Microsoft has decided that with the launch of the Xbox One it is going to take control of the used game market and have it generate revenue for itself and publishers. And in the process it’s going to upset gamers and severely limit the amount of money retailers can make on a used game sale.
Until now, a consumer could take a game they owned into a store and the retailer would buy it at a price they determined. The retailer could then resell the game at a price they also determined and any profit made would stay with the retailer.
Microsoft is thought to be modifying that process for Xbox One games to ensure it also generates cash from every used game sale. Here’s how the new system will work:
- If a retailer wants to handle used Xbox One games they must install and use Microsoft’s own Azure-based used game retail system.
- A consumer can bring their Xbox One game in store and sell it to a retailer and receive cash or credit in return.
- That sold game is then wiped from the seller’s Xbox One Live profile and can be resold, with the retailer deciding on what price to resell it at (within limits, which are discussed below).
- The money generated from that used game sale will then be split between the retailer, the publisher of the game, and Microsoft itself. The percentage split will be determined by Microsoft.
The used game trading system effectively stays exactly the same for the consumer. They can continue to sell their games and buy new used games as they always have. The biggest change is for the retailer, who will now earn significantly less from every used game sale.
There are two bits of very bad news for Xbox One owners in all of this, though. First of all, this pretty much confirms that your Xbox One will need to connect to the Internet regularly, and probably once every 24 hours as has already been suggested. The second bit of bad news is about used game pricing.
As Microsoft will be in control of used games for its console, it will also have control over what retailers can do with pricing. Apparently, Microsoft wants used games to sell at no lower than 90% of the new game price. So the new copy will be $60 and the used copy $56.
One of the major reasons used games have become so popular is because they allow you to pick up games at a significantly lower price point. If Microsoft do impose the 90% price rule, they could effectively kill the used game market while claiming they support it.
The only winners in this are the publishers and Microsoft. Used gamer will now generate revenue for them, while retailers are the biggest losers. I’d actually be more accepting of this system if it meant new Xbox One games were $30 instead of $60, but you can guarantee that isn’t going to happen and we’ll all be forced to pay full, or near full price for our games.
Sony is also potentially a big winner from this move if it has chosen to allow the used games market to carry on in its current form for the PS4. If that’s the case, you’ll see many more retailers stocking PS4 games than Xbox One later this year.
We won’t know for sure if this is exactly how Microsoft’s used game system will work until they decide to tell us officially. As usual, Microsoft isn’t commenting on rumors and we may be left waiting until E3, or even closer to launch to know the state of used games on Xbox One.
Now read: Xbox One already has 11 confirmed games