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Take-Two coy on pre-owned plan of attack

Will Rockstar parent introduce its own Online Pass?

With THQ, EA and Activision all gunning for the pre-owned market - and all scheming to take a slice of cash out of second-hand sales - what is that other behemoth of the gaming world, Take-Two, plotting?

For now, it's keeping its cards very close to its chest.


CEO Ben Feder faced a barrage of questions from analysts on the subject at the G7 Think Equity conference last week - but was only willing to admit that the Rockstar parent is working out a way to "participate" in second-hand revenues.

The solution to this "participation" endorsed by EA and THQ is a one-time code, which unlocks a chunk of a game's content.

If gamers purchase a pre-owned title, they must then re-buy the code - ensuring some revenue from second-hand purchases ends up with the publisher.

When pressed on whether Take-Two is keen on implementing the same tactic, Feder shifted focus to a recent US court ruling that threatens the entire pre-owned market in the US.

"Look, the used game market is protected by US law under the First Sale Doctrine," he said. "We do believe that developers should participate in some way in the product they create, but it's a protected environment. I know there was some... not legislation, but additional news that came out over the last few days.. but I think it's too early to tell what impact that will have."

When questioned again, he added:

"We try to announce results and what the company's actually doing. We don't discuss what goes on internally. For sure, we think the used game market is large, it's an interesting market and something we should participate in. Beyond that I don't have much more to comment."

EA pioneered the one-time code in the area, implementing its controversial Online Pass across its Sports portfolio.

Ubisoft has publicly supported the idea, whilst Activision has signalled it intention to tackle the pre-owned games market at a corporate level.

THQ has been the most vocal supporter of the move - having implemented it in UFC and WWE games.

The firm told CVG earlier this year that it believes second-hand sales "cheat" developers out of income.

Take Two is due to publish Duke Nukem Forever next year.