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Microsoft Digs Bigger Hole Over Used Games

The company has assigned Major Nelson the task of trying (and failing) to clarify its stance with Xbox One.

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In a bizarre attempt to provide “clarification” over the mixed signals on how Xbox One will handle used games, Xbox evangelist Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb has issued a statement meant to clarify the company’s stance. The statement does not succeed in doing that.

Here’s what he passed along:

“The ability to trade in and resell games is important to gamers and to Xbox. Xbox One is designed to support the trade in and resale of games. Reports about our policies for trade in and resale are inaccurate and incomplete. We will disclose more information in the near future.”

This conversation about used games as we become digital consumers was coming, and it was only a matter of which hardware manufacturer pulled the trigger first. Why, though, would Microsoft decide to stick its foot into the used games discussion without specific answers for consumers? There’s no room for half measures with used games. You are taking away some consumer rights, and if consumers are gaining anything in this transaction, Microsoft needed to make that clear from the very beginning.

Now, it's backpedaling. Now, it's trying to clarify. That means you've already lost the messaging war.

It’s possible there’s actually a pretty reasonable situation where players have the ability to turn in digital licenses for purchased games in exchange for Microsoft Points to spend on the Xbox Marketplace and used games continue to exist at GameStop and other retailers. Since the details of those arrangements is clearly changing, the onus would be on Microsoft to make the coming changes abundantly transparent.

Microsoft didn't, and it wants to pretend it's not its fault.

The statement itself is a joke, too.

“Reports about our policies for trade in and resale are inaccurate and incomplete.”

Microsoft is the one who put its executives and representatives in front of the press earlier this week, and presented increasingly conflicted information. The problem has been getting anything remotely resembling a clear answer out of them. The press hasn’t mangled Microsoft’s message, it’s that Microsoft has very little to say, and wants to point the blame at someone else with the wave of a hand. It won't work.

Sorry, Microsoft. It’s your problem, not mine. Try a little honesty next time?

Patrick Klepek on Google+