Giving customers compelling reasons to hold onto a new game is a more effective way to fight the secondhand market than online passes and similar "gimmicks", according to the CEO of Fallout: New Vegas developer Obsidian.
Speaking in an interview with GameSpot, Feargus Urquhart explained that ensuring gamers have plenty of content available to them should stop them from wanting to trade-in a title in the first place.
"I think you have to go in and forget those gimmicks, and say, 'How do I make them want to keep the game on the shelf?'" he said, referring to passes that require secondhand purchasers to pay to unlock on-disc content.
"I think each genre has a way to do it. Battlefield and Call of Duty have it in multiplayer with maps, rankings, leveling up, and unlocks. There are different things, but the idea is making people feel, 'I want to keep on playing it.'
"With a role-playing game, it is the same thing. We come up with things to make players want to keep on playing it," he continued.
"By having a good and evil track, like Knights of the Old Republic II, I can play as a light or dark Jedi. I may play through as a light Jedi, but I know that I could play through as a dark Jedi. So I think, 'I'm gonna do that some day.' So I put it back on my shelf and I don't take it back to GameStop."
Urguhart added that offering engaging post-launch DLC was another way to keep gamers from trading a disc in and feeding the used market.
"If I play Fallout: New Vegas for 50 hours, but there are all these other quests, and there's this whole other area I didn't go to, and online there are people talking about all these things that you could have done all these different ways, I'll feel like 'Wow, I could play this game again,' because there is all this stuff I didn't get.
"And knowing that, publishers announce DLC plans the day the game comes out. And now, as a player who hasn't experienced everything yet, I know there are these new stories, and I'm going to be able to level up my character and get better stuff, be more of a hero. The game is going to go back on my shelf, not back to GameStop."
Almost all this winter's major AAA releases will demand an online pass, including Uncharted 3, FIFA 12 and Battlefield 3.