You Will Be Able To Trade Xbox One Games Online, Microsoft Says

You Will Be Able To Trade Xbox One Games Online, Microsoft Says

Xbox One games will require a one-time activation code to use, but you’ll still be able to trade and sell them online, Microsoft tells Kotaku — although we’re not 100% clear on the details.

Speaking to us at the big event in Redmond today, Microsoft corporate vice president Phil Harrison clarified a couple of details about the system’s used game policy and explained that there will be a solution for people who want to trade games with their friends.

Here’s how the system works: when you buy an Xbox One game, you’ll get a unique code that you enter when you install that game. You’ll have to connect to the Internet in order to authorise that code, and the code can only be used once. Once you use it, that game will then be linked to your Xbox Live account. “It sits on your harddrive and you have permission to play that game as long as you’d like,” Harrison said.

Other users on the console will be able to play that game as well, Harrison said. So you don’t need to buy multiple games per family. “With the built-in parental controls of the system it is shared amog the users of the device,” he said.

But what if you want to bring a game disc to a friend’s house and play there? You’ll have to pay a fee — and not just some sort of activation fee, but the actual price of that game — in order to use a game’s code on a friend’s account. Think of it like a new game, Harrison says.

“The bits that are on that disc, you can give it to your friend and they can install it on an Xbox One,” he said. “They would then have to purchase the right to play that game through Xbox Live.”

“They would be paying the same price we paid, or less?” we asked.

“Let’s assume it’s a new game, so the answer is yes, it will be the same price,” Harrison said.

But that doesn’t mean used games are dead. In fact, Harrison told us, you’ll be able to sell your Xbox One games online.

“We will have a solution — we’re not talking about it today — for you to be able to trade your previously-played games online,” Harrison said.

The Xbox exec wouldn’t give further details on how this system will work, but we’re assuming that once you’re done with a game, you can trade the code online and it will be erased from your machine. But what will you get? Other games? Microsoft Points?

No matter how the final system works, it is not likely to please GameStop, the world’s biggest buyer and seller of used video games, but it could be a tantalising way to share games with your friends in the virtual space.


  • I’m so jumping over to the Sony wagon, good bye Xbox, its been fun. Ofcourse will have to see from some people who buy it if this is true. At this point I’m definitely not buying it, if anything I feel I would be happy to pay to see these people get fired. Sux that would probably cause other people to lose jobs who have nothing to do with it and then we would be back on square one.

    so far microsofts been going dumber than usual. Why?

    • I don’t see any reason to throw a tantrum just yet. That sounds pretty reasonable to me.
      I’d imagine Microsoft will keep a small cut of the resale as will the games developer, but it would have to be an huge amount before it was the same resale profit that Gamestop or EB games pockets.

      • Lets assume they keep the same trade in price as current. Buy your new game at an Australian price, sell it back to Microsoft for $20 so they can sell your activation code again for full price. I like money as much as the next guy but i think Microsoft is taking it a little too far.

        • I think the bottom line is there is NO resale value for a game which is downloaded digitally if the arbiter of the on-sale is Microsoft.
          It’s an entirely false market.

          Once the product is on the server it’s not a tradable entity because it’s clonable.
          If “reselling” your game is just handing in a code which disables your version then what is Microsoft really buying back and why would they? They can distribute the software as many times as they can generate codes (trillions). What is the gain to them in reselling a “second hand” code at a cheaper price?

          The only way this could possibly work is if all sales are private agreements which would be certified by Microsoft (somehow?) and they would then issue a second code to the new buyer following a private transaction. I suppose they could set up their own version of ‘Xbox Ebay’ to solicit this kind of trade, but even then they’d just be shooting themselves in the foot because there is no product difference between a “new” code and a “second hand” code. Why the hell would any gamer ever buy a new game at full price?

    • M$oft and Sony both dont care about the used game market. Why should they? They dont make money out of it. I for one would be fine with this and hope sony does it too (to make sure devs get money from every game sale).

      • Devs get money for the development. The publishers are the ones who clean up the rest from my understanding. So all money you do use to buy games doesn’t go to the developers. unless publishers have in house dev teams like Sony, ea, and Activision. We can see how those are going so far especially ea.

        • For future development and expansion of their dev studios and brands. Even *shock* new IPs.

          • Yeah publishers give money to devs to make whatever sells. Look at Nintendo, they’ll keep making Mario and Zelda for as long as it sells. New up often cones witha gamble, but it can pay of, like ac and mass effect. Though mass effect was not pushes as far as ac, it could’ve been quite easily considering the amount of fans it has.

