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XBox (Games) Businesses Microsoft The Almighty Buck

Xbox One Used Game Policy Leaks: Publishers Get a Cut of Sale 379

Posted by Soulskill
from the times-are-a-changin' dept.
Chewbacon writes "Details about the used-game policy on Microsoft's newly-announced Xbox One console have been leaked. The policy explains how used-game retailers can survive Xbox One destroying the used-game market as we know it: they have to agree to Microsoft's terms and conditions to do so. In summary, the used game retailer can still buy the game from the consumer, but they must report the consumer relinquishing their license to play the game to a Microsoft database. They must also sell it at a market price (35£ in the UK), but the publisher will get a cut of the price. The article goes on to explain how Xbox One will phone home periodically to verify a player hasn't sold the game according to the aforementioned database." A big downside is that we're likely going to see the end of cheap, used games. A potential upside pointed out by Ben Kuchera at the Penny Arcade Report is that this would unquestionably boost revenue for game publishers, giving the smart ones an opportunity to step away from the $60 business model and adopt pricing practices seen on Steam and iTunes (neither of which allow the purchase of "used" games/media). Also, it's worth noting that even if the policy leak is 100% correct, it could change before the console actually launches.
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Xbox One Used Game Policy Leaks: Publishers Get a Cut of Sale

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  • Where's the profit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:20AM (#43812131)

    If game stores have to sell used games back at market price, why wouldn't they just sell the new game? Why would they buy back the old game at any price?

  • Used Games? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vanderhoth (1582661) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:20AM (#43812145)
    Can't sell used games for a console, if no one buys the console. Anyone foolish enough to fall into this trap and buy one deserves what they get.
  • Fuck you, MS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by realmolo (574068) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:22AM (#43812153)

    Seriously.

    I won't be buying ANY console that doesn't allow me to sell/trade/lend my games to WHOMEVER I want, for WHATEVER PRICE I want.

    And frankly, I fully expect MS to get sued by various states, and possibly the feds. This is exactly the kind of "screw you" that consumers HATE. Maybe, possibly, this whole mess could finally get the Supreme Court to clarify what "first sale" rights are, and to do away with this whole bullshit of "we didn't sell you software, we just sold you a LICENSE TO USE our software".

  • Legal? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fermion (181285) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:24AM (#43812175) Homepage Journal
    I don't normally assume that major companies do not have competent lawyers, but as far as I know price fixing is illegal in the US. There are ways to keep prices set for new products, but for the most part we have "suggested retail price". This also would seem to violate the first sale doctrine, which has been upheld in many court cases.
  • by Chewbacon (797801) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:24AM (#43812191)
    Anyway, I wanted to spell it out for you all, but it was removed. This proves to us that this plan for used games has nothing to do with countering piracy, but only feeding greed.
  • PC Gaming (Score:5, Insightful)

    by puddingebola (2036796) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:25AM (#43812203) Journal
    If you find this onerous, being tied to a console and the policies of the manufacturer, why not vote with your dollars and return to PC gaming? Crazy first person shooting, online RPG playing, live-action strategy obsessing gamers have never had more options to choose from in terms of platforms and services to supplement their addiction.
  • YRO (Score:5, Insightful)

    by multimediavt (965608) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:26AM (#43812207)

    A big downside is that we're likely going to see the end of cheap, used games.

    Ummm, no. The big downside here is the death of the First Sale Doctrine [wikipedia.org] in the United States and the ridiculous court proceedings that will ensue to try to defend it and revise copyright law that has gone completely off the rails from its original intent.

  • Re:EU law? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:28AM (#43812231)

    Corporations only care about the law when somebody drags them into a courtroom, the existance of the law itself is often hardly a deterrent.

  • Re:Fuck you, MS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Scutter (18425) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:28AM (#43812237) Journal

    You're not buying anything. You're temporarily renting a license. The whole idea of "buying" any form of media has been bullshit for at least the last 15 years.

  • Re:Fuck you, MS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:32AM (#43812289) Homepage Journal
    This is what they WANT you to think
  • by gstoddart (321705) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:36AM (#43812333) Homepage

    This largely wipes out your right of first sale, and it props up the business model for the buggy whip makers.

    Why should a video game company get a cut of used sales? Oh, right, because it's software, you licensed it, and have no rights.

