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Xbox 720 Might Reject Used Games 543

Posted by timothy
from the insert-coin-to-continue dept.
silentbrad writes "Online passes are a recent staple in staving off used sales. Limiting what used buyers can access is a protective measure for publishers, much to the chagrin of parts of the gaming community. Chris Kohler of Wired argues that the death of used games is inevitable, and passes are the first step toward something exactly like a native anti-used game something integrated into consoles. He notes, of course, that digital is the future of buying games, but in the meantime we may be looking at 'an interim period in which the disc as a delivery method is still around but ... becomes more like a PC game, which are sold with one-time-use keys that grant one owner a license to play the game on his machine.' Also at Kotaku, the source for the Wired article (which is the source for the IGN article)."
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Xbox 720 Might Reject Used Games

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  • Every new generation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FrYGuY101 (770432) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @02:41PM (#38831557) Journal
    "Hey the PS2 is going to prevent you from playing used games!"

    Oops, no, you can just fine...

    "Hey, the PS3 is going to prevent you from playing used games!"

    Nope, wrong again...

    "Hey, the next Xbox is going to prevent you from playing used games!"

    At this point, I'm convinced it's just a way for the hardware people to wrangle a little bit extra developer support before launch, where inevitably they aren't stupid enough to do something that would alienate their core market...
  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@h a c k i sh.org> on Thursday January 26, 2012 @02:45PM (#38831615)

    After some years of neglect, since the late 1990s some libraries, universities, and other cultural organizations have realized that videogames are an important cultural artifact, so are worth preserving just like films and other bits of culture are. There are now things like this at Stanford [stanford.edu], and quite a few others. These are usually put together by buying used arcade cabinets, cartridges, CDs, etc., from anything from flea markets to eBay (in addition to donations from individuals and collectors).

    Videogame makers seem to be doing whatever they possibly can to make this as difficult as possible, especially for organizations like libraries that need to follow the law. It seems like if videogames are actually documented/preserved as interesting cultural artifacts, it's going to be by less-official organizations that crack them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2012 @02:47PM (#38831649)

    You should back away. It is bad mojo to turn your back to it.

    Fine, I feel bad for writing that. How come all of the gaming console companies have to be total ass badgers? I just want to have a flight simulator and give my money to a company not run by jackasses.*rant off*

  • by bonch (38532) * on Thursday January 26, 2012 @02:52PM (#38831709)

    Why is the headline of this article focussed on Microsoft and the Xbox 720?

    Because the article is about Microsoft and the Xbox 720. Because the source of the article is about Microsoft and the Xbox 720.

    I haven't RTFA as it'll be a load of made-up crap by the author.

    You'd be amazed at what you can learn when you RTFA instead of posting a knee-jerk reaction.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2012 @02:56PM (#38831757)

    Limiting features based on not having a key is a better idea.

    Such as limiting a certain number of weapons to be held, or certain number of AI bots in a game, or even limiting the game up to a certain point, removing side-quests, etc.
    It would give more reason for people to want to buy the game first, or get a new key.

    Getting rid of brick and mortar stores is a terrible thing for them and the industry, as is going entirely digital.
    A lot of companies make a large chunk of money on limited editions and the like, such as coming with original artwork (or rather, scanned original artwork), some models, whatever.
    Not only that, getting rid of them would be getting rid of a large chunk of your market because NO sane person is going to sit and download their double-digit gigabyte games.
    What with bandwidth caps and slow speeds, and of course the triple digit numbers of people ALL DOING IT AT ONCE, yeah, come back in a couple decades when the backbones of most countries aren't made out of crap.
    Better idea, CDN in each country. Each store signs up for a licence to have a hub installed in their store. This then downloads the games to them on release. People can come in with some memory device (SSD, HDD, flash, whatever), pop the game on, it gets copied, take it home, copy to console, done.
    If they have no device, they rent a device from the store to take it home. (this could be an avenue for the stores to make a bit of money for those who have no memory storage)
    You could also allow sync to be done via this method. They hop on over to the store, they upload their achievements and the like to the hub. It all gets uploaded at off-peak times at once.
    Obviously there is a lot to workout with such a system, but it is better than telling your fans with no internet to beat it.
    You now have the best of both worlds, people who can internet and people who don't have decent internet or none at all.

    The fact that Steam, PSN, XBL all suffer bad times even with upper-average traffic, what makes you think it'd hold up against everyone ever on those services using it all at once?
    They'd literally DDoS the poor servers, which I can't count how many times has happened when, say, a new huge game has came out on Steam. Switching locations like a madman to find something that will at least work, even if slow as hell.
    They'd have to have an insane number of load-balancing at the front of the network to prevent it dying so hard.

    note: I always buy brand new wherever I can.