          • Unfortunate truth. But it could change if publishers and devs (in particular) had a better (or more) revenue stream.

            I tend to think that if it goes through then hopefully publishers become less invasive and over-riding and the devs take more of an active role in the marketplace. Less need for publishers these days…

  • Am I just cyncial, or does my vision of ‘click here to sell this game (*including all dlc) for $5’ right next to a another screen ‘Buy this used game for cheap! Only $40! (*no dlc included)’

    • I think you’re bang on the money. Most likely, MS has decided to start up its own USED GAMES division.

  • I think Microsoft needs to check their definition of sharing. Taking a game to a friend’s place and having a box pop up that pretty much says “Thanks for installing, that’ll be $99.95, thanks” is not sharing, it’s using people to sell digital copies of a game.

    • Microsoft’s earliest entries into computing were founded on “people are sharing OUR stuff. Stop doing that”

      • I actually think I escalated at the correct speed.

        If developers have no control over the DRM or re-sell value when publishing to consoles, it’s going to hurt the reputation of Microsoft Gaming.

        Putting these restrictions not only limits what people can buy/afford, but will also hurt the gaming industry. Businesses such as EB games, and to a lesser extent, independent stores.

        At this point I see no point in purchasing a Microsoft console.

        • Go to the ps4!!!

          Oh and any time is a good time for an Anchorman reference drop 😀

          • If the PS4 doesnt require the disc to play games, they will have to do the same thing to make any money, 1 kid buys game, takes to school, 30 of his friends get the game for free

          • If people really don’t want to have to get up to change games, but still want the option to sell or give their copy away, then a better solution would have been to give the original owner a one time use code to install the game, then they can put the disc away. Every so often the console should ask for verification that the game hasn’t changed hands or lost, and that verification is that the owner puts the disc in the drive, console sees the disc, then continues playing. A time frame like once a month would be ok.

            If you sell or give the game away, then the second hand own can still install the game, but they need to have the disc in the console everytime they play, like today on the 360.

            The original owner will be locked out after a month, but can play again when the disc is back in the console. As for rented games, then this clearly is like a second hand game.

            With all that said, I probably will find it annoying to have to verify my copy every month. Just like changing my password at work.

          • You are a smelly pirate hooker. Why don’t you go back to your home on Whore Island?

        • “If developers have no control over the DRM or re-sell value when publishing to consoles it’s going to hurt the reputation of Microsoft Gaming.”

          Developers having control over resale???? Um I thought the current issue was that developers were getting screwed on used games because the currently had no control of resale. If MS brings this in house then there is a possibility that some of that resale cash may actually go back to the original developers… Not saying I agree in full but IF that happens, it’s good for the dev teams.

          I don’t disagree with you in full, but implying that developers currently have any control over resale is incorrect.

          • Yeah it was dumb of me to make that comment.

            Even then, would the developer warrant a second sale?

            Since Microsoft reclaimed and reissued the key, they’d have to skim something off the top.
            It is their DRM, after all.

            It’ll be interesting to see how much the developers actually get when a key is re-issued.
            Also if there will be a choice in what type of key you get.

            Regardless, a totally online trading system would cut retail out, and that’s bad news.

        • Devs deserve my money if I buy new or used. Im fine with this system. Go steam.

    • Fine, get out. I will, too.

      But don’t pirate. It doesn’t hurt Microsoft much at all. It really hurts game creators, though.

      • I dont intent to actually pirate, i just wont be buying the one, will just buy everything for another system

  • If I have multiple consoles in my house will I be required to purchase the game multiple times? If this isn’t the case then having my gamertag on my friends machine (which i do now) should mean I can install my games on my friends machine and he should be able to play it fine.

    Microsoft could be implementing a system similar to apples, where there is a limit on how many machines your gamertag can be on, and any game associated with your account can be played fine through that number of machines.

    That would pretty much eliminate any problems with sharing games with my friends for me.

    • If they let you “authorise” 2 consoles for your gamer tag this would work for me too but but I think the limit is 1 console activated now though (may be wrong).
      I had 2 360s a little while back and from memory the 2nd unit i had in my kids room would only play DL games if my gamer tag was connected to XBL which means I couldn’t log onto the other console at the same time.

      • I don’t see that as too much of a problem. At the moment we don’t own a game. We own the license to use their software. If I pay for a one use at a time license, I should be entitled to use it at any time in any place, but only in one place at a time.

        Much like how Steam will let you log in anywhere and install your entire library on every computer in the world if you like. The only limitation is that you can’t play it in two places at once.

