After Tuesday’s Xbox One reveal, reports came forward that Microsoft would block used games, or at least charge those playing used games a fee. Microsoft finally came out with an official statement that didn’t clear much up, but a report out today offers more details.
MCV reports that Microsoft will be taking command of the pre-owned market with a system that gives publishers and itself a cut of every used game sale. In fact, the new system detailed today would give retailers about the same cut as it gets from selling used games.
As you already know, each Xbox One game will tie itself to a single Xbox Live account when installed on the system. In essence, you are buying a license to use that software.
Now, this is where things get interesting. Those who sell their game to a retailer will have that game’s license removed from their system. This will all be done through Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform – the same platform that will power Xbox Live on the new console.
Once the game is in the hands of the retailer, they can sell it for whatever price they like. Unfortunately, that price may be higher than usual thanks to Microsoft and publishers now getting a cut of every pre-owned sale. In fact, unconfirmed reports are saying that retailers will only get to pocket 10 percent of pre-owned sales. The current pre-owned market allows retailers to pocket all of the money from sales.
While this may be good for publishers and Microsoft, I find it hard to believe that retailers would accept these terms. Retailers like GameStop can only survive thanks to the used game market. Taking that revenue away from them makes many, including myself, think that GameStop and others will refuse to sell pre-owned Xbox One titles.
It should be noted that these are unconfirmed reports for now. It wouldn’t surprise me, however, to see Microsoft working with publishers to take back the profits from the pre-owned market. It may be good for them in the short run, but I can only see it blowing up in their faces further down the road.