  • by lazycam (1007621) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @02:57PM (#38831781)
    I know it's a small part of their business, but how will this decision affect a rental company like RedBox. The other day I noticed they rented out titles like Skyrim and Call of Duty. Moreover, what about companies like Gamefly, whose entire business model is based on the ability to share titles? Along with regular customers, I imagine these companies will not go down without a fight.
  • by St.Creed (853824) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @03:04PM (#38831875)

    You're very right. The automotive industry does its best to maintain the used car market precisely because of this reason: if buyers of new cars don't have an outlet for their cars, they stop buying new cars every 2-3 years but instead drop down to buying one every 10 (or even more) years. Not good.

    I'm guessing that any drop in sales will be blamed on piracy though, instead of the retarded policies of the gaming industry.

  • Re:Bull (Score:4, Interesting)

    by click2005 (921437) * on Thursday January 26, 2012 @03:05PM (#38831889)

    A) There is no way anyone has information on this system that would be negative toward it's image.

    Yes because underhanded dirty tricks to increase greed for corporations never get leaked. (ACTA)

    B) People won't even bother to buy the new console and stick with the 360

    Until they start to upgrade their stuff to only support the new console and stop support for the 360. (DX10,XP)

    C) What if you change systems, buy a second new system, or these systems fail as often as the 360 (hope not)

    Thomas in Bangalore will help you move your account. This is a 360? I'm sorry the new online system isnt supported by the 360.

  • Incorporate (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PPH (736903) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @03:10PM (#38831955)

    Create a corporation*, purchase the XBox and games through the corporation. When you want to sell, you transfer the equity in the corporation to the new owner. The h/w and s/w never change hands.

    Watch Microsoft fight a couple of hundred years of corporate law. Sit back. Laugh.

    *Yeah, I know. This will be prohibitively expensive for something like a couple of games.

  • Same for CDs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2012 @03:13PM (#38832005)

    I haven't bought a new CD (music album) in about 10 years. In that time, however, I have bought over 100 used CDs, averaging about $5 each, from online stores like secondspin.com. I simply unpack them, record each album to my FLAC archive, and put the disc/inserts away for storage. I keep a list of CDs I might want to buy and about twice a year I order a new batch of 10-15 albums. This has proven to be a great way of acquiring new music, and the best part is that I get the actual physical albums. I don't even care if they have a few scratches (most don't), as long as they record perfectly.

    In conclusion, I feel damn good about sticking it to a corrupt industry backed by a corrupt government.

  • by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @03:15PM (#38832025)

    Not to mention the other "used market" on The Pirate Bay.

    Well, unless they're going to create the first unhackable/unmoddable console in history. In that case, consider the gauntlet thrown down, Microsoft...

    You want to sell more new copies of a game? Have a non-insane pricing plan that actually decreases the cost of new games progressively as time goes on. Yes, I know they have the "Greatest Hits" line, but honestly most games they ever add to that are the ones that sold so many copies new that Gamestop won't even buy them due to having a dozen copies already they can't get rid of at $10 a piece.

    If these guys started giving the consumer incentive, rather than treating them as adversaries so often by locking them out of their own hardware/software, they would probably sell a lot more, but I doubt they'll ever try, so we'll never know...

  • by Gr33nJ3ll0 (1367543) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @03:22PM (#38832119)
    There's a difference in the markets. Cars are a tool, and essentially one tool is like any other. So it's to their benefit to provide you with a place to dispose of your unwanted (but still useful) car. Games are very different (or there would be lawsuits :) ), you can use multiple games at the same time, and you don't need one to function in society. A better analogy would be the car makers maintaining the used motorcycle, and scooter markets.
  • by rogueippacket (1977626) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @03:26PM (#38832157)
    Further to the point, they are going to wipe out brick-and-mortar distribution stores overnight - used games and warranties are the only things keeping those stores afloat today. These publishers better be ready for digital-only distribution the day they do this, but even then, they will have severely limited accessibility to their product. Weekend browsers, impulse shoppers, kids without credit cards, and parents shopping for their kids will all be impacted, and these are fairly large groups. Some consumers will adapt, but most will just move to platforms which provide greater value (99c iOS Apps, anyone?) for less hassle.
    Now, I'm not saying that cutting out the middleman is a bad thing - Steam did this quite well, and to the benefit of everyone through their legendary Steam Sales. But I can't see a market dominated by big players accustomed to $60 price points adapting before their agile competitors snap-up a good chunk of their alleged profit.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2012 @03:31PM (#38832225)

    If you watch games on steam, you'll see that blockbuster games start off at full price, but within a year there's normally a 25% or more discount. Classic games like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas can be had NEW for $15. Quake III is $10. Civilization 3 is $5.

    $30 for a used game actually seems high. Who loses out here are consumers who can't make back a little money, but really places like Gamestop that sell used games at a 300% markup. This money instead goes to the game publisher with hopefully some of it back to the developer.

