Microsoft clearly outlined their original intents with the Xbox One when they unveiled details regarding sharing games and digital rights management. Online checks, no offline play and waiting periods to share games with friends were a couple of the big bones that the gaming community had to pick with them. GameStop was likely scrambling to reevaluate their Xbox One relations until Sony bailed them out by unloading a bombshell in stating that used games were cool with them and would operate as normal. Amidst the internet backlash, viral video from Sony and poorly received responses on the issue from Microsoft, they did a complete turnaround. The restrictions imposed on the Xbox One have been rescinded and is an excellent move for the company. A move that GameStop has been nothing but ecstatic about.
However, there is one issue that remains to be seen. It is just how much relevance will used games have in light of micro-transactions and exclusive features for original full-retail games as opposed to the second-hand market. Batman: Arkham Asylum had an intelligent design in that the Catwoman portions of the game would be absent less the game was bought at retail. Effectively eliminating a “significant” yet “insignificant” portion of the game for used game buyers. More of a hassle than anything else, it is a suitable way to receive revenue that is not necessarily punishing to gamers. This approach to providing a tangible reason to purchase games outright will likely be the industry standard moving forward. This is even more apparent with the way that the PS4 and Xbox One will operate similarly as the once distant cousin, the PC.
Ask a PC gamer how many used games they have and it is likely that the number will be close to zero. With Steam (among others) installed on every gamer’s PC, there is no incentive or need to hunt down savory titles in bargain baskets. The PC is a medium-less format and the next consoles are designed to be just the same (eventually). A clear distinction of “wanting” and “purchasing” used titles will be evident if game companies decide to follow the path that Batman: Arkham City blazed. Purchasing at retail is a very strong first option and a more preferable route in acquiring titles. E-tailors and the like offer exclusive pre-purchase bonuses which enhance that position as well. If Sony and Microsoft were to deduct title prices accordingly after a game has been out in accordance to the used market exchange rates. Used game purchases may become a socially relevant yet unpracticed commodity.
Now, speculation will be speculation. The confirmation that there will be used games available is a feature (rather necessity) that gamers wanted and were quite vocal about. GameStop is a bastion for used games and very much apart of gaming culture as it is also one of the largest video game retailers. Sony and Microsoft decided to retain conventional means of owning games and stand to gain as much out of it as GameStop does. Despite the jubilation of knowing that there will be a used game market, the story following the aftermath of console releases will be how much value everyone places on used games when purchasing them outright may just be the better (and only) option.