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Major Publishers Silent On Xbox One Used Game Policies [UPDATED]

Capcom, Namco Bandai, and Sega were the only companies even willing to issue a vague response.

UPDATE: Konami has chimed in. Sort of.

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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.

Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, Activision, Square Enix, and Warner Bros. did not respond to my requests for comment.

Several companies did get back to me, however.

Capcom:

“No comments to share at this time.”

Namco Bandai:

“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.”

Sega:

“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.”

Konami:

"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.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
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Edited by EdgarAllanPwn

Get your shit together, Xbone

Edited by Veiasma

I have a feeling E3 will be full of great excitement and massive disappointment.

CAN'T WAIT!

Edited by spacezedbra

How unshocking...

Edited by CornBREDX

Everything around the next generation of consoles so far seems like they dont want me to buy one.

Maybe I have a reason to buy a Wii U now. Except... there's not many games to play on it.

I don't know, but all this seems so weird.

Posted by koopakorral

This is going to be one rough E3-Holiday season.

Edited by gaminghooligan

Scoops askin' the hard questions. Keep the pressure on em' man!

Posted by Huey2k2

I love it how people are treating this as though Microsoft will be the only one doing this stuff this generation.

Anyone who thinks Sony won't be doing this exact thing as well is just being wilfully ignorant.

Edited by CapnThrash

so skeptical of (both of) these new consoles. too many sacrifices i don't think i should have to make in order to enjoy media. Going to sit back and see how it all pans out, i guess.

Posted by pornstorestiffi

Everything around the next generation of consoles so far seems like they dont want me to buy one.

Maybe I have a reason to buy a Wii U now. Except... there's not many games to play on it.

I don't know, but all this seems so weird.

To be honest, i´m most excited about what Nintendo will be showing in their booth this year. And the last Nintendo console i owned was the Gamecube, so thats quite a weird thing for me.

Edited by Coolarman

At the very least I hope that Sony's DRM thing is less annoying than Microsoft's. Then again, I think that I will be one those people who really gets into digital downloads so if Sony offers day and date digital downlaods which i think is almost certain I will start to think PS4 is my choice for a console.

Edited by jarowdowsky

What feels like a real mess, other than the turgid policies themselves, is how little organisation there seems to have been.

This is an astonishing mess for such a huge product launching within, what, six months.

Posted by MeatSim

Yea none of these responses are surprising.

Posted by Kaigan

As someone who doesn't purchase games second-hand or have friends to share them with, I'm pretty much fine with the way things seem like they'll shake out.

When Sony announces similar policies, I can skip the outrage and go straight to being excited for new games.

Come at me.

Posted by Matterless

Bethesda: "We haven't had time to fully understand and evaluate [Microsoft's] policy" on secondhand titles.

Edited by Arath

Isn't part of the core issue that Microsoft have built a system from the ground up to deter sharing games. Also it is an always online system with regular checks for games.

Sony have come out and stated that their console is not an online console at least not in the same way, so I don't see how they could enforce blocking used or shared games in the same way Microsoft could.

I know people want to be like "Hey but Sony is probably going to do the exact same thing...", maybe but nothing has indicated that yet and certainly not to the level of Microsoft. So I think news articles should not move the discussion away from Microsoft by talking about other console makers and or Publishers (though at the Publisher level would surely be much like this generation, UNLESS the consoles are built to support them differently...).

Edited by OllyOxenFree

So it's absolutely nothing regarding information. Great!

Posted by Asmo917

I know this is the unpopular opinion to have on-line these days, but nothing I've heard about these policies has me less interested in the new consoles. The restrictions - and I'll admit they are restrictions based on what's available now - simply don't affect me. I don't buy or sell used, and I'm fortunate enough to live in an area with pretty reliable broadband. If Microsoft and Sony think there are enough of me to make this work, good luck to them, and I hope they're right. The machines will still play games, and developers and publishers are going to do cool shit with the new hardware. That's what I'm looking for, and I hope E3 shows some promise in the new games department.

