Every console generation, inherently, starts with the speculation: Will the graphics be prettier? Will the games be bigger? How will online play and digital downloading continue to evolve?
The new next generation, however, has found something different. For the first time, a possibility and a plausibility both exist in earnest that the Xbox 720 and PlayStation 4 (neither of which has an official name yet) may block the use of used games to consumers. A rumor brought Microsoft’s potential anti-used-game plans to light back in January, and a source claiming to out Sony’s PS4 as ‘Orbis’ back in March also alleged the console wouldn’t be backwards compatible.
Effectively an extinguishing of the used-game market if true, the impact of the move would be seismic – not just for consumers who bank on the savings, but also for brick-and-mortar retail outlets who thrive as the middleman. Such a system shock could usher in a GameStop boycott of the consoles and create turmoil for all parties involved.
Fortunately, it seems like among the ranks of Sony’s top brass, not everyone is in favor of a used game liquidation.
Speaking on the latest episode of GameTrailers‘ Bonus Round, Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter relayed a conversation he had with Sony Computer Entertainment America President and CEO Jack Tretton regarding the blocking of used games. According to Pachter, Tretton’s completely against the practice – he thinks they’re conducive to late-cycle console sales, provide a great value for the customer, and a block would be “anti-consumer.” Tretton wasn’t sure how Sony HQ in Japan felt – but it’s a good indication coming from a man who’s tightly tied with the PlayStation image.
The 20-minute video – hosted by Geoff Keighley and featuring Pachter, GameTrailers’ Editor-in-Chief Shane Satterfield; LA Times reporter Ben Fritz; and former X-Play co-host Adam Sessler, sporting the Max Payne 3 look – gets into Tretton’s comments at the 1:30 mark but also generates some interesting discussion on Sony’s E3 outlook.
It’s almost inevitable that someday the decline of disc-and-box transactions will begin – with all media being downloaded from an online store like the PlayStation Network or Xbox Live Marketplace or Steam – but with Sony boss Kaz Hirai already hinting at the PS4’s hard-disc support and no reason to think the Xbox 720 will be any different, anti-used game measures now would be seen as an overt attempt to slice consumer savings into producer profit.
Ranters, are you encouraged by Tretton’s remarks? Do you think used games will still have their place in the future – be it the next generation or beyond?
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