By Aldis Brennan
Information about the next generation video game consoles is sparse, but one thing that has been reported is that these new machines may not support the free use of pre-owned games.
That means, no more borrowing games from friends or even renting from the video stores for free.
But, that doesn’t mean it won’t be possible to play used games. There will just be a fee.
This clearly will have a detrimental impact on the used-game and rental market. If gamers are forced to spend extra money to activate their used or rented games on top of the purchase price they may think twice.
Retailers that specialize in used and rental games such as EB Games are likely to be unhappy with this. Brad Pritchard, a former Centennial College student and EB Games employee thinks it will never happen.
“Retailers would refuse to carry the console, especially EB Games,” Pritchard said.
But, there is already evidence of this sort of thing happening in the video game industry. Developers have created content that is only available using a one-time code.
“They did this with Batman Arkham City,” Pritchard said. “New copies come with a code that allows you to play as Catwoman. If you buy it used you have to pay an extra $10 to get the missions.”
Pritchard doesn’t think that there will be a used game market for very long anyways considering the move to digital downloads.
“Used games will be phased out someday,” Pritchard said. “Maybe another 10 years when the market is ready.”
What sparked this desire to implement these new changes in the next consoles is that game developers and designers felt that they were losing out.
Because of the way the market works, game designers and developers only see money from the sales of original copies of the video game. They receive no compensation from used or rented games.
This was originally not a problem, but the market for used and rented games has become enormous and developers are now considering it is taking advantage of their hard work.
Any restrictions that the new consoles put on the use of pre-owned games will increase the sales of brand new games and therefore increase the money that developers see from the sales.
The idea to restrict games to a single machine isn’t new however. This has been the case for computer games for years. Only time will tell what it means for console gamers, the video game industry and retailers.
Just the facts
What: Next generation Playstation and Xbox consoles are reported to be affected.
Who: The change will have an impact on gamers, developers and retailers.
When: There has been no confirmed release date, but likely any time from late 2012 to 2014.
Why: Developers are seeking compensation from used games.