Posted by Haziqonfire

Predictable answers, but I'm glad Patrick tried to reach out to get something out of these publishers. Here's hoping Sony will have some clarification about the PS4 situation at E3.

Edited by PHenry1991

People are thinking that Sony is some sort of white-knight....but, while they've said they're not doing any mandatory online check-in....they're leaving Used game policies, and always online games up to the publishers. Almost exactly like Microsoft. Unless they're not, but come on, there's gotta be something right? There's also the rumor that, because Sony wouldn't take a firm stance on the matters, EA made some exclusive deals with Microsoft, which could make some sense. I mean, EA has been pushing for something like this for forever, right? Hopefully, everything is cleared up by E3.

Posted by BayouBengal032

Good on you, Patrick, for trying to reach out for expected answers. Can't wait to talk to some people myself next week in LA.

Posted by servothx

I thought the publisher's pressured poor MS into this?

Awful

Posted by edgeCrusher

Good effort Kleptok. Keep digging, the truth is out there.

Edited by iAmJohn

I, for one, welcome our new PC gaming master race overlords.

Posted by Goldanas

@huey2k2: Sony did have an infographic some time ago about how their licensing stuff would work and it looked a lot like what they currently have, which involves the user-end account activation and deactivation stuff.

Supposedly, you'd be able to have multiple accounts on a system, and then also tie your account to a controller, so that you can take it with you when you visit a friend's (similar to how the WiiMote stores Miis).

I imagine Sony will use the system they have now with the Unique Disc codes that are printed on the discs themselves, which then tie to an account, but you can still play the game of the disc if you so desire. Sony has been staunch on keeping disc functionality in their past discussions on the PS4.

But as I said, it seems it will be largely similar to Microsoft's approach with some slightly different implementation (controller account linking), with the one major differentiation that Sony will put the power of authentication in your hands, as they do now.

Posted by IroncladMerc

2 things are 100% sure: 1) No more selling used games on eBay, and 2) no more renting games through services like GameFly.

These anti-competitive practices are going to put Gamefly out of business, and independent game stores who are not "authorized" to accept trade-ins of used games.

Edited by Waffles13

@kaigan said:

As someone who doesn't purchase games second-hand or have friends to share them with, I'm pretty much fine with the way things seem like they'll shake out.

When Sony announces similar policies, I can skip the outrage and go straight to being excited for new games.

Come at me.

Agree 100%. The only thing that could potentially effect me is the 24 hour thing, but I haven't had an outage in more than a year, and even then it was for hours, not days. It sucks for someone somewhere with really unstable internet, but considering that is probably less than 1% of the current "hardcore" gaming market (meaning, people who make MS and publishers lots of money), I don't see how it will have and impact on MS if those people take a stand and don't buy the console because of that.

And honestly, the argument I've heard for "What if I move and my internet isn't turned on for a few days" is CRAZY. I play games 4-8 hours a day, but if you seriously cannot live without them for 1-3 days once every couple of years, I'm sorry.

Edited by Lukas

@cornbredx:

Exactly my thoughts. At the beginning of this year I was super stoked for the next gen. Now little of that is left.

Given that both next gen consoles will be x86 based it's fair to assume that future games will come out on PC at the same time as they do on console or at least sooner than they do now.

For me what Steam lacks in used games functionality they make up for in Weekend/Winter/Summer Sales.

I also don't like the whole lack of backwards compatibility thing with next gen's consoles. Though I rarely ever play my older PC games I still like them being there in the Library.

So if this whole next gen console thing keeps developing the way it has so far I will probably not buy any of the two and instead get a new graphics card. Also I find that whole NVIDIA Project Shield PC Remote Play thing very intriguing. Once that thing drops from it's current $350 to around $250 I'm on board.

Edited by BloodyBHoney

The thing that kills me about all this is that there are still people out there who purchase their games almost exclusively used, either through Gamestop or Amazon bargain hunting or what have you.

