The Xbox One Will Have Used Games…But Retailers May Not Sell Them

Senior Contributor
05.24.13 33 Comments

One of the key problems with the Xbox One many had was the fact that it clamps down, hard, on used game sales. But used game sales aren’t out of the question. They’re just going to be made so worthless, and the process to accept them so complicated, that most retailers won’t even bother.

According to MCV, it works pretty much as the more tech-savvy out there suspected. You’ll only be able to sell used games to retailers that sign an agreement with Microsoft and integrate their Azure system into their own. They take the game, scan the code, and the game is wiped from your Xbox One. Then the retailer can sell it for whatever price they feel like slapping on the game, but as you may have guessed, there’s a catch: Microsoft and the publisher get most of the money.

Unconfirmed reports…suggest that retail’s slice will be as little as ten per cent. That’s a significant cut from what it has become accustomed to from pre-owned sales and more in line with what they would receive from the sale of a new game – hence, the value of the pre-owned market to the retailer is effectively destroyed.

In other words, used games will exist, but Microsoft is essentially using market pressure and a walled garden to erase the used games market instead of just straight-up blocking used games. It’s a bit like your coworker telling you that your music doesn’t really bother them, but if you could just turn it, like, all the way down so nobody can hear it, that’d be great.

You’re not going to see us crying in the corner that GameStop is getting screwed on this deal. They made this bed and many in the industry are right to be upset by some of the company’s tactics. It’s hard to argue against Microsoft putting a stop to the practice of selling a hot new game used for $5 less than the retail price.

But by the same token, gamers should be worried. One of the central arguments about how blocking used games is not so bad is that it may pave the way for Steam-like sales and more pricing experimentation. If this holds true, though, that doesn’t seem to be the case. It seems much more likely that the price of console games will be rigorously controlled… and that should be a point of concern.

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