By: Eddie Makuch
[UPDATE 2] Sources have told Polygon that the Xbox One will not require gamers pay an activation fee to play used games, but will mandate regular checks to verify the authenticity of games.
Microsoft is also reportedly mulling over the idea of special “exemption codes” that could be provided to those in Internet-free scenarios, like active-duty soldiers.
[UPDATE] Following the publication of this story, Microsoft director of Xbox Live programming Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb provided a new statement on Xbox One and used games.
“The ability to trade in and resell games is important to gamers and to Xbox,” he said. “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.”
The original story follows below.
According to retail sources speaking with MCV, retailers will be able to charge whatever they want for secondhand Xbox One games, but Microsoft and publishers will receive a cut of every transaction.
The information leak comes after Microsoft reportedly briefed “key” partners on its plans for the secondhand market as it relates to the Xbox One, somethingMicrosoft has been coy about.
The system will reportedly work as such: consumers can trade in physical Xbox One game discs only at retailers that have agreed to Microsoft’s terms and conditions and have integrated the company’s cloud-enabled Azurepreowned technology into their own.
The traded-in title is then registered on Microsoft’s systems as having been resold, and the data files will be cleared from their Xbox One account. Such a system would explain Microsoft’s position that the Xbox One must “check in” with its servers once every 24 hours.
Retailers are then able to resell the used game at whatever price point they see fit. As part of this initiative, the publisher of the game will automatically receive a cut of the sale, along with Microsoft. The rest is revenue for the retailer.
It is unclear what this percentage will be, though Consoledeals.co.ukclaims the portion paid to retailers will be 10 percent, well below the margins retailers have come to expect from secondhand games. This could negatively impact retailers like GameStop, which rely on the secondhand market for a healthy portion of their overall business.
During an earnings call yesterday, GameStop management brushed aside questions regarding the Xbox One and used games, instead saying it will allow Microsoft to announce plans in due time.
The site also suggests, based on information from a senior employee at “one of the UK’s largest video game retailers,” that the rumored Xbox One preowned activation fee will be £35 ($52). It is unclear if this fee will be an additional cost on top of the sticker price for secondhand games.
Microsoft’s official stance on the Xbox One used-game scenario is that the platform has been designed “to enable our customers to trade in and resell games at retail.”
“We know there is some confusion around used games on Xbox One and wanted to provide a bit of clarification on exactly what we’ve confirmed today,” Microsoft said earlier this week. “While there have been many potential scenarios discussed, today we have only confirmed that we designed Xbox One to enable our customers to trade in and resell games at retail.”
“Beyond that, we have not confirmed any specific scenarios.”
Sony has also dodged questions regarding used games on the PlayStation 4. The company has confirmed that preowned titles will play on the next-generation system, but said decisions about activation fees will be left up to individual publishers.
“It’s a publisher decision,” Sony said in February. “We are not talking about it. Sorry.”