Rumors about Xbox 720--Microsoft's yet-to-be-released next generation consul--and new technology that would prevent consumers from playing used games has ignited a heated debate over whether the ban would be a good or bad thing for the video game industry.
A reliable source told gaming blog Kotaku.com late January that Microsoft was planning on upgrading its disc technology to prevent games that had already been played by other consuls from working on a new machine. It's unclear how the technology would work, but some speculated that it may be similar to iTunes, which doesn't let its users upload purchased content on other users' computers or iPhones. Microsoft has refused to comment on the rumor and speculation.
Many designers and game makers think the ban would be a good thing for the industry. In his blog, video game designer Jameson Durall said buying and playing used games is unfair to Xbox game developers because it causes them to lose money.
I think what most consumers don't realize is that every time they buy a used game, there is ZERO money making it back to the Game Developers, he wrote. All of those profits are going directly to the re-seller and making it more and more difficult for us to continue making higher quality products.
He adds, Personally I think this [rumored ban] would be a fantastic change for our business and even though the consumers would be up in arms about it at first...they will grow to understand why and that it won't kill them.
For the most part, gamers are upset about being forced to dish out $60 for an Xbox game without the alternative of buying something used.
Even deeper than that, some argue a used game ban would kill a decades-long tradition of sharing and exchanging games, a nostalgic and critical community-building part of playing video games.
This isn't just bad for consumers, it's bad for customer relations as well. Xbox has a very loyal customer base, and Microsoft threatens to alienate that base with this sort of move.
Will Anderson, an IT systems engineer, also worried that the ban would exclude a very important group of gamers.
Now, while Mr. Durall talks about how much money the developers are missing out on ... he doesn't take into account that people who buy used video games are those who generally can't afford to purchase them new or have to split their limited funds in order to purchase all of the games they want to play. If Xbox becomes to high-end for some gamers to use, they will lose long-term customers, Anderson wrote.
The Associated Press reported earlier this month that Microsoft is doing relatively well, compared to a video game industry that has seen flat or declining sales. On Jan. 19, Microsoft said revenue from Xbox 360 products and services grew 9 percent to $322 million and that it shipped 8.2 million consoles during their lates quarter. Last year, they had shipped 6.3 million consoles.
No release date for the Xbox 720 has been set, although Microsoft said they wouldn't be releasing their next generation console in 2012.