Nintendo’s Iwata: No Sense in Complaining About Used Game Sales

Used game sales are an understandably sore point with publishers but to claim that the purchase of second hand titles are not in the best interest of the consumer is absurd and borderline insulting.

That’s why it’s refreshing to see such a measured response from Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata during a recent financial briefing Q&A:

If [used game sales] were illegal acts like piracies, we could criticize them. But, however hard we may express our concern about the secondhand market, as long as they are not illegal, it does not do us any good. With video games, because people do not see much deterioration in the quality when they purchase as secondhand, it may give publishers a hard time if the used product market grows.

On the other hand, this is one of the changes in the social circumstance, and it is our job as publishers to think of how to cope with the changes. When you ask me how we will cope with this issue specifically, our answer is that Nintendo must continuously craft ideas so that our consumers will feel like owning the purchased products or think about how to motivate the customers to purchase new products instead of used ones.

On a related note, according to Gamasutra, Gamestop reports that while console and new software sales are down 2.8%, sales of used software are up a whopping 31.9%.

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Correspondent and gaming snob Andrew Eisen only purchases factory sealed titles…

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  1. 0
    Wormdundee says:

    And really, consumers should be angry about this as well. You’ve got people buying a new game for 59.99, they don’t like it, and return it for 29.99. Then GameStop goes and resells it for 54.99. This is all happening within the first week of release.

    Who are these people returning games to GameStop for peanuts? You could probably sell it yourself for at least 30% more than GameStop will give you.

  2. 0
    Craig Ostrin says:

    I thought the biggest issue wasn’t that the used game market exists (you can’t shut down eBay, after all), but that GameStop, the primary, dedicated videogame retailer, not only sells used games right alongside new ones, but also actively encourages customers to buy used.

    Not that there’s much you can do about it, but you don’t see that in a lot of other industries.


  3. 0
    State says:

    That’s not what they’re complaining about, rather it’s about second-hand sales of current games preventing the new versions of the current games (as in Wii, PS3, 360) being sold.

  4. 0
    Fredrick2003 says:

    I recently purchased a used copy of Echo Night for the Playstation.

    I don’t understand why companies are so butthurt about this.  I would have bought it "new" but I can’t exactly walk into my nearest Best Buy and do that ya know?

    Great game by the way, I could probobly actually find Echo Night: Beyond new if I look hard enough, it’s on my list.

  5. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    Aparrently, you haven’t heard of Atari’s ET Landfill incident, that coined the term "shovelware," have you?  Shovelware has been around since gaming’s infancy in the 70’s.  The reason the Wii has it is because it’s so easy to program for, compared to the 360 and PS3.


    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  6. 0
    Wormdundee says:

     Sorry, but no, that was Reggie Fils-Aime who said it in an interview. I have a feeling he wasn’t prepared for the question and said something that he didn’t have time to think about. Obviously still a stupid thing to say, but I don’t think he would say it again.

    And man, if you think Wii is responsible for the development of shovelware…how ignorant can you be? Yeah, there’s a lot of it on Wii, but you cannot possibly suggest that there have not been huge amounts of shovelware before the Wii. Take a look at the PS2. There was such a massive amount of games for that system, that a large amount of them were shovelware.

  7. 0
    State says:

    Isn’t this a follow-up to his previous comments that Nintendo games were so good that no one would want to get rid of them? Or has he now realised that the Wii has been responsible for the development of Shovelware?

  8. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    You can’t make used media sales illegal.  A transaction transfers ownership.  If the used game was a copy, then it’s illegal, but that’s already piracy anyway.  Restricting the sale of used games wouldn’t stop that at all.


    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  9. 0
    Chaltab says:

    One thing Nintendo specifically could do to encourage new software sales is let their MSRP’s drop faster. I swear I’ve seen Gamecube and Wii games selling for $50 two years after their release.

  10. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    Yes since the PSX/Saturn days the consoles have had digital protection on the discs,though oversight creates loopholes both the PSX and Saturn can be bypassed with a simple swap trick involving grabbing the spinning disc and replace it with a legal backup the PS2 has this for PSX games currently the only software based mod for PS2 games is a memory card trick where you load information on the card from a CD you made, the Xbox had reconfigured firmware to allow for legal backups to be played same for the 360 and WII(all the WII needs is a reconfigured 50$ drive with new firmware on it and it can play GC and  WII legal backups .

    Also from what I hear they can’t do much about WII modding because the system is not easily moddied via frimeware changes everything has to be added in via new hardware revisions.

