Microsoft didn’t mention anything about used games during its Xbox One reveal, but a report from Wired claims that gamers will have to pay a small fee in order to play used games.
In an exclusive look at the Xbox One Wired found out that gamers will use Blu-ray discs to install games onto the 500GB hard drive of the Xbox One, though any user after the first will have to pay a small fee. It’s not clear how the system will work, but once a user installs a game to their account on the Xbox One that game won’t install for any other account without an unspecified fee.
The change will make users pay to install and play used games, or just games they rent of borrow from a friend. It’s not clear if the game will tie to an individual account or a console. Theoretically once a user installs a game on the console any account on the console can play it without paying an extra fee like they can on the Xbox 360.
The move is similar to the online passes companies like EA include in current generation games. Some games require online passes for the gamers to play online, without it they can only play single-player. The pass comes free with each new copy of the game, but players who buy games used often have to pay extra for online passes.
As Arthur Gies of Polygon points out on Twitter, however, the fees may not affect gamers that much. Retailers like GameStop and individuals who resell used games are the ones hurt most by the restriction. Those resellers may have to lower the prices they charge for used games in order to compensate for the fees Microsoft will charge.
The good news for gamers who buy the games is that once they pay the fee and install the game, they won’t need the disc any longer, so they can sell it back quickly to recoup some of the cost.
Later, if they delete the game from their hard drive they can redownload it from Xbox Live later. In that way, the fee acts as more of a license for the game instead of a punishment for buying a used disc. Presumably some of the fee will go to the publishers so they get a cut of used game sales, which they currently don’t get.
@danhufc Oops, yup – typo. You will not have to pay a *fee*. I can confirm that those reports are wrong. ^BA
— Xbox Support (@XboxSupport) May 21, 2013
In the hours after the event, Microsoft statements are back and forth on the issue, with the Xbox Support account claiming that there will be no charge. Soon after, Phil Harrison, Microsoft corporate Vice President told Eurogamer that there will be a fee to install a game on a friend’s Xbox One. Kotaku shares details of an online aftermarket for used Xbox One games, but Microsoft doesn’t spill too many details, other than to say there are fees involved.
This isn’t the only Xbox One question users are left facing as Microsoft didn’t announce the cost of the Xbox One at today’s event. Hopefully we will learn more when Microsoft takes the stage on June 10th for E3.