21/05/13 19:26 Filed in: Video Games
As the resident games journalist here at All Good Things I was closely watching today's reveal of Microsoft's successor to the Xbox 360, now called the Xbox One. Normally, here (as is obvious from our name) we like to focus on the positives but I feel we need to raise awareness of an issue that's been building for quite some time within the games industry: publishers complaining that they are losing money on used game sales.
What exactly is it that makes the games industry feel entitled to complain about the first sale doctrine, which has been an important part of copyright and the economy since the beginning of time. From cars to comic books, all industries have understood the rights of the purchaser to buy from them, sell what they buy, or choose to buy their product from a third party at their own discretion.
Not game makers though…at least not anymore. In this day where games can sell 3.4 million new copies in a month but still be considered a financial disappointment, they instead focus upon how much more money they're losing because they can't just force people to only give their money directly to them.
Enter the Xbox One. Now I like my Xbox just fine. I'm not a fanboy for any console manufacturer right now; SEGA is my first and only love. However, Microsoft hopes to court publisher support by doing exactly what I mentioned above. The new Xbox One will require paying an added fee directly to Microsoft on every used or borrowed game. As a gamer, I cannot support that. I’ve always taken comfort in knowing that I am building equity on my purchases, which can later be used to buy more games, new or used.
How many great games have been released this year alone? If you can afford to drop sixty dollars every few weeks then good for you but many of us cannot and don't feel we should have to pay an extra ten, fifteen, twenty dollars on top of what we can pay as we would for anything else or conversely lose $10-20 on games we would like to sell if the market for used games drops proportionately.
In the past five years we have forked over while publishers slash out content to sell piecemeal as DLC; we've had to deal with online passes (which the Xbox One also integrates on a hardware level) and worse. Don't stand for this because the more you let them take from you, the more they will try to take. You have other options like the Wii U or the upcoming Playstation 4, neither of which currently have plans to do anything like this.
UPDATE: Apparently, XBOX is playing damage control disavowing that any of these used game fee strategies will be put into place and saying only that the new system has the ability to implement such a pricing strategy at a future date. Uh-huh. http://www.technobuffalo.com/2013/05/21/xbox-one-fee-for-buying-used-games-full-retail-price/