When Microsoft announced its used game policy for the Xbox One it felt like the end result of some sort of retailer/publisher tug of war — a compromise. Microsoft needs retail to get the box in stores, but publishers must also be on board if the console is to ultimately succeed. But EA has already denied it had any part in pushing an anti-used games agenda to Microsoft and JB Hi-Fi? It doesn’t expect the restrictions around used games to have any impact on its business.
EB Games declined to comment on the Xbox One’s used game policy but after getting in contact with JB Hi-Fi locally, Marketing Manager Scott Browning claimed he expected great things from the Xbox One.
“The latest gen console release from Microsoft is very impressive and we are very excited by the impending launch,” he said. “We anticipate sales of the Xbox One to be bigger than Xbox 360 and given the continuation of Xbox 360 as well, we see the potential of both ecosystems in the market. We do not perceive any impact to the existing prevalence of the preowned market.”
Some speculated that the Xbox One’s used game policy might push retailers into some sort of silent boycott. Consoles themselves are typically a zero margin product and retailers are usually reluctant to sell products they can’t see some sort of return on in the future. The used games market, by far, has the highest margins in the retail space and Microsoft’s policy has the potential to harm this market. Retailers still have bargaining power in this department. The only question is: will they exercise it?
No, says Scott Browning.
“Licensing rules are a matter for the copyright owners themselves,” he said, “however if they choose to restrict the reuse of the product that would not affect any purchasing behaviour by us.”
It’s an interesting position. When Sony released the PSP-Go — a download only handheld with zero potential for future revenue through game sales — retailers responded negatively. It seems that JB Hi-Fi still has belief in the potential of the Xbox One despite its intention to limit a major part of its retail business.