Opinion: Xbox 720 Used Game “Lock Out” Rumor

Posted: January 28, 2012 by Tim Utley in Editorials
Tags: , , , ,

This past week a ton of rumors have been circling around the web about the next console from Microsoft, but none that created as many waves as the rumor about the next Xbox rendering used games obsolete.  This is still just conjecture, but if this rumor becomes reality the landscape of Video Game retail will forever be altered.

The reigning king of speculation

I have read many opinion pieces regarding this topic and have discussed the idea with some friends/colleagues and most people are 50/50 on the idea.  The bargain hunters who like to score games cheap (usually used) or share games with their friends were completely floored by the notion of one user per game and then conversely you have those who like to support the developers by buying new; ensuring that the money spent goes to creating new titles and keeping people employed.

I too am torn about the idea as I like to save money, but I also like to support the industry that I love so much.  So below I propose some ideas as well as some pros and cons about this potential feature in the next Xbox.

Ideas:

These ideas are some food for thought.

  • XBLA and Indie Games already undertake a similar formula.  Only you have access to them and cannot share or sell them.  A majority of people purchase titles like these and don’t have an issue with it.
  • A lot of people complain about how expensive games are.  Yes they are expensive, but video games are also a luxury and cost more now than ever to develop.  If you can’t afford them then you need to wait till you can.
  • PC Gaming has been doing this for years.  When you purchase a PC game you get a registration code that registers that product to you.  Steam and Origin also offer games digitally and are for use with one person (to the best of my knowledge).  You also can’t trade or sell these games to someone else.
  • If developers are getting all of the money from the purchase of a game there is a good chance that they will make it cheaper quicker.  Think about it; if everyone purchased games brand new developers and publishers alike would recuperate their investment and costs much faster.  So we could see prices drops on either the game or maybe even start to see more DLC for free.
  • Used games are great, but most gamers feel entitled to them.  Like they should be able to get the game cheaper and not have to pay any additional costs.  People also complain about online passes, but don’t understand how much it costs to maintain a server.
  • This might not even mark the end of used games.  The online pass showed that used games could exist, but if you wanted to go that route you would have to pay extra for online functionality.  The same format could be done for an entire game, but it would more than likely cost more and probably even push a used game above new retail price (which kind of defeats the purpose, but the option is still there).

Pros:

How this will benefit the industry and us.

  • The money we spend will be reinvested into the developer allowing them to create either more of what we like or be able to take a risk and develop a new IP.
  • Not necessarily a guarantee, but if consumers had to purchase titles new instead of used we would all hope that we would get our money’s worth.  So more bang for our buck and maybe even greater access to exclusive content and DLC.
  • There will hopefully be a reduction in job layoffs in the industry.  We see far too often that companies are laying off tens or hundreds of people because games either didn’t perform well or that the company didn’t make enough money off a certain property (do to either poor quality or used game sales).  I am not trying to tell you buy anything that comes out to support a developer; the game still needs to be good to you and worthy of your money.

Prevent companies that try new things from losing workers

Cons:

How this could affect the industry and us.

  • Major retailing chains that rely heavily on the sale of used games would be affected greatly. (I.e. Gamestop and kind of Best Buy)
  • Rental services like GameFly that rent and sell used games would be adversely affected and depending on licensing fees might close up shop.
  • No more borrowing games from friends or trading them in popular online forums (I.e. CAG Marketplace, Game TZ, etc.).
  • Online outlets such as Ebay and Amazon that offer online marketplaces for used games would be rocked and could potentially lose a huge number of customers as well as sellers.
  • Microsoft could potentially alienate themselves amongst other hardware developers and inadvertently create an incentive to purchase another piece of hardware pending others don’t follow suit (I.e. Playstation 4 and Wii U).

Dark days could lie ahead for the mega retailer

This is going to be a huge topic of conversation amongst gamers and industry professionals until it is either squashed or confirmed.  It is an important issue and like I said earlier most of us here at TGA are torn on the issue.  With that being said we want to know what you think about this topic.  Do you support it?  Do you think its crazy? Will you buy another console if you can play used games on it?  What ideas, pros and cons do you have?  We want all these answers and more in the comments section so please sound off.  We love your feedback and as always you can follow us on Twitter @GamersAbstract and like us on Facebook for more content.

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