So, the Xbox One disaster continues. Microsoft’s policy for dealing with the used games market has reportedly leaked – and it’s a clear and direct attack to destroy the used games market. Prices for used games will be set at the retail value of a new game, and retailers have to hook into Microsoft’s computer systems and comply with Microsoft’s terms and conditions.
The policy, independently reported on by several sites, works as such. Gamers can only sell “their” used games to Microsoft-approved retailers who are hooked into Microsoft’s computer systems. Once a gamer has sold “his” game to the retailer, said retailer will enter this information in Microsoft’s systems. The gamer’s Xbox One will phone home every day, and the game that has just been sold to the retailer will be automatically removed from the gamer’s Xbox One.
The retailer can then sell the game, but both Microsoft and the game’s original publisher will get a set cut from said sale. The leaked information suggests the retailer’s cut will be as little as 10%. The information also details that the activation price consumers will pay for used games will be Â£35, which means retailers only get a cut of about Â£3.50 – much less than what they get from used games today. I’m assuming that the computer systems and costs for joining the program aren’t low, either.
This policy is a clear and concerted effort by Microsoft and publishers to – excuse my wording – fuck consumers and destroy the market for used games, and, in one fell swoop, also destroy the ‘market’ for borrowing games to and from friends. This makes it incredibly costly for gamers to expand horizons, and as such, it will actually lead to reduced overall sales. Let me explain.
I bought Mass Effect used – and consequently, I bought Mass Effect 2 and 3 as well, new (so not used). I also loaned Mass Effect to two friends, who then also proceeded to buy the next two instalments new (also not used). Since money doesn’t grow on trees, my friends and I would have never bought a then-unknown-to-us franchise for full price. Thanks to the very system Microsoft and publishers are destroying, they ended up with six, full-price sales.
The mind-blowing stupidity Microsoft and publishers are displaying here baffles the mind. You’d think that after seeing the failed efforts by the music, film, and TV industries, Microsoft would learn – apparently they haven’t. People, do not buy the abomination that is the Xbox One.
The blurry line between fair use and developers and publishers bankruptcy. For us gamers feels like friendship or fair use but when that means a developer might get just 1/5 of the projected profit it becomes dangerous. We all have done it, is legal, we all have friends but developers have the right to protect their profit after all without that there would be no amazing games.