Publishers’ War on Used Games and Why You Should Buy a PC Already
That’s Really a Dumb Idea
If the rumor that the next Xbox will bar used games sounds stupid, that’s because it is. At least, if Microsoft were to make such a change, it would certainly hurt itself more than help. Before we go too much further, it’s good to note that Microsoft has said there won’t be a new Xbox released in 2012, which makes discussion of last week’s anti-used game rumor pretty moot. But the whole thing makes for an interesting thought experiment, so we’ll continue thinking along the lines of whether barring used games in today’s market would even work, and how it would affect gaming.
First off, just about any locking software that tied a game to an Xbox would see some incredible public backlash. Imagine not being able to go to a friend’s place to play a game together? While online gaming has seen a massive takeoff in the last eight or so years, it by no means has replaced split-screen, same-couch gaming altogether. Would you want to buy an Xbox knowing you could never borrow a game from a friend or lend one, or that you’d need to buy every title you might want to rent? The market response from the buying public would be obscene and painful for Microsoft.
And that’s not to mention the backlash of pissing off just about every remaining brick-and-mortar retailer. Plenty of people get their games from GameStop, and Microsoft isn’t going to see a lot of good things coming out of pissing off one of the largest game retailers in the country. We’ve seen GameStop make large corporate efforts to put down competitors; it wouldn’t be hard for the company to just start pushing Playstation displays in front of Xbox ones.