By Vamien McKalin | May 25, 2013 11:32 AM EDT
Microsoft revealed the Xbox One on May 21, and after the smokes cleared, the reveal turned out to be a disaster due to the focus on TV and entertainment instead of games. However, that's not what the focus of this report is - the main focus here is used games and how it could affect gamers across the world.
After the big Xbox Reveal, Microsoft answered questions about how shared and used games would work on the new system. In an interview with the Wired, Microsoft corporate vice president Phil Harrison, opened up a lot on how shared and used games would work. According to Phil, anyone in the same household can play the same game on their account, granted that this game is being played on the same machine. However, if one should bring a game over to a friend's house to be played on their Xbox One, the game will only be playable on the owner's account. This means if your friend attempts to play the game on his/her account, it won't happen, and this is where all hell breaks loose.
You see, for your friend to play the game, your friend will have to purchase it.
"You can take your game around to your friend's house just as you would today - that's assuming you have a physical disc - and what we're doing with the new Live technology is that... with the disc, it's just a repository for "the bits". You can put that disc into his drive, you can play the game while you're there, and then you go home and take that disc with you. But actually, "the bits" are still on his drive. If your friend decides that he really likes to play that game, then he can go buy it instantly, and it doesn't need to download again. It's already there. Once he's paid for it, it's immediately there," according to Phil Harrison, in an interview with the Wired.
Furthermore, gamers will have the option to sell their used games online.
"We will have a solution - we're not talking about it today - for you to be able to trade your previously-played games online," Harrison said in a statement to Kotaku.
While Harrison didn't fully go into depth how this would work, we're guessing one could sell their games to other gamers through Xbox Live or at an online retailer. Hopefully, Microsoft clarifies all of this come June 10 at its E3 conference.
We have a general idea of what Microsoft is doing in regards to shared and used games, but what about Sony? After the PlayStation 4 reveal, many journalists didn't get the chance to speak with folks from Sony. Adam Sessler from Rev3Games said in his Address The Sess YouTube program, that it was difficult to get answers from Sony executives after the PlayStation 4 reveal, as the company did not allow for one-on-one interviews as did Microsoft.
While journalist were finding it difficult to get interviews from Sony, CVG managed to have a chat with Michael Denny, Sony's VP of Worldwide Studios a week after the reveal. When asked about used games, Denny said the following:
"It's not something that I feel I have any further announcement or comment to make on, other than to acknowledge with you that it's a massively important issue and of course we are going to do the right thing."
Isn't it strange that he couldn't give a straight answer to an issue he deems as "massively important"? Why beat around the bush if something is not going on behind the scenes?
Next up, we have Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida, who spoke with Eurogamer a day after the reveal. When asked about used games, Yoshida could only manage to make the following statement.
"The general expectation by consumers is, if they purchase physical form, they want to use it everywhere, right? So that's my expectation."
That did not fully answer the question. Of course, one would expect to play a game everywhere on any machine, but what if gamers attempt to play a game on an account that is not theirs? What happens then?
Let's take a look at another statement made by Fergal Gara, PlayStation UK Managing Director in an interview with NowGamer:
"Well first of all, we haven't stated that second-hand games...we haven't made a statement on the second-hand games question. There was a lot of reaction to a patent that was filed, which is a matter of course for a technology business like us, to file various patents at various times, many of which many never see any application but they are good to have depending on ideas that might be building.
"So what we're here to do is offer the best value and the best gaming experience for gamers. The answer to the pre-owned question isn't clarified just yet and we're working through that and we'll announce our position in more detail as and when we can."
Remember folks, EA dropped its online pass policy for future games; the only reason the company would do that is if there is a new alternative. This new alternative would have to be supported on both the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4. We have a general idea of what Microsoft is up to, and it is now up to Sony to come clean.
We have to give major props to Microsoft for shedding light on the new used games policy. Sure, there are still unanswered questions, but gamers should at least have a level of understanding. Sony on the other hand, chose to play the cat-and-mouse game, which will eventually return to bite the company in the rear end. The fact of the matter is, fans of the PlayStation 4 seem to believe all is well where the used games matter is concerned due to Sony's inability to come out and say clearly what needs to be said.
Maybe the silence is to get Microsoft to come and say it first, which could make things easier on Sony and potentially take it out of the line of fire. Or, the company might be planning to come and say that this used games thing would be up to publishers, but what's the point in saying that? Once there's a used games policy that benefits developers, all publishers will end up using it anyway.
At the end of the day, both the Microsoft Xbox One and the Sony PlayStation 4 will restrict how gamers go about sharing and selling used games. You can either accept this change, switch to the Nintendo Wii U, or exit the gaming scene altogether, the choice is yours.
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