The Xbox One Used Games Situation Is Clarified, Also Worse

Senior Contributor
06.07.13 92 Comments

One of the problems with the Xbox One was the total lack of clarity surrounding used games. Were they banned? Were they allowed? Would Microsoft and/or the publishers take a cut? Nobody knew. Fortunately, Microsoft has cleared up the situation; now, buying and selling used games will be a horrible bureaucratic nightmare!

Before we go any further, look at this phrasing and try not to laugh/cry:

Today, some gamers choose to sell their old disc-based games back for cash and credit.

Really, that should tell you everything, right there, but for the sake of accuracy, let’s move on to the details. Here’s how it works:

  • Any first-party game can be sold used, and there will not be a “fee” for any game sales imposed by Microsoft.
  • But! You can only sell them used through “select retailers”, meaning you can’t sell your game in a yard sale, or unload your collection on eBay.
  • You can give a game that you’re done with to a friend, but only somebody who has been your friend for thirty days on Xbox Live.
  • Any game “gifting” is a one-and-done situation; you can’t regift a game given to you once you’re done with it.
  • Renting games, or loaning it to your buddy for a week, is currently impossible, although Microsoft might change that at some point.
  • Ready for the kicker? “Third party publishers may opt in or out of supporting game resale and may set up business terms or transfer fees with retailers.” In other words, each publisher can do whatever the hell they want.

Also, for those of you who live in areas without great Ethernet connections, good news! Microsoft has heard your concerns and, uh, dismissed them entirely:

In areas where an Ethernet connection is not available, you can connect using mobile broadband.

There are ideas here that are genuinely likeable and good. Giving a game you’re done with to a friend is a wonderful concept, for example. And it’s good that Microsoft is at least trying to meet gamers halfway on the topic of used games, and is trying to lead by example by not imposing fees on games it puts out. That said:

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