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Yes, we're still sticking with Xbox Trinity for now instead of Xbox 720, but regardless there's some startling news in regards to what Microsoft's next system might be capable of doing and how developers may support this trend.
According to GameZone, Microsoft's next Xbox console may have a lockout for used or rental games. This means that only new game purchases will be tied to an Xbox Live account and locked to a single system. Volition Software's head director, Jameson Durall, agrees with this decision hoping Microsoft's next-gen console bans the use of used games.
In a lengthy blog post, Durall explains how developers don't make money on used game sales, $0 goes back to a developer per every used game sold whether it be from GAME, GameStop, Amazon, Craigslist or eBay, to name a few. Word has gone around that the next-gen console -- codenamed Xbox Trinity by the community -- could lockout games that weren't purchased at retail or digitally, brand new. This very same kind of tactic was also considered over at Sony's camp for the PS3 but it ultimately fell through, thank goodness.
It goes without saying that Durall received massive backlash from the community and for a few good reasons.
For one thing, used games can only be sold if someone bought the game new. The argument that used games hurt the financial success of a development studio is quite false because some chap still had to buy the game on launch day in order to turn around and resell it as a used copy.
In addition to this, to assume gamers would buy a new copy of a game if a used copy wasn't available is about as bad as publishers/developers assuming gamers would buy a new copy of a game if pirating didn't exist.
Also, are developers/publishers supposed to keep making money on a game after the initial sale? I mean, SwitchGames offers developers an incentive on used game sales, but is that how it's supposed to work? It's almost like Sony Pictures getting money everytime you invite someone over to see Spider-Man.
The next problem is that used games, much like our recent editorial about shareware, helps to spread the word about a game. And remember, if you make a good game anyone who plays it (pirated, used or new) becomes a potential fan. It's why sequels sometime sell more and it's how many games even establish a fanbase. If. The. Game. Is. Good.
By removing used games from the equation exactly how does fewer people playing your game equate to more sales? At $60 a pop even I'm leery about most games I buy day-one. Another thing I found is that not all games are made equal and not all games are worth $60. After playing a game like Red Dead Redemption do you really think gamers ought to pay $60 for a game like Call of Juarez: The Cartel? Really?
Some publishers have implemented things like timed Online Passes, exclusive DLC codes and restrictive multiplayer components to curb used game sales. I don't really see how you make fans or get people to like you by making them pay more money and hop through hoops to play a game.
Anyways, Durall seems to think that buddies sharing copies of a game with each other, passing old games on to family or friends, buying a game from a second-hand outlet or just bringing a game over for a party event is somehow equivalent to usurping money from the developer's pockets.
The only other solution Durall has is that rentals become timed demos and digital trials be made available to potentially replace the standard rental process. Personally, I don't see a difference between renting a game for $5 for three days and buying a game for $10 and owning it, either way the developer doesn't see a dime especially if the game wasn't that good to begin with.