    The DSI is now regioned locked but I do not think they use a different cart design like the 8-16bit systems.


    I am a criminal because I purchase media,I am a criminal because I use media, I am a criminal because I chose to own media..We shall remain criminals until Corporate stay’s outside our bedrooms..

  11. 0
    Kharne says:

    Or DLC for that matter.

    I agree that it sounds like he’s none to thrilled that theres a second hand market, But I do like that his answer is to encourage the buyer, rather than EA’s approach of ‘Let’s DRM the shit out of this thing!’

    Then again, can you even DRM a console? Not the download stuff like X-Box Live Arcade or Wiiware since I’m sure that has copy protection already, I mean disc-based games. Could companies actually limit the number of Wiis/XBox360s/PS3s a game can run on? That doesn’t seem too likely.

  12. 0
    TBoneTony says:

    I think that Publishers have had a hard time with used game sales because they were not used to having used games selling more than newer games.

    Just like how mainstreem media these days don’t understand that Videogames are more popular than movies, and now we see many mainstreem media treat videogames as if children AND adults are Videogame Addicted.

    See what is going on here?


    People just don’t understand, and that is why us gamers always have to go though allot of shit when something we like becomes more popular than the mainstreem.


  13. 0
    JDKJ says:

    Gamestop reports that while console and new software sales are down 2.8%, sales of used software are up a whopping 31.9%.

    So much for the accuracy of console and game sales as a proxy indicator of discretionary spending.

  14. 0
    MechaTama31 says:

    At least he can count on people like me, who prefer to buy new anyway.  Unless it’s old or rare or otherwise unavailable new, I rarely buy used.  Partly because I just like that feeling and smell of opening a new game, and knowing that it has only been mine and only ever will be mine.  And partly because I think Gamestop has pushed used games to the point where it’s a detriment to the industry, so that taints the idea of used games in general for me, even if not from Gamestop.

    And before anybody starts in, no I’m not interested in debating whether or not used games are a detriment to the industry.  I’m not evangelizing here, just explaining my own personal take on it, right or wrong, and how it affects my buying habits.  I don’t want a pack of angry used game buyers jumping down my throat. 😉

  15. 0
    Alyric says:

    Completely agree with you. Places like Gamestop profit by exploiting the laziness and/or ignorance of the average consumer.

    Sucker born every minute, eh?

  16. 0
    sheppy says:

    I really think MY issue comes with the stats presented in the topic and why I now just won’t shop at certain stores.  It’s NOT that used sales exists.  It’s the cost of new sales at the benefit of used sales.  Gamestop Employees (and Gamecrazy, let’s not let THEM off the hook) will blatantly lie to you (for example, how in the hell can a used copy of GTA be even better than a factory sealed copy in terms of disc quality?) to make that used game sale.  If it’s a couple months old, sure.  Encourage the secondary market.  But by the games first weekend?  Now you’re hurting the industry.

    You, as a consumer, have a right to sell your property.  But for christs sake, quit accepting the rape route of Gamestop.  Getting $21 for that copy of Punch-Out should never be considered acceptable and you SHOULD just turn around and flip that on Ebay or Craigslist where you can recover most of your money.

    Wall of Text Simulation- Insert coin to continue.

  17. 0
    Monte says:

     Well those within the industry have been on both sides of the issues… some criticizing used sales while more level-headed answers like this one. Frankly, it’s a report that one more industry offical is not harping on used games sales

    the last nintendo official that we heard from about this issue said that used games sales were bad, but then said they would be alright if they were getting some money from those used sales.

  18. 0
    Vake Xeacons says:

    Agreed. In fact I think this came a little too easy. By saying, “We should shut up about used games when they’re not illegal,” forebodes a more sinister message, like, “We need to make them illegal.”

  19. 0
    beemoh says:

    This comment doesn’t seem much different to any other one, TBH. What’s changed?

    (Also, the ‘measured response’ link is broken)


  20. 0
    Azhrarn says:

    And to try and make it more attractive for consumers to purchase a game new, rather than used. (redeemable codes and whatnot could be a good way to encourage purchase of new rather than used products)


  21. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    His response is most likely the more level headed one , the way he says it it feels like he wished that used sales were illegal on the tip of his mind but realistically theres nothing they can do nothing but make new stuff for people to buy.


    I am a criminal because I purchase media,I am a criminal because I use media, I am a criminal because I chose to own media..We shall remain criminals until Corporate stay’s outside our bedrooms..

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