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Concern About Game Rentals Casts A Shadow Over the Xbox One Already...

by on22 May 2013 1416 times
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It is about 24 hours since Microsoft pushed the Xbox One out the door (figuratively) and already sides are being drawn up. In our coverage of the market we expected to see two sides in the coming argument with the Console Purists on one side and the Console Enthusiasts on the other. We were way off base as there are now multiple sides in the debate. One big group that we did not count on was the game renters and resellers. Due to the high price of many games a large segment of the market will now rent games before they buy them. In this manner they can save some money if the game turns out to be a dud. Many gamers also trade-in and resell their games (to get money to buy the next round). Unfortunately for these group Microsoft appears to have forgotten them (along with locking out Xbox 360 games).

All anyone knows right now is a simple statement that offers no real information: “We are designing Xbox One to enable customers to trade in and resell games. We’ll have more details to share later”. On the surface it sounds like you will be able to trade-in your games or resell them, but the details are a little sketchy. We know that Microsoft is going to use an “almost” always on style of DRM. To play your game you will need to reach out and talk to Microsoft’s Xbox network every so often. This connection is supposed to validate the game to the console to ensure it is legal and to help prevent piracy (which never works). To trade the game in you may have to remove it from your library or there may end up being a limited number of times you can transfer the game. We simply do not know, but we do know that Microsoft and game developers are very interested in trying to cut down on Piracy.

The new DRM method could prevent the possibility of renting games in DVD/Blu-ray form simply by tying it to a console. If the game is not released from the console or can only be registered a limited number of times then your options for rental are gone. It is also possible that Microsoft plans to introduce their own cloud gaming service which they would rent games from removing the physical stores from the mix. Even the rental stores do not have any answer they can give.

Microsoft has more questions than answers on their hands and we expect more concerns to pop-up in the coming weeks before the Xbox One hits the stores. We heard one news outlet ask if the Xbox will help to “save” the gaming market and it just might… the PC gaming market. If Sony follows Microsoft into the cloud and locks games to consoles then we could see a mass exodus back the PC starting this year. The sad thing for Microsoft is that many of those gamers will not be diving into Windows 8, but will probably stick to Windows 7 and upgrade their hardware. Microsoft has a lot of decisions to make about both Windows 8 and Xbox One. They need to rebuild confidence with their customer base if they hope to make either one of these a success. We said it before, the Xbox One has a lot to like about it, now Microsoft just needs to make the eco system work with-in their established customer base… anyone want to take bets on Microsoft doing that?

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Last modified on 22 May 2013
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