The Daily Five: Groups Screwed By Killing Used Games

May 24, 2013 | By | 11 Comments

How about that Xbox One reveal? It’s been a rollercoaster week for Microsoft since they pulled the curtain back on their next-gen console, but public opinion only grows more sour with every new detail.

Much of the company’s messaging has felt anti-consumer, and Microsoft seems interested only in lining its own coffers, us commoners be damned. No one at the company can give anything more than a vague non-answer as to whether or not an alleged fee on playing secondhand games equalling the full price of a new game exists, and their continued allowance of rumors to swirl is unhelpful at best. Sony isn’t doing much better, as they’re also sidestepping questions about used games on PS4.

Some see this whole thing as a novel way to put money into the developers’ pockets, and they certainly deserve to see a return on their work. However, killing the used games market would do irreparable harm to others, which is supposedly what companies like Microsoft are trying to prevent. Don’t believe us? Here are the five groups that would be affected by eliminating the used game market.

Military Deployed Overseas

Many in the Armed Forces do it because they feel a sense of duty, but make no mistake — it can be a shit gig, and that’s before you’ve even left the country. Once you do, you can be shipped out to bases and outposts in any number of places around the world, but the thing that they all have in common is that internet access is nonexistant. If you send them used games, they don’t even get the option to pay the exorbitant fee to play them.

There are also organizations that gather new games from publishers to send troops in care packages — Operation Supply Drop chief among them — but they also accept used games from you and me. Meanwhile, new Xbox One games could potentially be tied to a single console since there’s no way to access Microsoft’s cloud and log into a different machine to play it when there’s no internet access. Absurd.

Nonprofit Organizations

Organizations sending games to soldiers stationed at remote locations around the world wouldn’t be the only ones affected. Games are popular with kids as well, of course, and there are nonprofits that accept donations of used games and use them for their benefit.

The Get-Well Gamers Foundation takes the games you’re willing to donate and give them to kids at hospitals, for both entertainment and pain management. DonateGames accepts game donations to resell, using the proceeds to fund medical research. Those donations would be worth less than nothing if they had to account for used game DRM on the games that they took in.

Independent Retailers

There’s a report going around that Microsoft figured out a way for major retailers like GameStop to continue selling used games while developers (and Microsoft, of course) still get a cut of the sale. The idea is that an elaborate tracking database will scan a game when it’s traded in, and the game is wiped from your account. Retailers would have to be connected to Xbox Live’s cloud for this to work.

This seems like a reasonable best-case scenario at a glance, but it still undercuts smaller independent games shops that sell used games. When the Wii U launched, retailers that weren’t monolithic chains were left hanging by Nintendo when it came to supplying them with hardware to sell. If that’s how smaller shops are treated when they’re trying to help a console manufacturer, what can they expect when they want to join a draconian network for permission to continue doing business?

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  • Rivethead

    You also forgot low income families who rely on pre-owned retailers.

  • Reigen

    the front towards gamers staff has always fa… lets say “xbox heavy”,
    supporting the troops is gonna make them real uncomfortable in the next gen, having no other choice but to send them a ps4

  • Cyberdurc22

    I disagree, Microsoft’s reveal was just showing us the other things the Xbox One can do. With E3 around the corner, Xbox One the “game system” will be revealed.

    We don’t even know the price points yet either. It isn’t beautiful, but I like the X1. And I like what I’m hearing about the PS4…I’m not about one over the other really, I’m more about, “please…continue to fight, cause I get all the reward for their efforts”.

    Also, I think game companies are going to be producing games for the PS3 and Xbox 360 for a few years and most people will still be playing online for a few years after that. So a lot of these charity foundations will continue to thrive.

    It wasn’t the biggest reveal by Microsoft, but it was the foot in the door. They wanted to showoff the other features, so that they can focus on the gaming at E3, good move on their part in my opinion.

  • Jim

    You dont half chat some borin ass

  • Ryan Deadpooln

    I’m refusing to buy the new Xbox until they decide to cancel those stupid features involving fees and spying. No one should buy it until these problems are acknowledged and changed.

  • MikeyWhoa

    I think Microsoft has decided that they’re not concerned with Sony as a competitor, and are fully concentrating on competing with Apple (TV) on the entertainment front.
    Maybe it’s just wishful thinking. I’d be perfectly happy letting Sony rule the gaming market.

  • Frustrated gamer

    Strange how a company can go from top of the line to ‘wtf r u doin’ in only one gaming generation: I loved the PS2, loathed the PS3 and sided with the 360, but looks like I’m either gonna get a PS4 this time around, or I may even opt out of getting a ‘new’ console altogether.

    I mean, come on, paying the full amount of the game to ‘unlock’ it on another console, or playing it in a spot with no active internet and being denied the ability to play the game? Its like they don’t want my $ anymore.

    Look at the competition: Steam has cloud support, offline mode, works on Mac, Windows AND Linux, and has ridiculous sales like 4 times a year.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.lenassi Robert Lenassi

    I hope Sony forgives me for leaving them and takes me back.

    • Rivethead

      Do you have cash? Cash is the only recognizable apology to large companies like Sony… and my last girlfriend. Heyoooo!

  • Brian Sleider

    I do not mind that companys who make games will get more more for said games. I do mind that it seems M$ is poised to make money as well off of ever used game sale.

  • Reneid Klein

    I’ll be ashamed to call myself a gamer if we don’t stand up and vote with our wallets this generation. If X1 is the future of gaming then I don’t want to be a gamer anymore. I don’t want TV integration; if I wanted to watch TV I wouldn’t have turned on the console. I don’t want to HAVE to be constantly online, either. I usually play single player games and many times I play them offline so I don’t get an annoying “WonsAuto is online/offline” message every two seconds in the corner of my screen.


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