GAMING BLEND

Take-Two CEO On Xbox One Used Game Fees: We Should Get Paid, Too

By William Usher 2013-05-30 14:04:50 discussion comments
[Update: Sony confirms that the PS4 won't have used game DRM, internet activation or trade fees]

Okay, so we know that there are used game fees for the Xbox One. PR spin posters have been trying to muddle the point to the effect of creating obfuscation surrounding the matter, but it's out there: Xbox One in its present state of policy has a used game paywall. With that out of the way, publishers are now jumping on board the “Hey, I want my money, too” bandwagon.

OXM caught an interview with Take-Two Interactive's CEO Strauss Zelnick , who told Gamespot...
“There's no question that if Microsoft has figured out a way to tax used games, then we should get paid, too," ..."It's hard to imagine why they should and we shouldn't."

Dang, now we're going to have everyone holding their hand out saying "Me...me, too...I want some of that money over here!"

But what's a little weird is that Strauss should have been informed already that publishers will get a cut after Microsoft takes their lion's share of the revenue from used game resales. This isn't some rumored thing either, this comes directly from Microsoft's own vice president Phil Harrison, who explicitly told Kotaku...
“The bits that are on that disc, you can give it to your friend and they can install it on an Xbox One," he said. "They would then have to purchase the right to play that game through Xbox Live."

"They would be paying the same price we paid, or less?" we asked.

"Let’s assume it’s a new game, so the answer is yes, it will be the same price," Harrison said.

This carries over to retailers as well, with MCUK reporting on the Azure Cloud infrastructure to facilitate license activation and deactivation for used games, which would affect how much retailers who sign up for the program would have to charge consumers for pre-owned games.

According to Strauss, however, it would be preferable if things stayed consumer friendly, with the dashing CEO saying...
“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,"

"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 8 weeks, you almost don't care anymore about used game sales because it's the first 8 weeks that really nail you."

Just so you know, those first two months (sometimes three months) are important because if a game sells out at retail within the first week or two, retailers will order more copies and that is what will go on the quarterly investor sheet (i.e., copies “sold” for publishers equates to how many stock keeping units they can sell to retailers/distributors/etc.) Most big releases are also scheduled around beginning or end of quarter reports so that your movers and shakers can be highlighted with numerical prestige. It also affects the bottom line for the total fiscal year margins.

Anyway, it would be pretty beneficial for the whole community if the used game fee eventually turned into nothing more than a myth and an eventual whisper in the dark. While Microsoft tried backpedaling on the used game fee system, it's all out there now and the only thing they can do is either renege or confirm it at this year's E3, which is just a week and a half away.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Sony is still deliberating on the whole used game DRM thing.

Regardless of used game sales, Take-Two Interactive has Grand Theft Auto V set for release this September for the Xbox 360 and PS3, so they probably won't have to worry much about beating profit margins.
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