    I too have issues with internet registration and DRM. Generally PHB's know a thing or two about how to price products.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2012 @03:32PM (#38832245)

    $5.00 is my limit. If I can't resell it, I won't pay more than that for it. Period.

    It isn't a problem since steam frequently has sales where games that once cost $60 now sell for $5 or less.

    I feel it is relevant to add....is the game is smaller because the devs expect to sell it that cheap, then I won't pay more than $2.50. Most indie games fall into this category.

  • Should be illegal !! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fish_in_the_c (577259) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @03:55PM (#38832533)

    Attempting to keep control of a product you sell and prevent it's resale is bad for the economy and should be illegal, as it destroys whole ecosystems of commerce.

    I'm sure cloth retailers would love to put used cloths stores out of business.
    Do you think it would work if they started including a license with their cloth that required the item to be returned to them and not resold? I mean , just because you pay for it , is no excuse to think you own it or have the right to modify it , right?

    How about care manufactures, do you think people would put up with having to sign a license agreement for that required you to always have your car serviced at the dealership and return it to the dealer rather then discard it so as to protect 'their engineering' .
    Not that they haven't tired, there is all kinds of poor engineering that has cost car companies lots of rep and lots of money , in attempts to prevent people from fixing things themselves. Now with all the computers and key fobs etc they are starting to finally have some success. That should also be illegal.

  • by Kjella (173770) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @04:13PM (#38832753) Homepage

    What you're missing is that, without a used market for buyers of new games to recoup some of the cost of their unwanted games with, they simply won't buy as many new games.

    No, but if they only want to pay $30 because they'd buy at $60 and sell at $30 after a year they will now buy when eventually the price is lowered to $30 because nobody will buy at $60 anymore. Or they can offer both a $60 buy and $30 1-year lease option on release day. There's no way they lose money by being able to totally price discriminate. In fact, they can manipulate the market by fixing it at certain price points without interference from second hand sales, enticing people to buy because the price won't go down anyway. And they can now perfectly discriminate between territories without any gray market or cross-territory second hand sales.

    Where they also win is that they exclude all the people whose value change. Say you bought it at $60 and wasn't planning to sell it, so you're indifferent to whether it's a transferable or non-transferable license. Then you find out you didn't actually like the game or grew bored with it and would like to sell it for $10 then you can do that, before you could but now you can't. Instead they now get to sell a $10 game instead of your "unplanned" $10 sale. Of course an entirely rational mind would see this, but as long as you think the value is greater than the price at the time of purchase it is still rational to buy. It is only after you have more information that the game tree has been reduced to your disadvantage.

  • by localman57 (1340533) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @04:14PM (#38832767)

    The sales that will be lost are not the initial ones but the subsequent ones where gamers are applying their trade-in value to lower the cost.

    Except that that's also the wrong way to thing about it. After Gamestop or whoever gives you that credit for your used game, they don't take it out back and set it on fire. They sell it to someone else, at a discounted price. Compare that to Steam, where you can go and buy old games for like $10 or $20 (Which I generally find to be a better value than the used console games at the Used Game stores). The publishers get a big hunk of that money. Consider If you trade in Awesome Game 2, and Get a credit for Awesome Game 3, from EA's point of view, vs if you just buy Awesome Game 3. They make the same amount of money on Awesome Game 3, but lose the ability to sell Awesome Game 2 at a discount to someone who would buy it via Steam or similar.

    Ultimately, the distribution cost via digital is almost negligible. Expect EA to price games based on formula P * Q = R where P is price per game, Q is quantity sold, and R is revenue. There's some P which results in a maximum R. Then, factor in the sales they'll make after release, where P decreases over time. These are where the real advantage for publishers come in with one-time buys, as this revenue is icing on the cake. Eventually, they then sell the whole thing to some 3rd party for a lump sum, like Microsoft does with its old Flight Sim / AOE titles.

  • by localman57 (1340533) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @04:19PM (#38832837)

    Also, cut and pasting an Amazon.com really long, annoying code into Steam or Origin is a heck of a lot less annoying than typing one in using a XBox 360 or PS3 controller. I don't actually see a lot of people putting up with this.

    These are easily solved technical problems. For instance, consider if the manufacturer printed the code as a QR code on a 5"x5" piece of paper that you just hold up in front of a Kinect.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @04:37PM (#38833057) Homepage

    Games are expensive. Many people feel they can buy games because they will have some re-sale value after the fact. But with being stripped of any resale value, I have to wonder if this will result in more "careful consumerism." But in the end, we are seeing consumers stripped of their rights when they buy things. (Yes, I know they are technically 'redefining' what consumers are buying and what their rights are, but the net effect is the same.)

    This kind of abuse simply needs to be outlawed. If someone buys a game in physical form, there should be no way to restrict their use of it. By making clever software, they are doing essentially what the DMCA says consumers can't do. They are circumventing copyright by inhibiting access to legal material copies which are owned by individuals.

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