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Publishers should share in potential used game fees, but 'delight consumers' to dissuade trade-ins, says Take-Two exec

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Take-Two Interactive chairman Strauss Zelnick says that if Microsoft manages to profit from the trade-in and sale of used games on Xbox One, so too should third-party publishers.

"There's no question that if Microsoft has figured out a way to 'tax' used games, then we should get paid too," Zelnick said at the Cowen and Company Technology, Media and Telecom Conference today. "It would be hard to imagine why they should and we shouldn't."

But Zelnick argued that video game publishers and console makers should consider non-punitive options to discourage trade-ins and secondhand sales of games. He outlined Take-Two's stance, which he said aims to "delight the consumer" long enough to keep them from reselling their software.

"We do have first-sale doctrine here; I'm not one to complain about it," Zelnick said. "Our view about used games has been: As opposed to whining or figuring out ways to punish the consumer for buying used games, we figured out we'd better delight the consumer. Let's push up our quality, which you've seen in our Metacritic score[s], and let's make sure to give people DLC — often for free — three or four weeks out, which is the time you're at risk for trading in their games."

MCV reported last week that Microsoft planned to take a cut from retailers who purchase and resell used copies of games. An earlier report from Wired indicated that Xbox One owners would have to pay a fee to play used games on the next-gen system, but Microsoft later said those used game fees were "potential scenarios." A source later told Polygon that used Xbox One games wouldn't impose a fee on consumers.

Microsoft later attempted to clarify, writing in a statement, "Xbox One is designed to support the trade in and resale of games. Reports about our policies for trade in and resale are inaccurate and incomplete. We will disclose more information in the near future."

Details from Microsoft about its stance on secondhand games on Xbox One are expected this week.