    This pretty much cements the fact that XBox One is something I will definitely not be interested in.

    Right now I can buy used games, take a game over to a friends place, and sell my games -- and it's none of Microsoft or the game publisher's business. This basically says we will need their permission to do anything, and entrenches their own revenue stream.

    There's no way in hell this leads to companies charging less for games, they'll just take their cut on both ends and expand their profits.

    Sorry Microsoft, but I'll pass thanks. There's nothing about this that's good for consumers.

  • Re:Fuck you, MS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by redemtionboy (890616) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:37AM (#43812353)

    I don't know if I'm convinced Sony isn't doing this either. Sony said they won't "block" used games. Technically Microsoft isn't either. Both companies were holding secret meetings about a year ago. I doubt both companies having similar architecture and other features is a coincidence. Sony has also said that you would install games to the drive like Microsoft claims. I'm betting they're just playing quiet.

  • by CimmerianX (2478270) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:41AM (#43812403)
    So, this effectively kills my ability to ebay off an old game I don't play anymore. Only 'big' stores will be able to sell used games after they remove the original buyer from the database? I can easily forsee many many people unable to play games because some minumum wage gamestop employee typoed a game's serial number or something. Plus, you might as well paint a big bullseye on that database for hackers. Can you imagine all of xbox losing all it's user/game data at once.... lol
  • by CmdrEdem (2229572) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:44AM (#43812449) Homepage

    Here in Brazil we saw comparable situation. Our import taxes pretty much doubled the price of the games. So a few business started to print discs here while the game industry lobby worked on a tax reduction. They got the reduction and guess what? Most games are still the same price as before, with exceptions like Ubisoft that at first reduced the price by 25% (From 200R$ to 150R$), but since then already increased the prices again from 150R$ to 180R$ at launch. They will just increase profit margin per unit and hope people are dumb enough to buy a console that takes away your right as owner of the product.

    I don`t but used games, but I respect the right of a user to do to his game as he pleases. Games should not be different from any other physical property. If I pay for someone to build a house, I don`t have to pay the contractor a part of the rent or part of my money if I sell the house. That`s absurd! The difference is that since games still have market value when the original owner is done with them they are trying to milk us once again for our money.

  • Re:Legal? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:46AM (#43812467)

    It should have been fought a long time ago. The concept of "licensing" is horrible and the reason its horrible will become evident as soon as 3D printing goes mainstream.

    Humans copy behavior just like their ape cousins. Licensing says "You can't do something you were genetically predisposed to do because money."

    It's such a stupid, foolish thing and the longer people buy into it the more evident the stupidity will become.

  • by tuppe666 (904118) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:48AM (#43812487)

    I started writing a post about who the hell could afford this new gaming environment...how bland and safe games in that market will become(have already become), and about Microsoft squandering another opportunity at this crossroads(the smart TV while we have dumb TV's)...where they could have dominated the living room(Bill is going to be squirming in interviews again)...the whole point of the Xbox anyway.

    The fun is going to be in $1-to-$4 android (and platform independent indie) games I've been there for a while...I'm adding OUYA to the mix, but there is already a cheat choice of consoles.

  • Re:Fuck you, MS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tankbob (633230) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:51AM (#43812527)
    Actually you are buying it in Europe... The European Court of Justice ruled on July 3, 2012, that it is indeed permissible to resell software licenses even if the digital good has been downloaded directly from the Internet, and that the first-sale doctrine applied whenever software was originally sold to a customer for an unlimited amount of time, as such sale involves a transfer of ownership, thus prohibiting any software maker from preventing the resale of their software by any of their legitimate owners.
  • Re:Double payment (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:51AM (#43812531)

    What I want to know is why in the world the publisher deserves a cent for a game already paid for.

    Because America has staked her entire future on the needs of the copyright/IP lobby, and is entirely dependent on these companies being able to grow their profits indefinitely, to the point that business models are now entrenched in law.

    Without corporate profits and executive bonuses, the entire economy would grind to a halt.

    Who cares if they cut out jobs and outsource everything and actually gut the economy they're supposed to be driving? Capitalism demands that you work for the same wages as someone in Mumbai, or are just an impediment to profits.

    Why do you hate America? You must be some sort of commie if you don't recognize the primacy of corporate profits.

