With all the hoopla over the upcoming release of Nintendo’s Wii U and rumors circulating about the next consoles from Microsoft and Sony, few things have drawn the ire of gamers more than the possibility of used games being locked out. While extreme, this move seems plausible given the fact that the gaming industry reviles the secondary market, and they make no secret of it. However, Nintendo has calmed our fears by confirming that they will not be going down this road, and that used games will indeed by playable on the Wii U console.
In an interview with Gamespot, Nintendo marketing executive Scott Moffitt answers some long-standing questions about what the Wii will have to offer, including some of the core features and the target audience they are reaching out to. The topic of used games was hardly an elephant in the room, since a potential lockout has been widely discussed and speculated on, and Moffitt gave a direct and honest answer regarding Nintendo’s position on the matter.
“I don’t know if we have a formal position on used-game sales. It is a reality in the marketplace.” Moffitt acknowledged, going further to add “We haven’t incorporated any features that will discourage used-game sales at this point. We’re not trying to circumvent that.”
What we can take away from this is that Nintendo will not be restricting used games from actually being played on the console, at least for the foreseeable future. This is either due to Nintendo not viewing the losses from used game sales as big enough to justify integrating technology to lock them our, or they are cognizant of the risk that comes with limiting consumer options. If used game sales go by the wayside, the media becomes cost prohibitive for some and the short term gains could be outweighed by long term losses. This is all speculation, but it’s definitely a plausible scenario that is hopefully not lost on Nintendo.
The optimist in me wants to think that Nintendo accepts the rights of consumers who want to purchase used games, however the “at this point” statement does make you wonder if it’s something they will consider one day. The restrictions we have seen in place (online passes, one-use codes, etc) are mainly imposed by the publishers and developers, but who is to say that the hardware developers won’t follow suit? Microsoft and Sony have been completely silent on this matter and we’ll only know more once they unveil their respective consoles, but for now it’s good to know that Nintendo fans won’t be limited in their purchasing options. At least for now.