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Microsoft Games

Xbox 720 Could Require Always-On Connection, Lock Out Used Games 592

MojoKid writes "Sony's next-generation PS4 unveil is just two weeks away, which means leaks concerning both it and Microsoft's next-generation Xbox Durango (sometimes referred to as the Xbox 720), are at an all-time high as well. Rumors continue to swirl that the next iteration of Xbox will lock out used games entirely and require a constant Internet connection. New games would come with a one-time activation code to play. Use the code, and the game is locked to the particular console or Xbox Live account it's loaded on. Physical games will still be sold (the Durango reportedly supports 50GB Blu-ray Discs), but the used game market? Kiboshed. If this is true, it's an ugly move on Microsoft's part. Not only does it annihilate the right of first sale, it'll eviscerate any game store or business that depends on video game rentals for revenue."
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Xbox 720 Could Require Always-On Connection, Lock Out Used Games

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  • by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @03:41AM (#42818197) Homepage Journal

    Neither Microsoft or Sony have any interest in eliminating rental companies like Gamefly or resellers like Gamestop. What they do want is what the Publishers want -- Increased Revenue. It's well known that the Publishers have put pressure on Sony and Microsoft to restrict game resales because they don't get a dime of profit from 2nd hand sales.

    Yes, Sony and Microsoft will be tying unlock codes to game systems to prevent play from 2nd hand owners. But what they don't tell you is that they will allow 2nd hand owners to BUY an unlock code via the Playstation or XBox stores for either unlimited or fixed duration (rental) game play.

    So the question is not whether you can play a pre-owned game, because you will be able to, but whether or not game rental companies and game retailers can remain profitable with the added cost of the unlock codes in the mix.

    Gamestop and Gamefly will work with this new system to include activation codes for rentals and pre-owned with the sale to make the customers life easier. I know that I already get all sorts of PlayStation Store redemption codes from GameStop when I pre-order Games or buy added DLC at point of sale. So an unlock code should not be that big a deal, since all it really is is a redemption code anyway.

    In the end, I suspect that not much will change other than it might cost a bit more to own that 2nd hand game.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 07, 2013 @03:41AM (#42818201)

    But if I buy 10 other computers, I can install steam on all those 10 computers. Then I can burn those computers in a fire, and install everything I own on 10 new computers. And steam will even sync your save files/settings across all your devices if you are so inclined. Plus, steam gives the developers the option of foregoing the drm, in which case the purchaser may fully access the files and do whatever with hem. If I have 2 x boxes (1 for each kid's room, maybe i move between two houses a lot, maybe my old one broke and I bought a new one because of the xbox 720 infamous purple hexaflexagon of death bug, etc...) according to this I need two copies of the game. And if I have a steam box, I can download my games and then install it in, say, a cabin in the woods or a tree house or something, while the xbox requires a constant internet connection even after I have the games installed. So yeah, they certainly seem the same. Admittedly, you can't resell steam games, but in exchange for that they actually provide a lot of benefit.

  • by Sique (173459) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @03:46AM (#42818229) Homepage
    And then you run afoul the ruling of the European Court of Justice, that allows explicitely for resale, and requires the original seller to remove all hindrances for a resale should the current owner want to.
    And don't come up with that "it's only licensed!" stuff, this doesn't fly in the E.U. It's either a sale (and all the usual conditions for a sale apply), or it's a rent (and then the usual conditions for a rent apply).
    For reference [europa.eu]

    Where the copyright holder makes available to his customer a copy – tangible or intangible – and at the same time concludes, in return form payment of a fee, a licence agreement granting the customer the right to use that copy for an unlimited period, that rightholder sells the copy to the customer and thus exhausts his exclusive distribution right.

  • Re:Hacktivism (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sique (173459) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @03:59AM (#42818271) Homepage

    I can't imagine any legal grounds anyone would have for a lawsuit, in this instance. You can sell or trade or give away your games all you want, leaving the first sale doctrine intact. The fact that the game no longer works for the poor guy who bought it isn't Microsoft's problem since they aren't obligated to provide support for used products.

    It won't work in the E.U., given current rulings of the European Court of Justice. It explicitely ruled that making available a permanent copy of a software to a customer for a fee is a sale (independently of the name in the contract, just naming it "license" doesn't make a difference), and thus the First Sale Doctrin applies. The copyright holder is not allowed to oppose such a seal, and technical means to render a resold copy unusable will probably be seen as an opposition of the copyright holder to a sale -- thus making them illegal.
    The ruling [europa.eu] goes even further:

    Therefore the new acquirer of the user licence, such as a customer of UsedSoft, may, as a lawful acquirer of the corrected and updated copy of the computer program concerned, download that copy from the copyright holder’s website.

  • Re:Hacktivism (Score:4, Informative)

    by deimtee (762122) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @04:06AM (#42818299) Journal

    I can't imagine any legal grounds anyone would have for a lawsuit, in this instance. You can sell or trade or give away your games all you want, leaving the first sale doctrine intact. The fact that the game no longer works for the poor guy who bought it isn't Microsoft's problem since they aren't obligated to provide support for used products.

    That won't fly in AU. Goods must be fit for purpose, and second-hand sales do not erase the manufacturers responsibility. A quick reading of the consumer guide seems to say you could buy it second hand and then demand a full refund from the manufaturer if it didn't work due to a manufacting defect. The interesting challange would be to get disabling DRM defined as a fault with the goods.
    Link to the guide for those interested: http://www.consumerlaw.gov.au/content/the_acl/downloads/consumer_guarantees_guide.rtf [consumerlaw.gov.au]

  • Re:Always on = !on (Score:5, Informative)

    by ernest.cunningham (972490) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @04:06AM (#42818303) Homepage

    I had a mate staying at my house with an Xbox. I used this to play COD 4 and decided to buy my own xbox and COD 4 game.

