How second-hand games sales could work in the future
There’s a lot of expectations for the gaming industry this year. With the Wii U having launched the first salvo into a new generation of gaming consoles and applications, Sony and Microsoft are expected to follow suit with their own home entertainment successors. Albeit consoles that will limit gamers to only being able to purchase new games. But there is one way that the second hand console game market could survive. And I hate myself for imagining this.
Let’s first take a look at the technology itself. Right now, Sony has a patent that would allow any of their future consoles to identify used games. Plop a previously owned disc in the device, and you’d be hit with a swift Verboten logo before long.
Now, while Microsoft may not have such a patent for their Next-box, it’s not too inconceivable to imagine that the idea is being kicked around in the Durango offices.
And while gamers may have to face up to the fact that they’re going to be forking out more for so called “Triple-A” quality games, the real impact of such a decision would be felt by the official gaming shops out there.
While bigger chain stores could absorb some of the impact from such a move, you can bet your buns that smaller shops would be faced with bankruptcy within a year. After all, take a look at the shelves of such shops. Most of their display space is most likely taken up by second hand games, titles which keep the industry thriving.
So how could the future function then, and what would you be able to do with an old game that you no longer want or despise with an irrational hatred (I’m looking at you Assassin’s Creed 3)?
The simple answer is, is if a console can identify and block a used game, could it also not use that tech to allow certain such games in from approved retailers?
It’s an easy idea. If a major gaming shop franchise were to fork over some cash to Sony and the appropriate developer for every second-hand game sold, then they could be granted a license on the network that allowed previously owned games purchased from that shop to be playable.
Whether that code was hardwired into the disc or available as a DLC code to input, I have no idea, but the latter would be a cheaper alternative.
And yes, this would most likely raise prices for such games, as well as lower how much a game is worth when trading it in, but it could work.
It’s not a pretty idea, but it’s an idea where almost everyone wins.