A lot has been said about the inclusion of a new kind of anti-used games technology in the upcoming generation of consoles. The first rumors stated that Microsoft was planning on implementing this tech to the Xbox 360’s successor, but Kotaku has also reported that the PlayStation 4 console (code name Orbis) will have the same sort of technology. Allegedly, this will force players to tie games to a specific account so they can’t be used on another one. As a consequence, those who get a used game will apparently have to pay a fee to unlock the complete package. But what does this mean to the future of used games?
The used games market has been steadily increasing and unless companies start taking measures to prevent players to buy used titles I don’t think this trend is going to stop any time soon. But why should they do that? Don’t we, as consumers, have the right to buy whatever we want? Shouldn’t companies give us an incentive to buy new games instead? Absolutely, but for many people games are just a business and most companies don’t care about our rights as consumers, they just want our money. If this new technology goes on to become a feature of upcoming consoles, it would be great if at least we get some sort of benefit for supporting new games. Unfortunately, that is not likely to happen.
Most developers argue that buying used games is ruining the industry and as a consequence, some companies lose so much money that they aren’t able to make sequels or continue supporting their existing games. But I would argue that the use of DRM, online passes and the obscene prices of current titles are also hampering the industry. Openly restricting the use of physical games is simply unreasonable.
If we really think about it, there are many advantages to buy new games, especially those which are released in a digital version. Digital releases are the future, no one can deny that. The thought of not having to collect discs and big boxes that take up a lot of our space is probably quite appealing for most players. This should be convenient to developers too, as they don’t have to care about the money they need to invest on producing the aforementioned discs. In addition, big companies like Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft could focus on creating digital platforms (similar to Steam,) providing weekly discounts and various promotions to encourage users to buy more games.
Why companies don’t start doing something like this instead of using an anti-used games system then? The video game industry has always been very hostile to consumers and companies have always tried to put obstacles to them. Digital management rights, online passes and increasing the price from $50 to $60 at the beginning of the current generation are just a few examples of the things we have had to deal with for the past few years.
As of this writing, no company has confirmed that they are in fact going to use the aforementioned technology. However, it is possible that they may end up using it in their upcoming consoles. If they do, I’d be very interested in seeing how people react to it. In the meantime share your opinion about the matter: Do you buy used games? What do you think of developers forcing you to buy new ones? As usual you can answer these questions on the comment section of the site.