Will the next Xbox console block used games? So what happens now?

26 January 2012

One thing is for certain – there’s a new Xbox console coming sooner or later, almost certainly to be called the Xbox 720. One other thing might be certain too – you won’t be able to play pre-owned games on it. What? What the actual what??

Kotaku’s Steven Totilo knows people who know things and he says this: “I’ve heard from one reliable industry source that Microsoft intends to incorporate some sort of anti-used game system as part of their so-called Xbox 720.” Which would mean a massive shift in the world of games retailing over the next few years.

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The console makers and console games manufacturers must be livid at the amount of money they believe themselves to be missing out on through re-selling at the moment. Similarly, they must also be livid at Apple’s way of doing things – with all games and apps downloadable-only affairs, with one owner for every game.

As we hurtle towards a cloud-based digital world, is it just a matter of time before games stop being available in disc or cartridge form? That seems unlikely, as your average console game takes up much more hard drive room than your average app, and sooner or later, the hardcore gamer will run out of storage space if everything has to be stored on a hard drive (that is also capable of failing).

Perhaps online, cloud-based streaming gaming like the service provided by OnLive will become the norm? The trouble is that cloud-based gaming will always lag behind console gaming when it comes to graphics. Further still, will bricks-and-mortar games shops cease to exist if digital downloads become more prevalent?

One of the more obvious solutions is to sell games with unique codes so that they can only be used by one owner. But will that be enough to satisfy the game makers, who will still be livid by the probability that pirates will find around the system?

It all seems up for grabs right now – and there’s no way of knowing how the land will lie once the dust has settled. What do YOU think the future of gaming is? Perhaps you don’t give a toss. If so, tell us what you’re wearing instead.

