Nintendo's Used Game Policy: Make Games People Won't Sell


May 4, 2013
Despite the debut of new consoles and a next-generation of games, one of the biggest talking points going into and coming out of E3 2013 concerned Microsoft and Sony's digital rights management, and how each company would be restricting or influencing used game sales, borrowing, lending and more. With Nintendo featuring no restrictions along those lines for Wii U or 3DS, I asked the publisher's global president, Satoru Iwata, for his thoughts on the topic. His solution is remarkably simple.

"The best possible countermeasure against people buying used product is making the kind of product that people never want to sell," Iwata told me, indicating that he'd never considered implementing mechanisms, or "tying down" his company's systems, with the kind of features that would restrict or control what Nintendo customers do with their used games. "Taking as an example Mario Kart or Smash Bros., even though you might think, 'I’ve done enough with this,' you’ll still have second thoughts. 'Wait a minute. If one of my friends comes over, I might need this again.' You’re never going to want to sell these games. That’s something that always occupies our minds. We need to make software that players don’t want to sell."

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