What Microsoft's used game strategy should be for Xbox and Windows
First I'm going to state what it shouldn't be:
- It shouldn't be some sort of always online DRM
- It shouldn't block used games
- It shouldn't hurt people that buy used games
So MS, you want in on the used game market and publishers are probably also indicating they would like for you to help make it happen some way or another. Okay understood.
Here's how that is safely done without hurting consumers:
Improve your online/digital market
To be honest, yes we know the world isn't quite ready for digital only but many parts of the world are. As evidenced by the success of mobile games and Steam some people are more than ready to go "digital". You just have to provide people with enough incentives to make it worth the transition.
Just offering digital copies is not enough though, you have to get people to see "value" in going digital only. Here are a few things you should do:
- Digital games should be cheaper than physical ones (for obvious reasons).
- You are MS, you are already renting movies out you should RENT GAMES OUT AS WELL.
- Allow folks to download and play a game before purchasing (an hour or 2 into playing, a pop-up comes up and asks "Do you like it? Buy now for $45".
- Offer folks the ability to sell their used digital game (THIS IS HUGE!). You could set it up where you (MS) buy back the license or you can set it up where gamers sell to each other through your online market.
Some of those things are DAUNTING tasks and could prove very complicated to implement. I realize it may be too late to ship some of these features with the new Xbox later this year but these are things you should have in mind for future updates down the line.
I can tell you that if a system such as the one I spoke of was implemented I would go "digital" without feeling any regret. I would rent games I knew I wont be using after beating them and buy the games I plan on using for quite some time.
I realize that this method doesn't let you completely take over the used game market but 5 years from now as more and more people open up to digital media you could be the leader in this category if you play your cards right.
Remember MS, your customers come first. At the end of the day us gamers want you to "shut up and take our money" BUT IT HAS TO BE WORTH IT.