Edge Online is reporting that Microsoft’s next Xbox console may require users to have a permanent internet connection, virtually ensuring the end of the second-hand games business.
You’ll still be able to buy a physical copy of a game (which will ship with a one-use unlock code, tied to your Gamertag), but Microsoft’s overarching strategy for the next-gen is download-based. Great if you live in a major city with serious broadband infrastructure, but not so brilliant for everybody else. Can’t afford a decent download speed? On a monthly plan which caps your downloads? Sucks for you.
This is, to say the least, a bloody risky gambit and one designed to lock out a great many gamers who can’t afford to buy a $60/£45 game every month - I find it hard to believe that Microsoft, of all companies, would view providing a download version as an opportunity to pass on cost savings to the consumer. Their ‘on-demand’ store on Xbox Live currently charges hilarious prices for games – and I would suspect that controlling the method of delivery to gamers will only make that worse.
Of course, Microsoft don’t comment on rumours and speculation ahead of one of their major product announcements, but if this method comes to pass, I don’t see myself persisting with Xbox gaming – after a while, you begin to get the message that Microsoft are akin to the neighbourhood kid who took their football home when the game wasn’t going their way.
There’s no word on whether Sony are looking to carry out similar measures with their PS4 – and a gambling man would suggest that where Microsoft choose to go, the Japanese company might look to distinguish themselves to consumers by offering a different system which doesn’t seek to marginalize and alienate potential consumers. Just an idea, mind you.
I’ve given up Xbox live this year and felt no ill-effect from doing so. If Microsoft are going to treat gamers like this, it might be time for me to jettison any thought of adopting their future platforms. I mean, as I’m European, it’s not as if Microsoft gives a toss about me anyway, is it?
- New Xbox requires an always-on connection to block used games, says report (theverge.com)
- Next Xbox always online? Blocks used games? Not buying it (destructoid.com)