The video game industry has declared war against used games, and one of the biggest casualties might be GameFly, the video game by-mail rental service. With news that Xbox One games will come with one-time-use activation codes that lock them to your Xbox Live account, it’s become clear that Microsoft’s next console will limit the way we borrow and swap games.
That’s bad news for a company that deals in the borrowing and swapping of games. But GameFly isn’t talking.
“GameFly will not be making any statements until more information is released by Microsoft,” a rep told me when I asked if they’d like to share their plans for Xbox One games.
That’s no fun. Surely a big company like GameFly has had plenty of conversations with Microsoft (and Sony) about the next generation of gaming. Surely they’ve got plans in motion.
So let’s brainstorm. What if XB1 discs come with “trial” versions that let you register a game to your account and play it for X number of days before you have to pay the full fee? What if you can rent out a game, activate it, then deactivate when you’re done with it so the code can be used again? (Wonder how many people would forget to do that before mailing back their games?)
What if GameFly has to dish out extra money to game publishers in order to keep doing what they do?
You have to imagine that GameStop will be affected similarly; GameStop president Tony Bartel even said that news of this restriction on used games came as a surprise to him. GameStop’s reps also wouldn’t comment when we asked about their plans for the new Xbox. Surely they’re having conversations with Microsoft about possible solutions as we speak.
Both Microsoft and Sony have been cagy about their used game policies, but it’s hard to imagine that there’s no plan in place for video game rental services. The question is what will it be?