Next-Gen Pre-Owned Game Rumours: Such a Bad Thing?

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…

About Stark 1 Article
Old gamer from Surrey


  1. Interesting opinion. I’m inclined to agree as well, look at how people moan when things like Facebook change, or when they took the backward compatibility out of the PS3, but people just forget and move on. In a few years the idea of buying a game that someone else has had their grubby mitts on will sound crazy.

    I just hope that if it happens the developers will repay the community by lowering their prices a little.

  2. Wise words.. I no longer buy preowned, haven’t for a couple of years now. I now wait for the massive price drop within weeks of new titles.. Like you say, we adapt 🙂

  3. Well that’s all very well but we have all bought games that turn out to be rubbish, the only saving grace is that we can trade them in. Some of the big online, and I dare say offline publications are very swayed by big titles giving them advertising for favourable reviews, it goes on so let not deny it. That being the case how are we supposed to base our decsions on what we spend our hard earned cash on? Can we wholeheartedly trust professional reviews of games, which at the end of the day is just someones opinion? I doubt AAA titles will be effected but how about the lesser titles from lesser developers, who is going to risk their money on a full price game they can’t sell on? Are we to believe ALL games will have demos? Unlikely. Are we to believe that developer and publishers will drop unit prices because there is no longer a second hand market? Even more unlikely! So who will really suffer? Any smaller dev that doens’t have a HUGE budget to pay for favourable reviews, consumers that risk their money on titles with no post sale value. So how do I see the answer? Well I think giving one-use-only codes away with games so you get the full content is a great idea. The game can still be resold but with limited content, that way the purchaser has a clear choice and a real incentive to buy the full price game. If once someone buys a second hand copy of a game and they want the full content they should have the option to pay for it in-game, like happens for a few titles around at the moment. The balance between what content is locked under a code system will be a tough one to get right but if it is done well it will give us the consumer a real choice. Another great idea is to give DLC free to people who buy the full version of the game but charge the second hand market for DLC, that way the devs claim back some of the lost money in the second hand sale. I agree that the format owners should help in this field but a black and white senario of second hand=won’t work seems to put the ball completely in the developers court, even the rubbish ones!

  4. I really don’t mind restricting the 2nd hand market, e.g. with 1-off vouchers codes (also for sale as DLC codes), because the developers get NONE of that 2nd hand money. You could see that with PGR3 and PGR4, tons for sale in Game/station at

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