Microsoft denies rumors that it is considering a digital trade-in system, with Xbox marketing head Aaron Greenberg stating that the company is ‘not actively planning such a thing’.
Digital sales have become a hugely important part of the video game industry over recent years. Therefore, it’s no surprise to see some companies trying to find new ways of making extra money from digital sales, including the idea of digital trade-ins. However, it seems as though Microsoft is not heading in this direction, in spite of rumors to the contrary.
Aaron Greenberg, who is head of Xbox marketing, has given a fairly categorical statement that rules out Microsoft’s involvement in digital trade ins – at least for the time being. After being questioned on the matter by industry analyst Michael Pachter on Twitter, Greenberg denied that the media giant was considering anything in that regard. “We are not actively planning such a thing,” said Greenberg.
The Xbox marketing head also expressed surprise that the idea had even surfaced in the first place. The kernel of this particular rumor is a question asked on a survey by Microsoft regarding the possibility of digital trade-ins, which set off speculation across the web. Addressing this, Greenberg noted that he was “surprised it was even asked in a survey.” The Twitter exchange between Pachter and Greenberg can be seen below.
@michaelpachter Yeah we are not actively planning such a thing, surprised it was even asked in a survey. Not fire being played with :-)— Aaron Greenberg (@aarongreenberg) March 21, 2016
The idea of digital trade ins has received a mixed reception from the gaming community. A company would let users resell a digital copy of a game back for a portion of the purchase cost, in return for the license to play the game in question. As Pachter mentioned in his initial tweet, there is the notion that Microsoft would be “playing with fire” by launching such a plan for the Xbox One, particularly given that it would then set a precedent that other companies may follow.
With high-speed internet access becoming more and more available, digital sales have been proving real competition for physical releases. One such example is Fallout 4, where digital sales outsold retail on day one of release. In spite of its popularity, however, many publishers and content providers have yet to find the perfect way to treat users with regards to returns and pre-owned digital copies.
In general, however, it seems as though digital sales are making an ever-increasing impression on the market. Last year, Steam launched a brand new refund policy for sales, which was almost immediately tested by the botched PC release of Batman: Arkham Knight. Hopefully, should a company eventually push digital trade-ins, it will be done in a way that can benefit the industry as a whole, and in a way that gamers themselves find useful.