Rumors of the next generation locking out used games

by: John -
The big uproar in the gaming community today is Kotaku's post on some rumored information of the next PlayStation console. The big ticket item is the rumor that the console will lock the disc to a single PlayStation 4 and used discs will only feature a trial like game forcing consumers to pay for a fully unlocked experience.

The rumors for Sony weren't the first console to thought of having some sort of feature to cripple used games. Stories of the next Xbox feature that as well, while Nintendo hasn't said anything about the used game market for the Wii U.

First off, let me say I don't agree with this if this is indeed true. We've lived with used games forever dating back to when I would scrape up some money to buy an Atari 2600 cartridge from someone. Even the PC side of things had used games for a bit even though they had some copy protection features such as dongle that came with the package that needed to be plugged into a joystick port for the game to run. But I feel that if a consumer wants to buy a used game, they have every right to.

In fact, I know of many instances where someone purchased a used game and went on to purchase the sequel as new because they enjoyed it so much. It might not have happened if they didn't play a used one beforehand. Demos can only do so much and sometimes the demos don't really convey the entirety of the experience.

To hear folks saying this is the death of console gaming and such seems a little bit far fetched. Reactions are going to be strong, no doubt about it, but I think this is far from the end. You don't have to look far to see that without a used game market, you can still thrive.

PC gaming has done without a used game market for a very long time. Ever since games required serial numbers or some online component in order to play, every game needed to be purchased as a new item. It hasn't done too shabby, and you can see publishers these days coming back to releasing PC ports where before they would not even consider shelling out the money to produce one.

The biggies for PC gaming are anything produced by Blizzard really, but there are plenty of others as well. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a big seller and you still have plenty of folks playing all things Valve.

What's nice about the PC market is that the prices on the games can fall pretty quickly to very affordable levels. It doesn't take too long, even for best selling AAA titles, to hit the $40 or even $30 range.

Yes, you sometimes need a great machine to get the full experience, but even middle to lower spec'd machines can handle some of the titles these days with some great graphics. You don't need the latest and greatest video card to enjoy some of the current hottest games, not like it used to be. So the cost of gaming on the PC has come down to a point where it's actually not a strain on the wallet.

But I digress. If the used market is taken out of the equation, you can still have a successful console and not be a death sentence. It would be really bad for business, in my view, but not enough to take it down to the video game crash in the 80s. I really hope that the rumors of the two consoles locking out used games is untrue, but even if it does happen, gaming on the console will go on.

They do have the portable gaming crowd nipping at their heels though in the likes of iPhone, iPad, and Android users so Microsoft and Sony should take caution in trying to change up the landscape too much, less they lose more and more folks to that area.

Now, before we get worked up over this, let's wait until we get official word. Nothing is concrete yet, but I hope the companies are seeing the reaction to these sorts of news and act accordingly. Calm down, relax, enjoy what you have, and let's wait and see this out.

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