In fact, it's a much larger number than you'd expect - I know there's this whole "Well I don't do this!" mentality that floats around in gamer talks about consoles and such but we also have to remember that, in the end, when it comes to the discussion of numbers and sales we're actually sort of the minority and aren't the sole thing keeping the industry afloat.

How are you going to explain to Joe Average that the game he bought doesn't work simply because someone else played it before he did? How are you going to justify to the mom trying to get the hot new game for her kids that the cheaper version will be useless when she gets home?

Like how was any of this sudden war on used games sales good idea?

Posted by Jhriad

Glad to see you pounding the pavement. Keep hounding 'em. We'll be cheering you on the whole way.

Edited by TheManWithNoPlan

I'm really concerned for the uninformed masses who won't understand anything about these new policies and features. I can imagine a lot of confusion around the Holidays this year.

Posted by Vinny_Says

I'm no industry insider and this is off topic, but what would stop software companies from forcing users to connect to their own servers (not sony's) every x amount of hours in order to play a PS4 game? Basically doing the microsoft thing but on a software level.

Posted by SpaceRunaway

Good on Sega for being the only one to even acknowledge the question asked, I guess.

Edited by Subjugation

No sympathy from me. I've been gaming primarily on the PC for a loooooong time and we haven't had "used game sales" as a part of our game economy for ... a long time. That is completely fine with me. I'll tell you how many times I've wanted to sell a game I already own.

0

And as a result (if not entirely, definitely a large part) of not having used sales, PC has been getting awesome sales ALL THE TIME from places like Steam, Greenmangaming, GOG, Gamersgate, etc.

I honestly think this is much ado about nothing.

Posted by jarowdowsky

@bloodybhoney: Indeed, you'd kind of assume that we're living in some golden age of full employment and cash growing on trees wouldn't you?

I'm currently caring full time for my Dad following my Mum's death and the tiny amount of money I get for doing this wouldn't stretch to the price of console games new. So, used some of the money left to me to pick up a PC and I'm pretty much done with consoles now.

If Microsoft and probably Sony have so little interest in the economic reality or in consumer rights, I've no interest in owning a new console.

Still, be interesting to see how it all turns out. But one thing worth remembering, consoles can and do fail and definitely can fail to reach expectations for sales... Just like first attempts to make tablet PCs, or Zune, or Bing, or Surface, or Windows 8...

Posted by wchue

wow why is this all going so wrong...

Posted by ManlyPup

@pornstorestiffi: Nintendo isn't going to E3. They're doing a Nintendo Direct, and showcasing some of their games at 100ish Best Buys across the US, instead.

Edited by ANDS

Notice that the companies that did respond are Japanese companies.

Edited by Oginam

People are thinking that Sony is some sort of white-knight....but, while they've said they're not doing any mandatory online check-in....they're leaving Used game policies, and always online games up to the publishers. Almost exactly like Microsoft. Unless they're not, but come on, there's gotta be something right? There's also the rumor that, because Sony wouldn't take a firm stance on the matters, EA made some exclusive deals with Microsoft, which could make some sense. I mean, EA has been pushing for something like this for forever, right? Hopefully, everything is cleared up by E3.

I agree. If the only real difference between Sony and MS policy wise is the check in timer, that isn't much difference. Live has been fairly consistent over the years (with a few exceptions that relate to matchmaking, but those systems are separate from log in now, according to MS) and is a vastly superior infrastructure to what Sony did with PS3.

Also, if Sony isn't unifying matchmaking the way MS does (mostly) I think that will continue to be a big negative. Any multi-player game I played on 360 would at least work, even down to much smaller titles like N+, but just about anything I played on a PS3 was a broken mess. I'd also have a hard time buying in on anything Sony sells in regards to online stuff, that has never been their strong suit and they need to prove they won't screw it up.

