher than profits they can make selling new games. Now the used games are the focus of their business, to the detriment of NEW games and therefore, consumers.

gamestop says:

Re: Re:

best buy
wal mart
mom/pop shops

if gamestop wants to become the new FuncoLand fine. They should try and do that. It is after all better for them if profits are what matters. Yes it MIGHT hurt sales of some games but It may open up new avenues for dev direct game purchases.

Why have storefronts at all when a dev can potentially drop-ship fresh pressed discs to your door… For less.

Anonymous Coward says:

It does keep people from buying the newest games on the market. I mean I wait until either the price drops on a new game or until I can get a used game for a reasonable price. I mean I thought you people were all about supporting the “artist.” Buying a used game doesn’t support the “artist.” It supports gamestop. Whatever. I am sure I am wrong.

Brandon says:

Re: It Doesn't Work!

>>You don’t see businesses selling used music CDs or used DVDs

“Quick! Someone let Half-Price Books ( know the business model they have WON’T WORK!”

You beat me to it! That is one of my favorite stores! On top of that, here in Indianapolis anyway, we also have CD Replay which only sells used electronics such as DVDs and CDs. And there are several around town. We also have McVanns which only sells used video games and systems. They have stores also in Fort Wayne and Evansville and are still opening more stores. So it appears that selling used games, CDs, and DVDs is alive and well, especially in this economy.

Gene Cavanaugh (profile) says:

Used merchandise

You are so right, and the guy you are quoting is “out of it”. Here in Google Country (Mountain View, CA) we have a “Book Buyers” store next door to a “Books, Inc.” (new literature only) store. They complement each other; I often go to one, and end up buying at the other – and often I would have left without buying from either if they weren’t both so convenient for me.

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