  • Re:Fuck you, MS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Artraze (600366) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:52AM (#43812549)

    That is entirely untrue: you are buying a copy. What you can do with that copy is limited by copyright law (including the concepts of fair use) and every other applicable law (e.g. DMCA). A copy may come with an explicit license altering what you may do with it. For example, software EULAs will usually allow you to install a copy and create a backup. Without the ELUA you still have a copy; whether it has any value is another argument. Could there be exceptional cases where a copy might come with a shrink wrap license that says you must return the copy (without refund) if you violate it or don't agree? Possible, but it would quite likely unenforceable.

    Even in this case, you are totally welcome to sell your game without going through MS's hoops; just don't expect it to work on MS's console. Why? Because that's what the copy does. If you modify it to work, you've broken copyright law by creating a derivative work. A license doesn't even come into play.

    The only way your 'temporary/rental' bit makes any sense is if you meant it in the same way that one is only renting a car before it's eventual return to it's proper form of stardust. Just like a book from 100 years ago or a CD right now. A copy is a copy and the thing you bought. Just as owning a car doesn't entitle you to gas to make it go, owning a game copy doesn't entitle you to a console and authorization to make it play.

  • Re:Used Games? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sockatume (732728) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:52AM (#43812559)

    The funny thing is that it could turn out to be a thousand times less bad than it sounds, but by being cowards and refusing to lay out the system at the event itself, leaving the explanation of the service to a confused mass of PR statements, Phil Harrison interviews, and FAQ entries, they've made sure it looks absolutely as bad as possible.

    Perfect.

  • Re:Fuck you, MS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stewsters (1406737) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:55AM (#43812605)
    Playing used games probably will be a nice feature that they decide will remove in 2014.

    Sent from YellowDog on PS3... Oh wait, no it wasn't.
  • Re:Fuck you, MS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheDarkMaster (1292526) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:57AM (#43812637)
    Yep. their policy that it is selling or licensing float at the mercy of their convenience.
  • by earlzdotnet (2788729) on Friday May 24, 2013 @11:02AM (#43812713)

    Personally I like both models when done completely seperately, but what Microsoft is doing here is taking worst of both worlds.

    As someone else said, Steam is nice and convenient. They have more aggressive pricing, immediate downloads(that can go faster than 500Kbyte/s, unlike Xbox Live), and no need for annoying disks that you'll eventually end up losing

    Microsoft appears to be combining the physical aspect with the virtual aspect. Sure, being able to sell your game is nice, but if you take that ability away you damn well better keep me content with your service in other ways. Steam does that, Xbox doesn't.

  • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Friday May 24, 2013 @11:29AM (#43813099) Homepage

    Don't most people buy new games by trading in old games with cash on top? I think they would sell a lot fewer new games if people couldn't fund the purchases by selling old ones.

  • Re:Fuck you, MS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by malkavian (9512) on Friday May 24, 2013 @11:44AM (#43813313) Homepage

    Except you can sell on a car, and it'll run on the fuel you put into it.
    What's actually happening is that companies are attempting to make sure that after the initial sale, if your logic worked as you were intimating with that analogy, the car wouldn't work by putting the correct fuel in it, unless you'd paid to have the car unlocked by the original company that manufactured it. And this company enforced a set of rules that ensured it got a massive share of the original price of the car just to perform an administrative function of saying "Yes, you now own the car".
    Now, none of your friends would be able to drive it unless you paid the fee to this company, so there'd be no lending it to someone for the weekend while you didn't need it, and it covered their car being in for repairs or something. You couldn't give it away, without the authority of this company (who you'd have to pay for the privilege of giving it away, even though you'd purchased it and now were the owner by law).
    So, in effect, you'd not be buying a "car", as that describes a vehicle that moves when you put fuel in it. You'd be buying an expensive heap of junk that you'd need to pay a third party (who has no legal right to be involved in the resale of the car, apart from them putting a 'tracking' system of owner in there that won't let the heap of metal do anything, even open the doors, unless you pay them this money).
    Unless you can play this game, as is, on the console, you can't describe it as a game for the console, because it isn't. It's a medium with data on it. That data is not a game, and can't be described as one, because if you put it in the console with the expectation that it'd work, you'd find it didn't. That doesn't meet the criteria for being described as a workable game.

    It'd be a very interesting fight if people took it up en masse; I don't think it's as cut and dried as you make out.

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