UPDATE: Konami has chimed in. Sort of.
Many questions remain about Microsoft’s Xbox One policies. But when the company outlined how its console will handle the trading and selling of used games yesterday, one thing was clear: Microsoft is leaving most of that decision to publishers.
It’s up to game companies to determine if its products have a used game future.
Sources have been telling me for months that the biggest gaming publishers have been pushing for these tools (yes, even with Sony). It makes sense the publishers would have already started thinking about how it will handle these policies, and whether used games will be supported.
Here’s what Microsoft outlined yesterday:
- In our role as a game publisher, Microsoft Studios will enable you to give your games to friends or trade in your Xbox One games at participating retailers. Third party publishers may opt in or out of supporting game resale and may set up business terms or transfer fees with retailers. Microsoft does not receive any compensation as part of this. In addition, third party publishers can enable you to give games to friends. Loaning or renting games won’t be available at launch, but we are exploring the possibilities with our partners.
- Give your games to friends: Xbox One is designed so game publishers can enable you to give your disc-based games to your friends. There are no fees charged as part of these transfers. There are two requirements: you can only give them to people who have been on your friends list for at least 30 days and each game can only be given once.
Microsoft has not clarified its position on these policies. Last generation, when games were making the jump from $50 to $60, there was a period where Microsoft’s first-party releases were at the $50 price point. Those eventually rose to $60, alongside the rest of the industry. This could pan out similarly.
When I asked publishers for details on used game policies, I didn’t come away with much.
Several companies did get back to me, however.
“No comments to share at this time.”
“Right now we’re focused on our title slate for consoles that are currently available to consumers. NAMCO BANDAI is looking forward to the launch of the new console generation and we will have more news to share regarding our next-gen plans later in the year.”
“We are currently discussing within SEGA policies relating to the new generation of consoles. As soon as these have been agreed upon with all concerned partners we will make the information public.”
"Thanks for your inquiry, though we have nothing official to share at this time."
Given that Sony somewhat punted on some important details regarding how PlayStation 4 will handle used games, I also asked the company for additional clarification, but did not hear back. I do have an interview booked with a Sony executive at E3, though, and you can expect I'll be looking for details.
We may not hear more about each publisher’s position until closer to launch. I’ll keep on it.