Used Games In Danger of Extinction?
The end of the used game market? It is something that I fear will happen in the next year or two, and it's something that would be bad for gamers, retail stores and even console makers. Yet, the last of those seems to be diving headlong into that grave future.
I'm a gamer who has to live on a budget, like most people I would suspect. With having to pay for a place to live, to feed myself, and to have proper clothes on my body, that doesn't leave much for me to spend on new games, and due to that, I have to come up with other ways to play a game when it comes out.
That's where used games came in. It became a habit for me to trade in a game when it still had a high trade in value. If I lucked out, I can trade in two brand new games that I bought, possibly three, and walk away with a new product. It was pretty successful, and kept me buying new titles.
Then there was my other option: GameFly. Usually when a new game is scheduled to come out, I would leave an open spot on my GameFly Queue and have that new game listed at the top. I did that with Dead Space 3 this week, and it worked out as it arrived on the day this column is being written. Needless to say, despite the monthly charge, GameFly saves me a lot of money to play new games.
However, we all know how corporate is trying to ruin the used game market. We see it in digital distribution, and tied to that, the use of digital rights management (DRM) that messes with legitimate game buyers as opposed to the pirates that they are trying to stop. Look at what happened with Diablo III. In an attempt to thwart game piracy, they implemented an 'always online' form of DRM that is drawing the ire of those who bought the game, myself included. Not since the days of SecuROM have I been angrier at DRM in this industry.
And there is the whole 'Project Ten Dollar' scam, aka Online Passes. How many of you had to pay extra after renting a game (or buying it used) just so you can play it online? I admit that when I rent games I don't even bother with the Online Pass unless I decide to keep the title, but there are those who would want to try it online.
So it's been a little rocky, but I was able to keep buying new games one way or another. But earlier today, I received a set of emails from my fellow GiN colleagues that caused some serious concern.
As you are all aware, we are in a generational gap. Last November the Wii U was launched, and it's speculated that Sony will unveil the PlayStation 4 on the 20th of this month. Information about the PS4 is still pretty secret at this point, but there are rumors coming out about the next generation Xbox that worries me. All that I talked about earlier with 'always online' DRM is rearing its ugly head again. According to UK based Edge, the next generation Xbox will require a permanent Internet connection, and games will be tied only to the initial buyer. That's right, no more used games, no more lending of games to friends, and of course, no more GameFly rentals.
The way I see it, this might end up killing the newer Xbox before it's even released. I've already seen first hand with the Wii U that it will play used games, and I have received my first GameFly Wii U rental (ZombiU). It's playing just fine. We will also have to see next week what Sony announces for the PlayStation 4. If they allow used games to play on it, as well as GameFly rentals, then Microsoft might want to reconsider their 'always online' policy. It will do nothing but cheese off gamers, and they will be at a serious disadvantage in the coming console war.
However, if Sony also embraces the plan to kill off used games, and nobody really knows what they will do, then that will give Nintendo and the Wii U one heck of a marketing slogan. We'll have to find out, but, maybe my getting a Wii U might work out in the end.
Currently Playing: Dead Space 3 (360,) ZombiU (Wii U,) New Super Mario Bros. U (Wii U)
Waiting For: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (360,) Ouya
Tell Todd what you think - he can handle it! Email him at : firstname.lastname@example.org.