Rumours abound that the next gen of consoles by Sony and Microsoft are going to prohibit playing pre-owned games! They are doing what? How dare they! Pre-owned games are the saviour of many in these times of extreme austerity. “If I can’t buy second hand then I’ll not be buying at all… this generation is my last as a console gamer”. These sort of comments and more are doing the online rounds at the moment and the console makers must be terribly hurt by the amount of vitriol aimed in their direction… poor things.
But are we right to have this attitude against the format holders? Are they really just faceless, evil corporations only interested in “The Bottom Line”? (quite possibly, but that is for another time). Do they care not a jot for us, their customers, what with our buying power and the ability to make or break the launch of their next wonder console?
At the moment all of the internet rumours are just that – rumours, but what if it was true? What if they were locking consoles down to not play pre-owned games? Do any of us, as gamers, really care when we think about it?
A pre-owned game, whilst perceived as a bargain to us, represents… well pretty much nothing to the developers and publishers. You know those people who, in the case of the devs, have sweated blood and tears to see their vision digitally realised, and for the publishers who have made a considerable investment of time and money. These are the people that make the content that make the console, and it is these that the format holders truly need to appease, not us.
Whilst we may bluster about the cost to ourselves should we not also consider the cost to the industry itself? If the Developers aren’t going to get a continuing revenue stream for all their hard work then why would they continue to make the games that we love? The business model needs to change to redress this and stopping pre-owned games may be one way of doing this. I’m going to cite one of the more popular, and highly lauded, software distribution methods out there today: Steam. Now I’m sure some of you at least have used this, and probably love it yourself, from all reports it works fantastically well… but you can’t buy a pre-owned Steam game… does this stop it being used? No. We all adapt to these changes providing we can continue to play top quality games.
So Online Passes were introduced to a torrent of righteous indignation and… they are still here, and will continue to be no doubt. Such is the procession of progress, and if the format holders decide that there will be no more used games, then we, as gamers, will all accept this as well… although I still reserve the right to mutter under my breath when I think no-one is looking…