Take-Two Interactive CEO Strass Zelnick doesn't think it necessary to "punish" consumers for purchasing second-hand games, arguing that "pushing up quality" and delivering robust DLC is a more effective way of persuading people to keep hold of the disc. That said, he's bang up for a share of Microsoft's rumoured Xbox One "pre-owned fee", assuming the scheme actually exists.
A few days ago, MCV reported that retailers will pay a fee to Microsoft and the associated publisher for every Xbox One game they resell, via the Azure cloud computing service.
Here's how the system is said to work for consumers: when you take a game back to the shop it'll register as having been traded on Microsoft's system, which will automatically wipe the installed game files from your Xbox One hard drive. Microsoft has refused to discuss any of this, naturally, stating that its pre-owned policy is still being finalised.
"There's no question that if Microsoft has figured out a way to tax used games, then we should get paid, too," Zelnick told audiences at the Cowen Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference, via Gamespot. "It's hard to imagine why they should and we shouldn't."
Some developers and publishers have called for manufacturers to deter or even "block" the use of pre-owned games on next generation hardware. Crytek's director of creative development Rasmus Hojengaard once described the idea as "absolutely awesome", albeit "from a business perspective". Zelnick favours the carrot over the stick, however.
"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," he said. "Let's push up our quality, which you've seen in our Metacritic scores, and then let's make sure to give people DLC, often free, three or four weeks out - which is the time you're at risk for them trading in their game."
"If you can keep the game in consumer's hands for eight weeks, you almost don't care anymore about used game sales, because it's the first eight weeks that really nail you."
Man talks a lot of sense - but then I guess I would say that, as a person who buys games rather than making them. What do you think?