    • I imagine that it would be similar to how their in-built DRM works for Xbox Live purchases currently; when content is purchased on a particular console, both the user account that purchased it and that console will have the rights to the content (meaning that other accounts will be able to use that content on that particular console). If the user account that purchased the content is then used on another console, that account will be able to download and use that content on the second console, but other accounts on said console won’t be able to do either.

      While this may or may not be relevant for the Xbox One, technically you can transfer the console rights to content to another console using a transfer cable with the 360. However, it is a straight transfer, not a duplication, and the old console does not continue to hold the rights (although the account that purchased the content will keep its rights regardless).

  • Bwahahaha this is the biggest fail I have ever seen. I was reserving judgement until I saw the details for this. Day one not buy coming from someone who has owned both consoles from day dot.

    eb/gamestop just found a valid reason not to stock this lol

  • Welcome to PC gaming. Suck it up console princesses. I own consoles and PC and I have no issues with this new direction. I don’t buy used and I don’t trade either.

    • The whole point of console gaming is that it isn’t PC gaming. It’s meant to be easy.

      If they’re going to bring in all the terrible parts of PC gaming people might as well buy a PC, at least then they can customise their hardware and get cheaper games with better graphics.

      • You do realise that both vendor’s new hardware is pretty much PC centric in its design. Developers have been singing with joy about this move. The real question that you should be asking yourself now is why aren’t you playing on PC instead of locking yourself into hardware that’s already 18 months or so behind current standards and will also be potentially stuck with (with no upgrade path) for another 6-7 years.

        • I am playing on PC 🙂 I ordered a new videocard on Monday!

          The innards of consoles isn’t the point. The point is that it’s meant to be a box that sits under the TV, people buy a game, stick it in and play the thing with a minimum of fuss. That simpleness has been taken away now, that advantage for consoles is no longer there.

        • Plus the fact you’re about to pay for a console that’s more expensive than a high end gaming pc… and games that are more expensive than their STEAM counterparts.

          • True and correct. My only hope for my console brothers and sisters is that they start to see some parity with software pricing in light of this console DRM. That old chestnut about piracy pumping up console software prices should go the way of the dodo now. I doubt it though…

          • do we know prices yet? maybe games will be as cheap as they are on PC now?

          • Talk of $118 being the new price point on the interwebs. Make of that what you will…

    • I think the key differentiator is price. I don’t mind not being able to trade in PC game because they are a lot cheaper. I have the same thoughts with the games provided to PS+ subscribers.

  • That’s interesting about trading your games online. That might actually be some forward thinking, assuming it’s made worthwhile. I wonder if it’s like some sort of official code swapping/gifting or maybe you trade the code back to Xbox for credit? Either way it’s unfortunate they neglected to touch on that today, it’s actually an interesting prospect, whether it’s favourable to consumers or not.

  • so what are you actually buying, seems like you buy a useless copy of a game then have to activate it for full price, how much do you pay for the disc? $5?

    • Yeah, the price of buying a secondhand disc would have to be ridiculously cheap.

      I can imagine it now
      “Hey man, I just bought Forza 5 for 50 bucks secondhand”.
      “cool, let’s put it in and try it out.
      *Puts disc in*
      Game installs and a window pops up
      “this game is not linked to your profile, please enter an activation code, or purchase one for $80”

  • Actually interested in seeing how they’ll manage this sale approach. Would be nice to force Steam to copy!

    • Yeah, console people can winge about it all they want (which I can understand why they’re doing so), but they’ve still got it better than PC gamers.

  • Are you guys kidding? This is great news. Microsoft will give us PERMISSION to play the games that we pay for and own for AS LONG AS WE LIKE!!!!

    • I was pretty disappointed with the whole announcement. But when you put it like THAT… you know what? You’ve convinced me! I’m now officially pumped for this!

    • Or until the next console comes out, which also isn’t backwards compatible.

  • But what if you want to bring a game disc to a friend’s house and play there? You’ll have to pay a fee — and not just some sort of activation fee, but the actual price of that game — in order to use a game’s code on a friend’s account
    Or you could just sign into your own account? I thought they were making that easier to do.
    Has Sony said how they’re handling used games yet?

      • From the article:
        Here’s how the system works: when you buy an Xbox One game, you’ll get a unique code that you enter when you install that game. You’ll have to connect to the Internet in order to authorise that code, and the code can only be used once. Once you use it, that game will then be linked to your Xbox Live account

        • yes but, also from the article
          ‘Other users on the console will be able to play that game as well, Harrison said. So you don’t need to buy multiple games per family. “With the built-in parental controls of the system it is shared amog the users of the device,” he said.’

