Retailer GameStop has warned Microsoft that any move to block the use of pre-owned software on the console would hurt the machine’s chances.
“We know the desire to purchase a next-generation console would be significantly diminished if new consoles were to prohibit playing pre-owned games, limit portability or not play new physical games,” GameStop spokesperson Matt Hodges told Bloomberg.
Of course, GameStop – like nearly any games retailer – has a vested interest in shouting down such a proposal. Stock in the chain fell after the news of a possible Xbox pre-owned block broke, and over 40 per cent of its gross profit comes from second hand games.
But its concerns are entirely legitimate.
The arguments against pre-owned are well established and, of course, perfectly valid. It robs the game’s creators of cash and helps swell the pockets of retail, without filtering down the chain.
However, will customers be as willing to invest in a machine when they know they won’t be able to trade in the games? And how many week one sales of a new title will be lost when customers are unable to offset the cost by handing over older titles?
It should be added that we don’t know if the rumours are even true. Last week’s story made plenty of noise but remains totally speculative. Note, though, that identical rumours have been doing the rounds for well over a year now.
No smoke without fire?