TOPICS:   Games


  • qwertyuiop
    I'm wearing nothing at all, nothing at all, nothing at all, nothing at all.....
  • Zleet
    That Kotaku "story" is the journalistic equivalent of listening to what the bloke down the pub "reckons".
  • Zleet
    @qwertyuiop "Stupid sexy Flanders!"
  • AdverseCamber
    I'm wearing an air of quiet desperation.
  • ShakesHeadSadly
    If this happens then there's a very simple answer. If you don't like it, don't buy it!!! If MS implement this and the XBox 7207595523904 doesn't sell, they'll soon change back.
  • Luke
    What if the xbox breaks? you cant just use your old games you would have to go out and buy them all again!
  • CheShA
    Sounds terrible at first, but this model has been working on the PC for a while with things like Steam and Games for Windows. Even if you buy a PC game on physical media, you're generally still required to register it with an online provider. You can't then sell on your DVD, it's just landfill. However, the benefit of this is that new games are typically £15-£20 cheaper for the PC version; I paid £30 for my RAGE preorder on my PC, whereas the PS3 version was £45. When I bought a used copy of Arkham City for the PS3 - two months after it's release, I might add - it was £15 cheaper than they had it in Tesco. In truth, I'd be against it in principle, because I suspect that, as soon as there is a level playing field, the corporations will then want to start bumping the prices across the board back up to £45, plus it would cripple a section of industry built on software exchanges; it's really not the end of the world, though, if you actually look at it from a typical consumer's perspective.
  • Ben H.
    I'm not a gamer, I'm a cock with too much time on my hands.
  • oliverreed
    @Luke have ever bought an app or dlc?
  • Shortsighted S.
    If this happens I might still buy the xbox 720 but I'll buy a lot fewer games & I'll take less risks. Examples - I bought Mass Effect Collectors Edition 2nd hand for ~ £15, loved it so pre-ordered @ full price both ME2 Collectors Edition & ME3 Collectors Edition. Bought Fallout 3 (original but reduced to £20 in a pre-Xmas sale), pre-ordered Fallout New Vegas @ full price. Bought Call of Duty MW original in a sale, pre-ordered WM2, Black Ops & MW3, Halo cheap, bought Halo 2, 3, Reach, & ODST brand new. If I'd had to pay £40+ for ME , Fallout or MW I wouldn't have - they'd then have lost the subsequent sales. I know you can download Demos but they often don't give a proper taste of the game. I object ( & can't afford ;-) ) to pay paying £40+ for a new game - I simply don't know if I'll get £40 of entertainment/use. Happy to do it for ME2 & ME3 as I'd spent way too may hours playing ME so I knew the investment was worth it. If, as ChesHa says above, the release price of console games was £15-£20 I'd happily buy brand new. They're not - I don't
  • Shortsighted S.
    Forgot to add I've also bought EVERY piece of DLC for ME, ME2, Fallout 3 & Fallout New Vegas. Bought Deus Ex original 1/2 price - bought the DLC. Make the game cheap enough & good enough and they'll make way more money via DLC
  • dvdj
    Since when have there been actual emoticons on this blog? Get them off now! As to the story, xbox blows anyway trollolololol
  • Luke
    @oliverreed - yes but this is physical media not just an "app"
  • Bazinga
    I'm wearing a dress, I used to be a woman.
  • Jax
    @Bazinga If you used to be a woman, why are you still wearing the dress?
  • BossSaru
    It just means the prices of games will have to fall (or the market will fragment to different price bands). No resale value means less value of the product which means gamers will have less money or be less willing to buy new games. Games already regularly fall to sub-£20 within weeks of release. They will just do so quicker if the buyer sees less value in the product.
  • Mad H.
    I'd be interested to see what this means for the price of the console. If no used games means MS can afford to sell it for £200 cheaper than the Sony equivalent, what would the majority buy then?
  • Richard
    I tend to buy new games anyway but I sell them on once I've completed them, in effect i'm renting them. Tends to cost me under £5 per game on average for a week or two. I'm sure i'll still buy a next gen console if this happens but like 'Shortsighted Suppliers' I'll just buy far less games.
  • Her L.
    @Luke, that's the point - it's not physical media or at least, it won't be. It's all software, all that's changing is the delivery method. Instead of trundling off to Game or wherever and buying a shiny disc, you log into your network of choice, be it Xbox Live, Steam, whatever Sony have, etc. purchase and then download your game. When your hardware breaks because you've spilled Vimto over it, get Mum to buy you a new Megadrive or whatever, log back in to your account and re-download all your copies of Angry Birds once more. Win! You deserve a rusk.
  • Her L.
    I hope this does signal the end of physical media. High Street record shops are pretty much done and dusted with everyone now preferring to buy the latest George Michael mini disc from Apple instead of HMV. People that harp on about how they like to "touch" their music... well that's just a bit pervy isn't it. It's a CD. A CD in a case. A case which most likely has broken tabs originally designed to hold the CD in place. Wow, great argument there. Imagine a glorious world where there is no more clutter - Huzzah you cry! All your media is now courtesy of the cumulus. You can get rid of your hoardes of CDs, most of them weren't even in the correct case anyway. You can also get rid of that crappy Ikea CD storage unit. Your media is now at your fingertips wherever you are, wherever you have the Interwebs. Time for a bananadance methinks.
  • tin
    I wonder what that will do for piracy...... If you can't be sure you can own or use the thing you buy.... what's the point?
  • Adam G.
    And what happens if your not online, as i'm not where i work and have an Xbox in the office??
  • Goochy G.
    @Adam Gooch. That's a fair point. I don't have my XBox online. I just like to pick up and play games now and again and now NEVER (not since I bought Halo 3 on launch day for it to plummet in price a month later) pay full price for a game. I regularly buy used games on the cheap from gamestation/game/ebay or check HotUKDeals for, well, deals on games whether they be used or not. Price is the driver for me and, as Shortsighted Suppliers above said, it has meant me buying games that I perhaps would not have bought before and then went and bought the sequels to those. In short, if the used game market goes belly-up I'm not really sure if I'd be too bothered as long as price brackets were fair. And if it means the delivery method of this cuts the cost of manufacture and supply then it should come down. But if it means an end to competition well that can only be a bad thing.
  • Her L.
    @Goochy Goochy Goo, @Adam Gooch How offline customers are supported will be one of the big questions debated in the boardrooms of Microsoft, Sony, etc where they will sip that posh mineral water out of green and blue glass bottles. Personally I prefer the taste of Volvic, I'm sure it's down to the plastic of the bottle imparting it's own flavour. Maybe one for "people's champion" Mof to look into? Anyway, I digress. What I actually meant to say was - you do realise what a "gooch" is don't you? Urban Dictionary to the rescue.
  • Adam G.
    @Her Name was Lola Rah!! Bl**dy JackAss, The actual thing they refered to is Geisch. But in their infinite wisdom called a Gooch, and this has now been widely accepted as what it is. It does happn to be my name (as at least three others on the planet). If i meet those boys i'm going to slap them in the nose!! :o) @Goochy Goochy goo Are you mocking me?? ;o)
  • Her L.
    @Adam Gooch I must confess to have never watched an episode of Jackass, watching Americans is pretty low on my To-Do list even if they are do "crazy" things to each other. To avoid confusion in future, why not change your name to something unique? I've looked in the local BT Phone book and there is no-one listed under "Perineum" so I think it is a safe bet that you will be the only "Adam Perineum" in town.
  • Craig
    My 11 year old Son has the 360 slim 250Gb & X-Box Live Gold. As he's 11 he doesn't have a fortune & buys games second hand, plays them & then trades them in. He's saved up for a few new games like MW3. All his mates do the same. Pull this stunt MS & I'll tell you what he & his mates will then do - X Box live sacked, X-Box chipped - Games downloaded. Income gone from £100 ish per year on X-Box to nothing. Your choice.
  • Greek D.
    Like Craig said. They can do this fine. I dont mind at all paying for games, but if they make it so its one user per game its a case of chip it, torrent it, burn it....
  • mrpinkeye
    @Craig they wont do that for long cause you'll be locked up and him and his mates will be in a detention centre. ooooo we all hate this idea so its to let kids break the law. idiots
  • Mossy
    I'd much rather pay for something with a mahoosive hard drive and an online store where I could buy a game for £20, not pay all the companies siphoning off money in the distribution channel where someone makes some green plastic and that costs me a quid, someone else makes a printed disc and that costs me two quid, someone else prints the leaflet and that costs me 50p, someone sails it from the US to the UK and that costs me two quid, someone drives it from the docks to the warehouse and that costs me a quid, some people manage its transition through a warehouse and that costs me a quid, someone drives it to the shop and that costs me a quid, it sits on the shelf in expensive retail rental property with staff wages to pay for and that costs me two quid... all this stuff probably dumps 10 quid on top of the price of the average game, when all I'm really after is the game itself, not a box, not a disc that can get scratched and fail to work again. Let's suppose MS make the consoles cost £50 and take a 30% cut of every sale of every game, and put a ceiling on the prices of £20. They'll make a killing, because everyone will buy that rather than the PS4 or the Wiii, or whatever those end up being called. The console itself will be a loss leader but it will generate them revenue for years rather than the one-off sale. They won't need to charge for an Xbox Live subscription because everyone will have a free account and just pay for games. Apple aren't stupid, MS probably realise this at last.
  • Richard T.
    @Craig Your son is 11 and you let him play 18 certificate games? How much do you spend on his porn collection?
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