Xbox One: gamer backlash over 'fee' for pre-owned titles
FOR many gamers, swapping among friends is a free and legal way of experiencing more games for less hard-earned cash. But for Xbox users, that may be all about to change.
Microsoft has outlined details of its plans for pre-owned titles played on Xbox One, and the future looks gloomy.
Upon purchase of a game, a unique code linked to Xbox Live is issued that can only be used once and is verified online. Other users wanting to play a game will then have to buy the right to play the game – at full price.
The code "sits on your hard drive and you have permission to play that game as long as you’d like," Microsoft corporate vice president Phil Harrison told the Kotaku tech site.
"The bits that are on that disc, you can give it to your friend and they can install it on an Xbox One," he said. "They would then have to purchase the right to play that game through Xbox Live."
"Let’s assume it’s a new game, so the answer is yes, it will be the same price," Harrison said.
Microsoft has long sought a way of capitalising on the hugely profitable pre-owned games market.
With popular titles often retailing for £40 (€47) or more when new, gamers with large appetites have sought to cut costs by buying or sharing games that have been played by other users first, often halving the price.
Larry Hyrb, Director of Programming at Xbox Live, issued a carefully worded statement on his Major Nelson blog.
"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."
This only confirms that games attached to your profile can be played anywhere, but not that your friends can play them on theirs.
The move could push Sony to look at its own treatment of pre-owned titles when the PlayStation 4 is released later this year.