Xbox 720 (Durango) Could Require Always-On Connection, Lock Out Used Games

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News Posted: Wed, Feb 6 2013 2:12 PM
Sony's next-generation PS4 unveil is just two weeks away, which means leaks concerning both it and Microsoft's next-generation Xbox Durango (sometimes referred to as the Xbox 720), are at an all-time high as well. Unfortunately, not all the news is good. Rumors continue to swirl that the next iteration of Xbox will lock out used games entirely and require a constant Internet connection.

The used games angle is something we've covered before. New games would come with a one-time activation code to play. Use the code, and the game is locked to the particular console or Xbox Live account it's loaded on. Physical games will still be sold (the Durango reportedly supports 50GB Blu-ray Discs), but the used game market? Kiboshed.
Microsoft Xbox 720, Durango

If this is true, it's an ugly move on Microsoft's part. Not only does it annihilate the right of first sale, it'll eviscerate any game store or business that depends on video game rentals for revenue. Sure, that means Gamestop takes a hit -- and that company isn't exactly popular -- but there's no indication that any other service that provides video game rentals would survive, either.

Then there's the always-on component. If the Xbox Durango was a $149 set top box with a hard drive and a cloud gaming connection, the tradeoff might be worth it. The idea of a $399 - $499 piece of hardware that's effectively useless without an Internet connection is intolerable. Internet connections fail. Sometimes they're up and running, but saturated with content being delivered to other locations in the house.

Xbox Live is a major component of Microsoft's services and a huge revenue engine for the company, but it's not something every gamer is going to want to use every single time they play.

If these rumors are accurate, they're only going to hurt the console, even if Sony is on board with similar methods of its own. Forcing gamers to buy every product at full retail isn't going to help game revenue. There are games I'd pay full price for the day they come out. There are other games I don't buy until they hit $29, $19, or $5 on Steam. If all new titles are locked to new pricing (or decrease only at an extremely slow pace), I'm not going to buy more $60 titles -- I'll just play fewer games.

I'm not paying $399 for a console that turns into a paperweight if Time-Warner is having a bad day. Locking out used game sales and requiring an Internet connection are not features anyone that actually buys these products is requesting.
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Dave_HH replied on Wed, Feb 6 2013 3:00 PM

I would be amazed if they somehow hamstrung used games. Adding complexity to their product is not what customers want to hear.

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Oi, I don't like this direction at all. I purchased Madden 12 when it came out after not having bought an Xbox 360 game for years. I was so appalled at the graphics, that I played a single match and gave the game to a friend. He can't play it online, because -I- was the one who registered it. And now, it looks like the next-generation of consoles is going to make that kind of situation more common, and even worse (if you can't even trade the games at ALL).

I truly miss the old days of consoles. Companies like Microsoft and Sony are completely sucking the fun out of things.

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I must say this makes the Ouya console even more attractive!

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realneil replied on Wed, Feb 6 2013 10:13 PM

This is an extraordinary opportunity to make your voice heard in the marketplace by just saying no. Don't buy into a hobbled game system that restricts you in unfair ways.

If enough of us make a stand this way, they'll change their stripes.

Their arrogance thinking that it's OK to do this is astounding.

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Joel H replied on Wed, Feb 6 2013 10:54 PM

Realneil, I agree with you.

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Draconian replied on Thu, Feb 7 2013 12:36 AM

What's funny is that PC gamers have had to put up with similar anti-consumer behavior for years now. PC games are frequently tied to a Steam account. You also can't re-sell Steam games. But now such practices are (possibly) coming to consoles and suddenly gamers are up in arms.

If PC gamers have to deal with always-on connection requirements (Diablo 3 and the new SimCity game come to mind), then what makes console gamers think they should be exempted? Same thing with used games. I can't remember the last time I bought a used PC game.

I would be alright with games being tied to a PSN / Xbox Live account on the condition that games were sold cheaper. Instead of charging $60 for a new triple-A title, charge $40 for that same title but tie the game disc to a user account to prevent re-sale. But I doubt the price discount will happen. Instead, we'll have a system where games cost $60 and can't be re-sold. Some collector's editions of games already cost close to $100.

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My son stopped playing PC games because he did not have an internet account at his house. He bought a XBox360 to game on since he did not need the internet. After living almost 10yrs on his own he opened an internet account last November. I bought him 3months of Xbox live and he still doesnot get on there so I can kick his but at Forza.

There are still people out there that do not have the internet but have consoles for for kids to play.

I always buy new PC games and most of my console game I get the day they come out also. Some of the games that I would like to play I will not pay full price fo. PC is for shooting gamesw and I hardly ever finsh the game itself because I buy them to play online 90% of the time.PS3 GT5 only and it is about 50/50 of online and regilar game play. Xbox360, I beat the game first and then spend 95% online racing.

I think always on will not allow the little guy to play. A poor kid can save money to buy a console but cannot afford to pay to play online or have internet.

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ERMAGERD

not buying it in a million years

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Hakster replied on Thu, Feb 7 2013 7:48 AM

I'm curious how this will work in the EU, where the right to re-sell any software is now protected. According to a ruling made last year, if I purchase an "On-demand" title on XBL, Microsoft cannot legally prevent me from reselling it on, as long as my own copy of it is made unusable, and the second-hand license market is given legal protection (check out the details on the Oracle vs UsedSoft case).

