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Block on second-hand games will knock Xbox sales says expert

Luke Johnson


Microsoft Xbox
Microsoft Xbox

Xbox 720 sales will be negatively affected if rumoured blocks on second-hand Xbox 720 games were brought into action, industry sources have suggested.

Surfacing earlier this week, latest Xbox 720 rumours have suggested that Microsoft’s next-generation console will require an always-on internet connection in order to allow next-generation games to function fully, as well as ensuring titles are registered to a specific console. As well forcing gamers to splash out on new titles more frequently, the potential move would seemingly spell the end for the second-hand, pre-owned gaming market.

“We know the desire to purchase a next-generation console would be significantly diminished if new consoles were to prohibit playing pre-owned games, limit portability or not play new physical games,” GameStop spokesperson Matt Hodges told Bloomberg.

Although Microsoft has failed to confirm or deny reports of always-on DRM Xbox 720 restrictions, the Redmond-based company responded to the latest reports in typical fashion.

“We do not comment on rumours or speculation,” the Xbox 360 manufacturer said. “We are always thinking about what is next for our platform, but we don’t have anything further to share at this time.”

Earlier this week, gaming magazine Edge cited “sources with first-hand experience of Microsoft’s next generation console” in suggesting: “games purchased on disc will ship with activation codes, and will have no value beyond the initial user.

With reports of a block on second-hand Xbox 720 games causing share prices in US retailer GameStop, a company that generates 46 per cent of its profits from pre-owned titles, to plummet 6.8 per cent overnight, claims of a pre-owned market culling has caused controversy with potential consumers.

“I thought it was bad enough some games having "Online Passes" such as Assassins Creed, which meant if you bought it second hand then you had to pay for the ability to then play online,” TrustedReviews reader Jamie Thompson commented. “Talk about trying to get the customer to pay over the odds...”

Far from the only consumer to be less than impressed by the potential Xbox 720 second-hand games block, Thompson’s comments were echoed by Stu Wicks who added: “I will not be paying £40 for games, physical or digital with no trade-in value.”

Would a lack of a second-hand games market put you off splashing out on an Xbox 720 console? Let us know via the TrustedReviews Twitter and Facebook feeds or through the comment boxes below.


February 9, 2013, 6:00 pm

madness. Every other sector looks to maximise the retained value of its products, since very obviously they can then charge more for them new. Imagine what it would do to Merc or BMW if they were assigned a zero second-hand value - their new value would plummet.

Actionable Steps

February 10, 2013, 4:21 pm

Its an insane move - when you pay for something you should be able to do with it what you want. I would have never played Final Fantasy, Zelda or Metroid if my friends hadn't lent me their copies back when I was a kid. It wouldn't be a good move and I would not support a console manufacturer who made it so.


February 10, 2013, 6:09 pm

That's a very good point - how many of us dipped our toe in gently with borrowed games, moved onto second hand, and graduated to buying our own? So long as the games are not actually copied/ripped etc, where is the harm in sharing or reselling physical copies? If anything, it is good for business.
And why would I buy a console for the kids if I know they can't spend their pocket money on second-hand games?

Alex Walsh

February 11, 2013, 12:05 pm

What's the difference between a pirated game and a second hand game? The publisher gets nothing out of either of them.


February 11, 2013, 2:45 pm

Not true, the publisher got the initial sale from the second hand game.
Can't say the same for a pirated game. Plus a pirated game can produce unlimited
copies where the publisher gets nothing, where as there is only one physical
copy of the second hand game, meaning for each second hand game there was an
initial sale, and for the most part, games aren't cheap.

While I understand the concerns around cost of infrastructure for hosting
multiplayer servers, someone using a second hand game produces the same load as
if the original buyer was using the game. It's a flawed plan if they are
counting on people playing the game and then stopping to reduce this cost, then
letting it collect dust on a shelf. Flawed as if they really want to make the
most money, they should be creating a game people don't want to sell on.

I also understand wanting to get a piece of the second hand market, however if
they aren't prepared to open a physical store (or have an online store allowing
people who buy virtual copies to trade them in) then I have no time for them.
I'm not sure whether you can call people being able to trade in a number of
games to get a new game for free, or a greatly reduced price, as getting a
piece of the second hand market, as I'm sure the stores profit greatly on these

The publishers are alienating people for the sake of a few quid. That second
hand purchaser could turn into a new buyer for the next game. Plus, when it's
only a few publishers who are doing it, it creates "badwill" when
someone gets burnt by it. They may never buy a game from the again, new or
second hand. If there's less of a market for the second hand game reducing it's
trade in value, people my think twice before buying it at all.

They'd better know what they are doing though, as implementing something like
this will give people pause, in either buying games or the console itself. In
the end it's the bottom line that will see this resolved one way or the other.
If implementing it starts to hurt games sales, they'll pull it. If it doesn't
and they see revenue go up, expect the industry to follow, barring a few small
or new start ups looking to get a piece of the action and differentiate

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