This time, Microsoft has gone too far. With yesterday’s revelation of how game ownership or lack thereof will be handled on the Xbox One, it’s becoming apparent they Microsoft must think we are idiots. They seriously want us to pay $59.99 a game or whatever the cost may be and then potentially be stuck with what equivocates to a paperweight after we are done with it. For those of you who haven’t already heard the news, Microsoft has basically said that they are leaving it to game developers to determine whether a game can be traded, resold or lent out. The position that Microsoft is taking with this is ridiculous because even though they are technically leaving it to the publishers to determine if any of the restrictions will apply, it’s their system that is enabling the decision in the first place. They probably surmised that if and when games used this measure that anger would be directed toward the publisher but they were wrong, very wrong.
There are two very important factors that Microsoft seems to not understand. First, physical video games cannot be treated the same way as digital music. These aren’t $0.99 songs or $15 albums, these are full-blown $60 a pop purchases. No matter how much Microsoft wants to kid themselves, they can’t do for games what Apple has done for music, at least not until the Internet connection of the average gamer becomes a LOT faster and a LOT more reliable. This is not that time and these aren’t just a bunch of digital files. The purchase of a new video game without any reduction via trade-in credit is no trivial decision for your average gamer. $60 is a lot of money on a single item.
The second factor and its one that is subtle but extremely important is that the actual value of an item in most cases is inherently tied to what we feel its possible resale/trade value is. When you buy a car and you pay $25K for it, you inherently know that one day you may be able to sell it for maybe a third of that and at least recoup some of the original cost. Video games are like that too, when you pay $60 for a game, a large part of that value is knowing that at a minimum you can recoup at somewhere around half of that cost. Without the value of possible resale, I assert that the original value of the item is reduced and in this case drastically. If normal resale values aren’t possible then I would assess that the original value of the item is reduced by at least thirty percent, if not more. Personally, if I knew going in that I couldn’t resell a game when I was done with it and I’m talking a physical copy here, I couldn’t bring myself to pay more than $30 for it and I’d be mad at that. I mean Microsoft is essentially taking the free market out of the equation and that’s never a good idea. With the Xbox One, you may not be able to even barter your games and I’m sorry but bartering goes too far back to lose.
No matter how much they try to say you’ll have access anywhere to all your games via the cloud and how great that’ll be, it still doesn’t compensate for them being able to restrict what I can do with my property long after I’ve paid the publisher for it. The right to do what I will with items that I purchase should never be an option but a right.
I won’t lie, companies have been able to convince consumers of a lot of things over the years but Microsoft will never convince consumers that this move is in their best interest. There is absolutely no benefit to the consumer, we bear all the brunt on this one. All I can say is that if you decide to pick up an Xbox One game, be real sure you really want it because depending on what the publisher decides, you may never be able to get rid of it.