Used Games: Microsoft’s Slow Suicide
Following the absolute shitstorm that errupted after the Xbox One reveal, one topic really got to me. That’s the topic of used games requiring a fee, essentially destroying used games entirely. It has infuriated me so much that I even lost some sleep because of how livid I was that this was happening. To fully get the message across that I want to, I have to start with a little personal history. Ever since 2005 I was an Xbox gamer. I have played around 300 games in total over those years. What really kept me into gaming were used games and the selling of my games. They were nearly a necessity for my gaming life because I did not have money to always afford new games. I didn’t have the most stable financial situation and I sometimes had to sell my games just so my family could afford food. Used games have been an essential part of my life and I don’t know how I could have stayed true to the platform without them or even be the gamer that I am today.
Then Microsoft decided to just destroy that. I cannot fathom how the people in charge of the One thought that this was a good idea. What they are doing is so extreme that it can spell the end for the platform entirely. If you take a broad approach, used games are what really drives the industry along. You, assuming you’re a console gamer, can not tell me that you have bought every game you have ever played brand new with cash that you did not get from selling games. People sell their games to be able to afford new ones and if that option does not exist anymore, what does that leave them with? No new games being bought anymore. The consequences of that happening are dire. What we will then see is a domino effect of gaming companies dropping their support for the platform and destroying the console entirely.
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This all might sound like radical speculation, but if you really think about it there is some truth to this theory. Used games are the backbone of the console industry. If this gets implemented then there might be some momentary monetary gain, but over the long term it might spell certain disaster. Some gamers exclusively rely on second hand sales and I personally know quite a few that use that system. They buy a game, play it, finish it, sell it for a little less than what the paid for and then buy another game with the money gained from the sale. Sure, the developers of the game being sold don’t get any money, but another company then in turn gets money. If you remove the ability to sell a game then all that happens is the developers of the first game gets money. There is no second instance where someone else also gets money and the whole circle is broken.
If a gamer is looking for a second hand game then you can safely assume that they are under a budget and can’t afford brand new games at premium prices. If there exists no cheap method of getting games then they will just give up on it entirely, losing another customer. There is no benefit to this whatsoever. The system we have now works beautifully and keeps the industry afloat in more ways than one. If you really want to tackle the used games market then implement lower prices so that games are more affordable and eliminate the desire for used games entirely. PC has done this for years and nobody complains about it. If you can buy a game for cheap then the need to sell your games won’t be as great as it is. Imagine paying R300 for a brand new game. That’s more than reasonable and I wouldn’t mind having the ridiculous fee system because games would be affordable enough that I can buy them on a more consistent basis.
Back to the topic of Microsoft. I’m going to be quite frank here and say that they will commit suicide if this happens. Gamers around the world would just move to PS4 because it doesn’t have those issues and in turn they lose their customer base and then all the new features will be null and void. It has the potential to lose them millions of customers. Not a few, millions. What will happen then? Support will be dropped and it will just slowly fade out of existence. I sincerely hope that this is all just an elaborate PR stunt that just tested the waters to see if the consumers would be on board with this approach.
What I really don’t understand is how they think they can they just take all the power away from the consumer. If you buy a game then it’s your property. You own that disk and all the contents within it. Isn’t it your right to do what you please with it? You can throw the disk into a wall or set fire to the thing if you really want to because that’s your property. If you want to lend it to your friend then you should be allowed to do that. If you want to sell it then you should be allowed to do that. Microsoft wants to control its fanbase and that’s something that I can not agree with.
I may be a bit emotional and irrational at the moment, but as things stand now, I’m really unsure if I want to buy the console. I want to stay with Xbox because it has been part of my life for so long and it’s familiar to me. I also have a huge GamerScore that I have worked on for years that I’m very attached to because it’s the result of years of gaming and accomplishments. I’ve been committed to this console for most of my gaming life. But the shit Microsoft has pulled so far has made me deviate towards the PS4 more and more. Even if that means destroying everything I have worked so hard for and starting completely from scratch. Microsoft better tread fucking carefully in the months to come otherwise they will lose a customer that has been committed to them for years and has given them tons of exposure, advertising and most importantly, money.
Microsoft, you have disappointed me in more ways than you can imagine and if you don’t rectify this absolutely insulting mindset then you can consider me gone. And a lot of other people will surely follow me. What really depresses me is that I was looking so forward to the console and wanted to be excited about it. Even the bullshit focus on TV and sports didn’t really bother me because I was excited for a new console. But after pulling this shit, I don’t find myself excited. I find myself frustrated, angry and disappointed. That’s not what I want to feel. I want to be happy with the prospect of a new generation and more great games to play. Right now, I’m not feeling that at all.