I don’t know where
the rumour has come from that the next Xbox will not allow pre-owned games to played on it, but it has surfaced and caused quite a stir with the public.
Microsoft’s next console to be released into the gaming world is believed not to allow users to play games which have been previously played by another Xbox Live user. This would mean that every game would require some sort of code (similar to EA’s online pass) which activates the game and makes it playable. We must remember that this is very similar to PC gaming and that with a serial code, you get one use and that’s it. Obviously, not all PC games have this one-time use restriction on the code but I feel that won’t be the case if Microsoft do go down this alley.
So, you buy your game, you activate the code, get home and realise that the game is the biggest pile of garbage you have ever played *cough* MW:3 *cough*. You take it back to the store where you bought it and what do they do with it? Surely they would have to issue another code with it, if they wanted to sell it on, or it would have to be destroyed. Very wasteful.
This also means that chumps like you and me, who don’t want to buy a game at release and pay anywhere between £40 – £50 will either have to wait a few months for it to drop in price (in the case of any Call of Duty game, it will take a year, trust me!). Even places like CEX sell games with an online pass for £35 and that’s still a pre-owned price for a game which is relatively new (FIFA12).
This also means that a lot of people will NOT be able to rent games from places like Blockbuster and LoveFilm. Some people rely on these services to be sure they like a game before they buy it and with the introduction of activation codes, again, it means a new code is issued after every rental or the game rental industry loses a major player. Personally, I think if Microsoft/Game developers are trying to wipe out the use of pre-owned games on their console then they won’t supply extra codes under any circumstance.
The above is obviously against the idea of having activation codes with every game. Just like a lot of other people, I don’t want to pay the price of a brand new game. As much as I love peeling off that damn Microsoft sticker from the side of the case, I simply can’t afford the new price of a game. Definitely not right now, anyway. Microsoft seem to forget that when they released the first Xbox 360, consumers could upgrade it with different parts and features, i.e. a bigger HDD, a HD DVD player, wireless network adapter, etc. This was a big step in gaming and allowed different styles of players with different budgets to have a console without having to pay top price. They have showed that they don’t really want to go down that route anymore with the latest Slim consoles but that doesn’t mean the games have to follow in the same direction.
On the other side of the fence, there is the game developers who, aren’t exactly the Richie Rich of the gaming world but they’re no Worzel Gummidge, either. The used game market is a big business which they are jealous of. This is because they don’t see a single penny when a pre-owned game is sold. You can understand the frustration of these poor folks but that doesn’t mean to say they should be taking it out on consumers! I think a deal should be struck up between the developers and companies like CEX and Gamestation which says that if a pre-owned game is sold, X amount goes back to the company who made it. Just a suggestion!
To summarise, there isn’t much going for the Xbox 720 (or whatever it’s called). Apart from better graphics, there doesn’t seem to be much else pushing me to buy it. What additions can they really make which are affordable and practical? By practical I mean the whole, needing an empty aircraft hanger to play on the Kinect when it was first released… If this whole ‘no pre-owned games’ malarkey is more than a rumour, I think Microsoft will lose more than just money; They’ll lose trust.