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Locking pre-owned games would be unfair

2 min read


There are so many rumours about the next generation of consoles – but it’s not their power, graphical capabilities or online features that are drawing most reaction; no it’s the possibility that future consoles – specifically the next Xbox – could prevent people from trading in or selling their used games. Usually, rumours like this get brushed off but a lot of developers have been talking about it – and there could be a bit of fire to this smoke.

A developer from Volition thinks it’s a great way to increase profits – while The Witcher 2 developers think it could be a “bad idea.” Inversion developr Saber Interactive’s  CEO, Matthew Karch has now thrown his opinion in to the hat.

"I don’t think we should prevent people from playing used games. I understand why they would want to do it, but I think the approach should be different., “ he told CVG. "As long as games are distributed on physical medium as physical goods, players should have the right to buy and sell them. $60 is a lot to pay for a game and if a player buys a dud and is stuck with it, then that’s just not fair to force him to keep it. If people buy Inversion and it’s not for them, then why should they be forced to turn it into a drink coaster?

He then makes an interesting case for digital distribution – and makes some good points, that you – our forward thinking readers – have brought up before.

"For me the approach is to bring the cost of games down and to sell them as digital content where they can’t be bought and sold. If someone pays $15 for a game, then it’s less painful if they need to keep it. "A $60 game has about $30 of waste in it in getting the game to retail. I really believe that with digital distribution you can get that same full-length experience for $30.”

"With Inversion (or games like Battlefield or Gears), for example, you could break that experience into two components – single-player and multiplayer – and sell them for $15 each or sell them combined for $30. If someone spends $15, then the trade-in value would be minimal anyway even if it were permissible.”

"I think thats the way to go – lower the costs for the same access by bringing them to market digitally. Then a no-used solution is fair."

Barring our bandwidth issues, would you be happy to pay half (or a quarter!) of the current price of a game, for a single component of it? Provided the quality’s the same, I’d be overjoyed to shell out $15 for – and this is just an example – Battlefield 3’s multiplayer, skipping its single player campaign entirely.

Last Updated: February 9, 2012

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