rumours continue to swirl about the next iterations of the PlayStation and Xbox consoles. With nearly nothing actively confirmed by either Sony or Microsoft, one of the most popular recurring threads is that the consoles will in some way block the owners' ability to play secondhand, used copies of physical games.
Players and consumers tend to decry the idea, pointing out the ways in which the availability of purchasing, trading, swapping, borrowing, and renting used games means they play and are exposed to titles and franchises they otherwise would never touch. Publishers tend to love the idea, because they only see revenue from the first sale of a physical copy, and they equate "no used sales" with "more new sales". A number of developers and publishers have spoken out this year about the ways in which they feel used games are harmful.
This week it's Patrick Bach, who is the interim CEO of DICE, the developer behind the Battlefield games. In an interview with CVG, he makes perhaps the most strained argument yet, explaining that the existence of used games on the market actively prevents the development of new and interesting IP:
So if you think that there are too few new IPs on the market, no one can take that risk if their game is at risk of being resold too many times. ... So on the positive side you could see more games being created because of this, and also more new IPs, because there'd be a bigger market for games that don't have for instance multiplayer. There could be awesome single player-only games, which you can't really do these days because people just pirate them, which is sad.
This comes on the heels of another comment trashing used games, from Crysis developer Crytek. Last week Crytek's head of creative development told CVG that it "would be absolutely awesome" for next-gen consoles to block used games, adding, "It's weird that [second-hand] is still allowed because it doesn't work like that in any other software industries, so it would be great if they could somehow fix that issue as well." However, he had to walk back his seeming honesty very shortly thereafter, claiming the statement "was not intended to be taken seriously."
Someone representing a major publisher claiming that the existence of secondhand console games is wrecking the creation of new games? It must be a day that ends in "y." Still, this is clearly territory that gamers and studios are going to be having conflicts over for quite some time.
Photo: Flickr user goodrob13