  • by Sockatume (732728) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:06AM (#42818545)

    The original source for the story - not the third hand one provided here - is Edge magazine. While this seems far fetched, they don't tend to post hardware rumours unless well-substantiated. I don't think they've run a story like this since they got the scoop on the GBA SP a decade ago.

  • by Sique (173459) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:33AM (#42818633) Homepage
    That's why Valve is currently dragged into a German court [slashdot.org].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:55AM (#42818709)

    These are rumours, nothing more. You're an idiot if you believe any of this.

  • Re:Thanks, Microsoft (Score:4, Informative)

    by EvilIdler (21087) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @06:29AM (#42818857)

    The best games to buy are the ones which use SteamWorks if available, but let you run them outside Steam. There's a list of games which don't care if Steam is running on the Steam forums. Support those developers to send a message :)

    Steam has many parts. There's the distribution, which may sometimes send you an encrypted binary before official release. Once decrypted it may be DRM-free. Then there is the online/social API which requires Steam running, but that's not DRM. Then some use SteamWorks as DRM, and need you to verify online that the game belongs to your account.

  • Re:Always on = !on (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 07, 2013 @07:00AM (#42818985)

    That depends. If it is on the xbox the game was registered on then no, since it is registered to the box and the accounts dont matter. On a non registered xbox then the account it is registered to is what mattered then maybe depending on the game.

  • Re:Always on = !on (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 07, 2013 @07:04AM (#42819005)
    You seem to have a misguided sense of trust in your average consumer... This is stuff that is very much a no-no for the Slashdot community, but the average consumer doesn't care about these things: They will want to play the next CoD, and they -might- find out afterwards that these are the restrictions to their console, but will have already forgotten the next day (or stopped caring).
  • by RaceProUK (1137575) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @07:35AM (#42819109)

    Are you saying Ouya and the Steam Box are just rumours?

    No, he's saying the always-on/gamelock on the next XBox are rumours.

    Reading - it's a useful life skill. I suggest you learn how to do it.

  • Re:Well... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 07, 2013 @09:32AM (#42819823)
    Those are not PC games, they are the atrociously deformed and handicaped childs of companies terminally infected by suits and ties. Companies shambling as they groan in pain, their bloated, cancerous bodies trying to hold on some more, clinging to the happy memories of the past, when they were still game publishers.
  • Re:Always on = !on (Score:2, Informative)

    by Thugthrasher (935401) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @10:10AM (#42820159)
    THAT'S a valid reason not to buy 720. What's NOT a valid reason is "My friend loaned me his console and COD game, so I bought a 360. That can't happen with the 720." Because that CAN happen with the 720. Loaning games to friends with another X-Box? Not happening. Loaning X-Box + games to friends who don't have one? Still can happen.
  • Re:Always on = !on (Score:5, Informative)

    by FyRE666 (263011) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @11:48AM (#42821143) Homepage

    "No, because the steam games are sub $10."

    I'm on the UK Steam store right now, and unless the US version has a totally different pricing structure, all current titles are way over "$10".

    Borderlands 2 = £29.99 ($47.11)
    Call of Duty Black Ops 2 = £34.99 ($54.97)
    Devil May Cry = £29.99 ($47.11)

    So basically you're lying, and I'm surprised your comment has been flagged insightful. Not only that, but trying to justify Steam's system because you can get around it by criminal means (in the eyes of the games companies) is ridiculous.

  • Re:Always on = !on (Score:5, Informative)

    by FyRE666 (263011) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @01:05PM (#42822099) Homepage

    You didn't add the caveat "old games are sub $10", you just stated that steam games are sub $10. This is demonstrably incorrect. You might as well say "Ford cars are better than BMWs because they cost under $100", and not mention the fact you're talking about some 20 year old junker (mandatory car analogy completed!)

    I tend to buy current titles, and I'd bet that's where the vast majority of game companies (and Steam's) revenues come from. Whether you do or not is totally irrelevant - the fact is, Steam sell the latest games for £30 or more, and prevent resale, or gifting after the game is used. Yes, I could only buy old stuff from 2011 to play on PC, but then I could also buy old "bargain bucket" games for the console too. The fact is that what Sony and MS are proposing to do is almost EXACTLY the same as what Steam have been doing for ages. I'm sure that eventually someone will find a way around the copy protection with the consoles, as they have with every prior generation.

    With all this said, I'm a PC gamer, not a console gamer (though I've owned most consoles) but I don't kid myself that Steam are any better than any other company out there. They exist to make money; they're not your friend, or anyone elses. Everything a big company does, it does to increase its profits. There's no moral compass involved.

  • Re:Always on = !on (Score:4, Informative)

    by Wolfrider (856) <kingneutronNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Thursday February 07, 2013 @06:21PM (#42826643) Homepage Journal

    --Yes - case in point: My cable went out yesterday. Cable company says earliest time we can get a tech out to your house is Friday. Went down and played Halo Wars to pass the time.

    --Not possible if 720 REQUIRES an internet connection. Stupid, stupid, stupid... MS, DON'T DO THIS!!111one!

"Today's robots are very primitive, capable of understanding only a few simple instructions such as 'go left', 'go right', and 'build car'." --John Sladek