Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Used Games War

News broke that a next gen system unofficially termed the Xbox 720 - not pictured above - will not allow people with used games to access them. An activation code will be used initially when the consumer puts it into the system and thus eliminating the ability of a second hand exchange since the game's activation code will have already been used. Of course in order to verify this code your system will have to be connected online.

Many however are wondering if this will be a similar concept to DRM techniques seen on the PC market. With this part of the market piracy is rampant due to almost all PCs sold having a burning disc drive device. To contradict this piracy strict DRM has been put in place where the common denominator is you have to be connected online in order to play said game. Often times being thrown back to the main menu when a connection to the authorization server has been lost and initially, when this concept was first used -as it appears to be learned via the mass complaining of gamers that ironically conveyed this outrage through an online connection-, loosing all your progress since your last save.

Rumors about Sony doing something similar with their next gen system unofficially termed the PS4 -again not pictured above - have also arose due to Sony patents found online that talk about a system the tags games for this similar process. See the gist of things here is the system will read the game's tag, similar to the activation codes that Microsoft will implement with their 720, allegedly, but instead not require an online connection as the authorization process is done via the hardware as opposed to an online server. However similarly this will cut the used games market out as a game that's already been tagged with a specific system will not work on another. That's the whole point of this DRM technique.

I modded my original Xbox way back in the day because it didn't allow me to watch movies without going out and buying a remote for movie playback, while this feature was do-able right out of the box as per modders discoveries. If I feel like a company is putting restrictions on the product I purchased then I feel you as a consumer have a right to complain. These companies want to dictate what you can and can not do with their product and will often ban you from live if you're found to be a "cheater". Now obviously this doesn't go so far that you have to get authorities involved because of illegal actions being carried out. Still the ability to play used games, and thus either try out a game you're not sure about -or to save money picking up a used copy, on a console is paramount to many many consumers out there that enjoy the video game industry. Online passes and DLC have been put in place to deter consumers from pawning off their unused games for a little cash or bonuses towards the latest and greatest.

Oh I also highly bet that, just like the online pass, that you'll be able to buy another code with the gracious action of handing over your credit card. I really hope that does not happen, publishers are already getting their cake and eating it too, as the saying goes.