Currently there are a lot of articles warning about the fact that Microsoft may build their next console in such a way that it rejects used games. I understand where the game industry is coming from – for them, used games can be seen as a form of piracy. People are trading games left and right and they don’t see any of the profits! Still this article title says it all in my opinion – Dear Microsoft, Don’t Kill Off Used Games. Many people have taken a consumer rights stance – is Microsoft legally allowed to prevent people from playing used games? Probably.
But I want to argue to save used games from a cultural perspective. Used games support the development of video game franchises.
Without past renditions of cult classics like Legend of Zelda or Fable still in circulation through used game markets, the next generation of players won’t have access to favorites that older gamers love and that keep them hooked. People who were not enamored with these games most likely weren’t willing to dish out the 20+ dollars to try an older game they weren’t sure they were going to like. They either borrowed the game from a friend or stumbled upon an inexpensive used copy. I’ve stumbled upon many amazing games from just browsing through my local game store that have opened the door on publishers I had never heard of before.
My suggestion? Become a part of the used game process rather than trying to destroy it. Although I’m an avid Final Fantasy fan, I didn’t actually have a chance to play the game that put it on the map, FFVII, until a couple of years ago. I would have never had a chance to play it if a friend hadn’t stumbled upon a used copy. Considering that there are few people who still want to play a Playstation game, it would have been unfeasible if Square was actually still producing it (before the ease of game downloads really took off). It would have been a piece of game history that I would have missed.
So Microsoft, other console makers, and game developers – if you can’t beat them, join them. Gamers don’t intentionally deprive developers of profits by going to used game stores. I would go to a SonyStop or Bethesda Games store, if they existed. Opportunity is calling. I hope they don’t ignore it.