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liothen replied on Thu, Feb 7 2013 9:17 AM

The major difference, is that a PC/Mac can do more then play just video games. it is also an open platform where new games can be released with free license models etc. the Xbox is a paper weight it has one major purpose and that is to be a closed platform for gaming (side note it does media) its not really upgradable as well not to mention with Microsoft's track record it will probably die with in the first month of playing it (possibly locking your games. if bound to the console))

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Joel H replied on Thu, Feb 7 2013 11:52 AM

Draconian,

Here's the major difference. My Steam account isn't limited to my PC.

I can install a Steam game on a dozen PCs, provided there aren't additional DRM checks in place to prevent it. I can take those computers offline and play my games.

The key point here is that Steam's practical burden to use is minimal. I only use one PC at a time (at least for gaming), so the burden of having to sign in at a new location, or configure a game for offline play is negligible. Steam also holds sales and effectively hits "used game" price points. If I don't want to pay $59.99 for a title, I can pick up the GOTY edition with all DLC and possibly an expansion pack for $29 - $39 at the end of the year.

An always-on, no-resale Xbox would be far more burdensome.

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The guy across the street buys every new PC game title that comes out. He plays them for a while and quickly loses interest in them. When I went to the yard sale that his family was having two summers ago, he had stacks of shooters (my favorite) for sale. I bought nine games for $9.00, took them home, and tied them all to my steam account. (exactly where I want them)

Now we have a deal whereby he calls me before he puts them out.

The sales on Steam are pretty damn good at times, and all you have to do is wait a little to get them for a lot less.

This is easy to do for such savings.

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RiCoFrost replied on Thu, Feb 7 2013 10:16 PM

Stores like EB-Games buy games back for next to nothing and they sell them making 50%-75% profit and nothing goes to the game devs. I remember selling 5 games back to EB-Games and got $23 for all, which was including FF the latest one and GTA the latest one.

But yes its just like steam, everyone that has a steam account wouldnt have a problem with this because they are already doing this.

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acarzt replied on Fri, Feb 8 2013 12:11 PM

As long as it functions like steam I would be ok with this. Especially if they have an option for digital downloads at discounted rates like steam. I rarely ever game on my consoles... They ONLY reason i do is because a game is not available on the PC (Halo, God of War, Forza, etc) If the game is available on PC... that is where I will be buying it. I might skip the next gen of consoles... as it stands the hardware is sounding pretty lacking and i'm pretty sure my PC can produce graphics that are by far better.

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Joel H replied on Mon, Feb 11 2013 11:02 AM

Rico,

I used to think more like you. Then I realized that this model is precisely how everything *else* functions.

When you sell used CDs, or DVDs, or books, publishers don't get a cut of those profits. If I sell a CPU, video card, computer game, or washing machine on Ebay, the manufacturer doesn't get a cut of those profits, either.

Why do games deserve to be treated differently than every other class of goods?

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I just wish Sony and Microsoft would come together , that would be awesome .

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sillyrhino replied on Mon, Mar 11 2013 11:48 AM

I don't understand how everyone seems to think that selling used games is good for the video games' industry. When you sell a game as used, the companies that invested millions in engineering and content production don't see a dime. It's like going into a movie theater to watch a movie, and then after you watch it, believing you have some right to sell the experience to someone else at a discount. I'm guessing but I'm sure that companies like Microsoft would be willing to allow you to transfer ownership as long as they could get a cut. And games that aren't quite AAA games would still drop in price because the market would dictate that... but the price would still go to the people that make the games, that take the risk and invest the capital to make them in the first place. I can only see this as a good thing for the industry, which means that it's easier to make more and better games, which is good for us, the gamers.

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Well... let's compare this when you buy a DVD.. and it is impossible for your to give it your mom after you watched it because the movie won't play on her DVD payer...

or when you buy a CD, and you can't give it to a friend because the CD doesn't play on his system..

That's crazy right?

So, when I am forced to buy EVERY game brand new... I won't buy that system.. I want to decide if I buy a game new, or buy an older game second hand...

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Yeah, don't really care if the game devs don't see a dime if I decide to sell a game I'm no longer interested in playing. They can invest all they like into making the game, at $60 a pop for a AAA, they make it back tenfold.

The argument has been made to the point of being ridiculous... You sell your used car, Ford doesn't get a cut. You sell your fridge, nothing goes to GE. You sell a CD, the band doesn't get a cut. If I am selling something that I have already paid the full asking price for, I am not going to take a hit on my selling price because the dev thinks they should get a little more. I defy you to name ONE thing that once bought and paid for by the end consumer, then sold as used, where the manufacturer gets more money simply so the user gets the privilege of selling it.

I haven't been a console gamer since the PS2, and I am eagerly awaiting news on both the PS4 and xbox720, but honestly if I hear that either one or both block used game sales or require an always on net connection, I will not be buying them. My message to those companies: try to control what I do with a product after I buy it (short of mass copying and selling/sharing it) and you do not get my business.

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