Resulting in a media flurry of misinformation and confusion, and subsequent backlash from gamers who just want the truth, it’s pretty clear that this week’s Xbox One reveal didn’t go “as planned.” What’s less clear, however, is exactly what Microsoft has planned for many of it’s next-gen policies. Case in point: The handling of used games. We’ve heard all kinds of reports, including contrary statements made by the folks at Microsoft and the guys at Xbox; leading to the belief that they themselves don’t even know what their plans are yet. Today, MCV is reporting that they have the inside scoop on what Microsoft’s plans for the used market are.
If the information they’ve gotten from retail sources is accurate, it seems Microsoft plans on taking control over the used market. Retailers will be allowed to take used games in trade, but only so long as they play ball with Microsoft’s terms and conditions. According to MCV, gamers can still trade physical copies of games the way they are used to, but “this will only be possible at retailers who have agreed to Microsoft’s T&Cs and more importantly integrated Microsoft’s cloud-based Azure pre-owned system into its own.”
The integration of Azure is important because this is how Microsoft will know the game has been traded in, after which time it will be erased from the original owner’s hard drive. This could potentially explain the statements made by Phil Harris concerning the Xbox One’s need to “check in” daily with Microsoft’s servers, as the cloud will need to remotely wipe your game save.
After the game has been traded in, the retailer will continue to set the price it sells for, with one new addendum: Microsoft and game publishers will get the majority of profits for the sale. This is a complete departure from the current model in which companies such as GameStop take home 100% of used game profits. While there are no firm reports about what the exact percentage breakdown will be, one site alleges that retailers will only pocket as little as 10% when the dust settles.
When asked about this new development, Microsoft would only offer the same response they’ve given since the Xbox One was unveiled: “While there have been many potential scenarios discussed, 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. Another piece of clarification around playing games at a friend’s house – should you choose to play your game at your friend’s house, there is no fee to play that game while you are signed in to your profile.”
From Microsoft and any publisher’s perspective this seems like the best case scenario. In fact, this is exactly what they’ve wanted all along: A cut of the resale profits. In the scenario that’s been proposed, everyone gets what they want. The new question, should this report be accurate, is how much will retailers sell used games for now that they’re receiving significantly less profit in return? There’s only so much they can do, considering they can’t charge more than the cost of a new game and some retailers already sell used copies of new releases for only $5 less than full price. It will be interesting to see which retailers agree to these conditions and which ones, if any, flat out refuse Microsoft’s proposal.
What do you folks think about this latest development? Would you consider it a fair compromise? How would you prefer the Xbox One treat used games? Let us know in the comments section, and don’t forget to like IGXPro on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or give us the ‘ol +1 on Google+.