Reportedly, at a retailers conference where Microsoft briefed retailers on the new system ahead of its reveal, it was divulged (according to Polygon) that there will be no fee associated with playing used games. As has been speculated.
However it also confirmed that, although the system will not be required to always be connected online, it will periodically check online for authenticity and ownership rights of game discs. Each XboxOne game will include a DRM on-disc encryption code. Once that game has been sold or traded to someone else and that code has been activated on another console, then the periodic online checks will transfer all the installed content from the previous owner to the new owner automatically.
Does this mean you’ll lose all DLC you’ve purchased if you sell a game? It sounds like that may be the case… As always though, take this news with a grain of salt until we learn more from Microsoft themselves.
Microsoft did release this official statement:
“Xbox One is designed to support the trade in and resale of games. Reports about our policies for trade in and resale are inaccurate and incomplete. We will disclose more information in the near future,” said Major Nelson.
Previous reports have stated that Microsoft will be employing the “Azure” Pre-owned Technology system to all retailers who want to do business with the XboxOne. Using this system, games sold are then registered to an XboxOne system that has gone online, and all games sold are tracked by Microsoft if the title has left the retailer. Additionally, you can only trade games into retailers who have accepted Microsoft’s new system. When you trade a game and its registered as in someone else’s ownership, all “data files” will be transferred to that new owner (whatever exactly that entails is unclear). Reports say that the XboxOne will “check-in” with Microsoft’s servers once every 24 hours, thus the outrage at the “always online” requirement. It’s still unclear however what happens if you never take your system online.
Microsoft insists that you can still play games offline and that they will not penalize you for not going online. However they insist that you will miss out on online features and other functionality if you never take your system online. And let’s face it, everyone is online in this day and age. EVERYONE. Amount of people I know who don’t go online to use Facebook or don’t use their cellphones online can be counted on one hand and are almost exclusively old people. So to a degree all of this makes a lot of sense.
Another big part of Microsoft’s Azure system is in regard to developer/publisher royalty. Using this system, the developers and publishers themselves will get a cut of ALL used game sales (whereas in today’s world, the retailer keeps the entire cut of all used game sales. Which is why GameStop pushes used games to such an extent), as long as Microsoft getting it’s own cut. The rest, and a much smaller amount, goes to the retailer. After a game is traded back in to the retailer and everyone else gets their cut, the retailer can then set the price of the used game at whatever price-point they desire.
As you can see, this would dramatically shake up the used games industry if not partially destroy it altogether, especially if GameStop doesn’t play along and/or refuses to sell XboxOne games or decides to drastically cut the amount of space they’re going to offer to the XboxOne in stores. It’s worth noting that GameStop’s stock price plummeted after all this hubbub boiled over.
Adding confusion to all this however is the fact that early reports stated matter-of-factly that Microsoft would require a used game activation fee of $52 (£35) dollars, but that has sense been debunked.
Microsoft for its part has told people to wait until E3 2013 or a later date, at which point it will reveal full details.
“Our goal is to enable our customers to trade in and resell games at retail. We know there is some confusion around used games on Xbox One and wanted to provide a bit of clarification on exactly what we’ve confirmed today. While there have been many potential scenarios discussed, today we have only confirmed that we designed Xbox One to enable our customers to trade in and resell games at retail. Beyond that, we have not confirmed any specific scenarios.”
What’s interesting about all the hate Microsoft has received in the wake of the XboxOne is the fact that Sony has also dodged clarification on how used games will work on the PlayStation 4.
While they are playing up the fact that their system will not be as intrusive as the XboxOne and will focus on the games, there are still many unanswered questions regarding the PS4 as well. And things are anything but clear.