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2013-02-06T14:12:57Z
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. Unfortunately, not all the news is good. Rumors continue to swirl that the next iteration of Xbox will lock out used games entirely and require a constant Internet connection.

The used games angle is something we've covered before. 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.
Microsoft Xbox 720, Durango

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. Sure, that means Gamestop takes a hit -- and that company isn't exactly popular -- but there's no indication that any other service that provides video game rentals would survive, either.

Then there's the always-on component. If the Xbox Durango was a $149 set top box with a hard drive and a cloud gaming connection, the tradeoff might be worth it. The idea of a $399 - $499 piece of hardware that's effectively useless without an Internet connection is intolerable. Internet connections fail. Sometimes they're up and running, but saturated with content being delivered to other locations in the house.

Xbox Live is a major component of Microsoft's services and a huge revenue engine for the company, but it's not something every gamer is going to want to use every single time they play.

If these rumors are accurate, they're only going to hurt the console, even if Sony is on board with similar methods of its own. Forcing gamers to buy every product at full retail isn't going to help game revenue. There are games I'd pay full price for the day they come out. There are other games I don't buy until they hit $29, $19, or $5 on Steam. If all new titles are locked to new pricing (or decrease only at an extremely slow pace), I'm not going to buy more $60 titles -- I'll just play fewer games.

I'm not paying $399 for a console that turns into a paperweight if Time-Warner is having a bad day. Locking out used game sales and requiring an Internet connection are not features anyone that actually buys these products is requesting.
Dave_HH
2013-02-06T15:00:33Z

I would be amazed if they somehow hamstrung used games. Adding complexity to their product is not what customers want to hear.

RWilliams
2013-02-06T15:18:58Z

Oi, I don't like this direction at all. I purchased Madden 12 when it came out after not having bought an Xbox 360 game for years. I was so appalled at the graphics, that I played a single match and gave the game to a friend. He can't play it online, because -I- was the one who registered it. And now, it looks like the next-generation of consoles is going to make that kind of situation more common, and even worse (if you can't even trade the games at ALL).

I truly miss the old days of consoles. Companies like Microsoft and Sony are completely sucking the fun out of things.

2013-02-06T16:40:29Z

I must say this makes the Ouya console even more attractive!

realneil
2013-02-06T22:13:01Z

This is an extraordinary opportunity to make your voice heard in the marketplace by just saying no. Don't buy into a hobbled game system that restricts you in unfair ways.

If enough of us make a stand this way, they'll change their stripes.

Their arrogance thinking that it's OK to do this is astounding.

Joel H
2013-02-06T22:54:46Z

Realneil, I agree with you.

Draconian
2013-02-07T00:36:00Z

What's funny is that PC gamers have had to put up with similar anti-consumer behavior for years now. PC games are frequently tied to a Steam account. You also can't re-sell Steam games. But now such practices are (possibly) coming to consoles and suddenly gamers are up in arms.

If PC gamers have to deal with always-on connection requirements (Diablo 3 and the new SimCity game come to mind), then what makes console gamers think they should be exempted? Same thing with used games. I can't remember the last time I bought a used PC game.

I would be alright with games being tied to a PSN / Xbox Live account on the condition that games were sold cheaper. Instead of charging $60 for a new triple-A title, charge $40 for that same title but tie the game disc to a user account to prevent re-sale. But I doubt the price discount will happen. Instead, we'll have a system where games cost $60 and can't be re-sold. Some collector's editions of games already cost close to $100.

detnight
2013-02-07T01:24:20Z

My son stopped playing PC games because he did not have an internet account at his house. He bought a XBox360 to game on since he did not need the internet. After living almost 10yrs on his own he opened an internet account last November. I bought him 3months of Xbox live and he still doesnot get on there so I can kick his but at Forza.

There are still people out there that do not have the internet but have consoles for for kids to play.

I always buy new PC games and most of my console game I get the day they come out also. Some of the games that I would like to play I will not pay full price fo. PC is for shooting gamesw and I hardly ever finsh the game itself because I buy them to play online 90% of the time.PS3 GT5 only and it is about 50/50 of online and regilar game play. Xbox360, I beat the game first and then spend 95% online racing.

I think always on will not allow the little guy to play. A poor kid can save money to buy a console but cannot afford to pay to play online or have internet.

Thank you for letting me wine

GarretSidzaka
2013-02-07T04:03:57Z

ERMAGERD

not buying it in a million years

Hakster
2013-02-07T07:48:47Z

I'm curious how this will work in the EU, where the right to re-sell any software is now protected. According to a ruling made last year, if I purchase an "On-demand" title on XBL, Microsoft cannot legally prevent me from reselling it on, as long as my own copy of it is made unusable, and the second-hand license market is given legal protection (check out the details on the Oracle vs UsedSoft case).

liothen
2013-02-07T09:17:12Z

The major difference, is that a PC/Mac can do more then play just video games. it is also an open platform where new games can be released with free license models etc. the Xbox is a paper weight it has one major purpose and that is to be a closed platform for gaming (side note it does media) its not really upgradable as well not to mention with Microsoft's track record it will probably die with in the first month of playing it (possibly locking your games. if bound to the console))

Joel H
2013-02-07T11:52:31Z

Draconian,

Here's the major difference. My Steam account isn't limited to my PC.

I can install a Steam game on a dozen PCs, provided there aren't additional DRM checks in place to prevent it. I can take those computers offline and play my games.

The key point here is that Steam's practical burden to use is minimal. I only use one PC at a time (at least for gaming), so the burden of having to sign in at a new location, or configure a game for offline play is negligible. Steam also holds sales and effectively hits "used game" price points. If I don't want to pay $59.99 for a title, I can pick up the GOTY edition with all DLC and possibly an expansion pack for $29 - $39 at the end of the year.

An always-on, no-resale Xbox would be far more burdensome.

realneil
2013-02-07T13:12:35Z

The guy across the street buys every new PC game title that comes out. He plays them for a while and quickly loses interest in them. When I went to the yard sale that his family was having two summers ago, he had stacks of shooters (my favorite) for sale. I bought nine games for $9.00, took them home, and tied them all to my steam account. (exactly where I want them)

Now we have a deal whereby he calls me before he puts them out.

The sales on Steam are pretty damn good at times, and all you have to do is wait a little to get them for a lot less.

This is easy to do for such savings.

RiCoFrost
2013-02-07T22:16:24Z

Stores like EB-Games buy games back for next to nothing and they sell them making 50%-75% profit and nothing goes to the game devs. I remember selling 5 games back to EB-Games and got $23 for all, which was including FF the latest one and GTA the latest one.

But yes its just like steam, everyone that has a steam account wouldnt have a problem with this because they are already doing this.

acarzt
  •  acarzt
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2013-02-08T12:11:26Z

As long as it functions like steam I would be ok with this. Especially if they have an option for digital downloads at discounted rates like steam. I rarely ever game on my consoles... They ONLY reason i do is because a game is not available on the PC (Halo, God of War, Forza, etc) If the game is available on PC... that is where I will be buying it. I might skip the next gen of consoles... as it stands the hardware is sounding pretty lacking and i'm pretty sure my PC can produce graphics that are by far better.