          • Yes, but it’s still going to be tied to your account, unlike what Nintendo does which is tying it to the console only.
            If you take the game to a friends place you should be able to play it if you sign into your account, like the way XBLA games work currently.

          • That’s exactly how XBLA DRM works on current X360. It’s tied to the console and your account. All accounts on the console can access it, and your account can access it on another console.

          • I had an old account, linked to a console that RROD, I then got a new console and new profile, when I tried to play my old games on old profile they reverted back to trials, I had to re-register that old profile on the new console, you can only do that every 6months or so, seems weird that they work at a friends house but not on the console I owned at home.

          • I don’t know whether it’s still there, but for a long time MS had a thing on their website where you could transfer all your purchases off one system to another system. You had to re-download some stuff though. Used to be when they did the RRoD repair they would set it up so that it had the exact same keys as your old system so the DRM wouldn’t be affected.

            Personally I’ve owned four separate X360 units – a launch system, which RRODed and was repaired, and then I transferred to a Slim when they came out. I’ve transferred all my XBLA stuff along each time and still have it all. I also had my profile on a memory card – this was back when this was useful, because ‘recovering’ your profile on one platform disabled your info from the other systems – and used that to swap between my main 360 and a secondary Japanese-region system that I used for playing some stuff we never got in English and some cheaper Asia releases.

    • yeah, basically insert disc and play… publishers will have the option of online passes though thats totally up to them…. then again, EA just canned them…

  • Sucks because my brother and I buy lots of games, but still swap them with each other all the time. Playing a borrowed Assassin’s Creed III now, next up is Darksiders 2.

    Neither here nor there about the used thing. Most of my bargain purchases are because they’re old, not because they’re used. You’ll still be able to get big games for $30-50 if you wait 6 months.

    Awesome because I like having the ability to play any of my games without leaving the disc in the drive. Though it would be nice if they improve the game browsing UI.

  • Check out major Nelson’s site. As long as you are logged into your profile you can play anywhere. This could have been a deal breaker because I usually get 2 consoles. One for lounge room and one for games room. They are following similar scheme to steam

  • I guess now we know why EA canned the online pass now. I wonder if they’ll keep them for PS4?

    • I think this probably means that PS4 games will work the same way. EA doesn’t need their own system anymore, hence why they dumped it.

  • Looks like Sony is getting my money – from the Articles here – This console is shaping up to by a terrible thing to own.

  • Just take your xbox to your friends house. What a pain but we did this back in the day of massive Halo nights with the first Xbox so i dont mind if this stops my friends from paying for a game they want to try or only play once (like fifa)

  • But logging into your XBL profile will therefore allow full use of that game at a mates house.. so it’s no different from XBLA today right? not saying it’s ideal, but if you wanted to do that with an XBLA game you’d have the same issues.?

  • ok. what that didnt touch on is that if i take my game to a friends house and i log on with MY xbox live account can i play the game. this is how xbla works right now, i dont see how this is any different.
    so a friend borrowing a game is affected but going to a friends place to play is not.

  • I might be wrong in asking, but would this be similar to Steam, where the game is linked only to your account, and you simply can install/play that game on any computer via your account?

    They mention something about being able to share the game across family members/other users of the same device, so that suggests something about locking the copy of the game not just to your Xbox Live Account but also to the Xbox itself.

    But can’t you just add your profile to someone else’s Xbox? Or can’t you add yourself as a “family member” to someone else’s Xbox? Not sure if MS would be careful in making it such that each person can only own/play on ONE Xbox and be a part of ONE family at a time.

  • This is how I see the new console generation, especially in regards to this new piece of hardware.

    I go to EB and buy a game for XB1. I have just purchased a normal installation disc with a CD Key. (Welcome to PC Gaming.)

    I install the game on my XB1 and connect to the internet to verify my CD Key and associate the purchase to my account. (Welcome to PC Gaming.)

    The disc I previously spend a probably absurd amount of money on (~$110.00) now isn’t worth all that much. The CD Key associated to it can’t be used again so unless I buy a new CD Key, I can’t trade or resell the product by trading or selling the disc. I can however give it to a friend to install on their machine if they buy a CD Key. (Welcome to PC Gaming.)

    However, there’s a twist. I can now “trade and sell” the games on the XB1 Marketplace (probably, or Windows Store). MS will undoubtedly take a cut from any game I sell to a second party (essentially getting paid again for my resale). (Welcome to PC Gaming.)

    You might as well just get a good PC.

  • What happens if my console breaks down, is upgraded to a new model or stolen? Do I have to pay for all my games again?

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