One of the most widely reported, and hotly debated, topics surrounding the next generation of video game consoles is the fate of used game media. Revered by consumers and reviled by some publishers, used video games are a big business that some speculate could be locked out of the next console offerings from Sony and Microsoft, rumors that have not been proven or officially commented on. However, there is news surfacing that suggests the top brass at Sony is not behind this move to block used video games. Could this at least provide some interim comfort for those who depend on the used market for getting their gaming fix?
In a recent interview on Bonus Round, industry analyst Michael Pachter spoke anecdotaly about a conversation with Sony CEO Jack Tretton, a conversation in which he reported called the move to lock out used games “anti-consumer”. He further commented that Tretton feels that the used game market benefits consumers and that blocking such media out of future consoles would be a bad move, sentiments that are no doubt echoed by many who feel spurned by high retail prices for games and pricey post-release DLC being dangled in front of them. The prospect of such a move has led to polarized reactions both from within the industry as well as the consumer base.
Patcher ended the discussion with an ambiguous comment that the Japanese branch of Sony might not share these views, alluding to the possibility that Tretton might not have the final say, or that the Japanese might be on board with the idea of locking out pre-owned game media. As soon as the next generation of the Playsation console, codenamed “Orbis”, was announced, rumors immediately began circulating about the system preventing used media from being played, with the most likely method being a reliance on one-use DLC codes. It should be noted that these rumors, including the comments supposedly made by Tretton, are not official nor should they be considered factual at that this point.
If Tretton’s comments prove true, it provides at least a sense that the company is on the side of the consumer. The used video game market is more popualr than ever, and cutting into their bottom line would be good for the publishers and developers who are supposedly losing millions because of it. However, for gamers who cannot affrd to drop $60 on the games they want, it represents an unfortunate scenario in which gaming becomes a cost-prohibitive hobby. Further light on this matter will only be shed as time passess and more is known about the next generation consoles, or if the powers that be come forward with official comments. For now, we can only wait and see.