This fight may also become about audience, MS goes after multi-player and Sony after single-player (at least as a way of positioning the console at launch). You shouldn't need two guesses to figure out which of those audiences publishers think is the better bet.

Edited by Draugen

God, corporate-speak BS makes me sick to my stomach.

Posted by SlashDance

Edited by OllyOxenFree

lol at the Konami update.

Posted by Matterless

I'm going to be so pissed if these assholes end up selling me a WiiU.

Posted by Devise22

@patrickklepek Super happy to see you back to work on your awesome "Scoops" duties. Out there looking for some of the most important and big news for E3 and these new console launches. Keep at it sir! :D

Edited by Oginam

I'm no industry insider and this is off topic, but what would stop software companies from forcing users to connect to their own servers (not sony's) every x amount of hours in order to play a PS4 game? Basically doing the microsoft thing but on a software level.

Only Sony at a policy level saying that a game needs to be playable without connection or verification, which I doubt they would do. Sony may just forego having a unified game verification/matchmaking infrastructure entirely, kicking the ball to publishers to handle that, like they did with the PS3. Even if Sony handles the verification, nothing that we know of right now would stop publishers from having always on.

Sony is leaving a lot of this for the E3 press conference apparently, which will have interesting effects if MS gets up and just shows lots of games. Sony would then have to follow-up with a bunch of marketing speak and lawyer approved stuff.

Posted by HubrisRanger

No sympathy from me. I've been gaming primarily on the PC for a loooooong time and we haven't had "used game sales" as a part of our game economy for ... a long time. That is completely fine with me. I'll tell you how many times I've wanted to sell a game I already own.

0

And as a result (if not entirely, definitely a large part) of not having used sales, PC has been getting awesome sales ALL THE TIME from places like Steam, Greenmangaming, GOG, Gamersgate, etc.

I honestly think this is much adieu about nothing.

I think that is the key thing right there that is the distinction. Console gaming market places, with a few exceptions, don't have the same legacy of having the kinds of sales that Steam has, though you would get that through the retail space on occasions for newer titles, months into their lifespan. If Microsoft (and presumably Sony) can have an online marketplace that has flexible pricing models that allows for sales, "mid-tier" pricing and reactive markets, then the argument that used games make gaming a more affordable hobby goes out the window for me. At that point it is just a principled argument that you're buying licenses rather than actual data, but that's a battle the consumer is losing on all fronts already.

Edited by Jayzilla

The more I hear the more it looks like I won't be owning a console this generation from Sony, MS, or Nintendo. Between camera crap, terrible used sales and not being able to lend or borrow games from friends or rent even, there just isn't enough telling me I NEED one of these systems. I thought I would be disappointed by that more seeing as I have owned a console for every generation since 1985. I think the stuff they want to do sits so poorly with me that I just don't care.

Occulus Rift and Steam from now on I guess.

Edited by Colourful_Hippie

lol

Posted by Voysa_Reezun

If I'm not going to be able to buy used games and sell back games, I'll just go to the PC full time. It's no skin off my nose.

The console has very few advantages over the PC. Being able to play whatever games are for it without having to worry about graphics cards, etc. is one. Being able to buy and sell used games easily is the other. After that, I'm not seeing why I wouldn't just roll with PC over XBOne or PS4. At least Nintendo has a bunch of IPs that people like.

It's looking more and more like I'll just stick to the PC and maybe buy a Wii, as I have always been sure to stay one generation behind when it comes to Nintendo since the GameCube days.

Posted by Mumrik

Everything around the next generation of consoles so far seems like they dont want me to buy one.

Maybe I have a reason to buy a Wii U now. Except... there's not many games to play on it.

I don't know, but all this seems so weird.

Here guys! Have our take on a PC with the most closed, controlled/regulated and limited ecosystem ever. AREN'T YOU FUCKING EXCITED?!

Posted by Vasta_Narada

@manlypup: Except that they are, they just aren't holding a press conference. Nintendo's still on the show floor.

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