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Friday, January 27, 2012

[In The News] The Old "Consoles Will Block Used Games" Returns

Long time readers of Cathode Tan might remember back when the PlayStation 3 was about to roll out, we got tons of interesting news posts of very dubious quality, not the least fervent that the PlayStation 3 wouldn't play used video games. It started with a rumor based on a patent, got twisted, add a big of blog phone game and then the Guardian was reporting the rumor (only to get it later vetted and pulled).

Well ... it's baaaack. Via Kotaku:

But that disc detail could be far less impactful to the next generation of game consoles than the assertion I've heard from one reliable industry source that Microsoft intends to incorporate some sort of anti-used game system as part of their so-called Xbox 720.

It's not clear if that means that the system wouldn't play used games or how such a set-up would work. Obvious approaches—I'm theorizing here—like linking a copy of a game to a specific Xbox Live account could seemingly be foiled by used-game owners who would keep their system offline. My source wasn't sure how Microsoft intended to implement any anti-used game system in the new machine.
-- Sources: The Next Xbox Will Play Blu-Ray, May Not Play Used Games (And Will Introduce Kinect 2)

Emphasis mine. First, let's set aside the notion that the next gen Xbox will use Sony's Blu-Ray for a whole other rumor-busting post. Let's focus on the concept of reporting something based on an anonymous source who can't provide any actual details on how this might work. If you can't detail how this might work - I don't see what the point is in reporting it at all. How this would work is the story. Last time, people were actually thinking the PS3 would scratch a notch into the disc to determine if it had been played.

We'll also set aside the questionable grammar of describing obvious approaches and only describing one approach and instead focus on the notion that the theory is hypothesizing using Microsoft's paid online service for punishing used game owners.

Because yeah - that sounds like a decent business strategy. Hey, I finally signed up for Xbox Live. Why aren't my old games I bought at GameStop playing?? Unsubscribe.

So not so much obvious, more like ridiculously bad customer trust.

Look people - the games industry might see the used games market as some kind of "grey market" area where they don't see any revenue while GameStop sells a $59.99 game once for $59.99 and then again for $56.88 ... but Microsoft's (or Sony's) role as a game publisher isn't going to override their need to sell consoles and XBox Live. And any strategy down this general direction would do just exactly that.

And that's aside from the point that I've yet to hear anyone give a technical method which would actually work. Bad business and sketchy technology? Not buying it. Let's wait for some real 720 news.

Which out of the original article is ... uh, yay! Kinect 2!


r4 sdhc cards said...

I use the Playstation 3 console to play the games. The gaming function of this game console is the best. The features of this game console are very nice and easy to understand.

Steve S said...

The console manufacturers don't need to actively work to eliminate the used game market. That will go away on it's own through the natural evolution of online game distribution. The more people who buy games online, and the more games that are distributed exclusively online, the less of a used market there is.

Note the vast market for used iPhone games and you get my point :)