Developer favors Xbox 720 used game block, tech available

By Gary Johnson - Feb 6, 2012

In recent months there have been a number of rumors surrounding the next games console from Microsoft. Recently there was talk it may be called the Xbox 8 and what processors would be powering the device. One rumor that didn’t go down to well with gamers recently was the talk that Microsoft could stop the use of pre-owned games. Now there is news that a developer favors an Xbox 720 release that blocks used games, and the tech for such a feature is already available.

The thought of any such feature understandably doesn’t go down well with gamers and retailers alike. But according to Saints Row The Third design director, Jameson Durall, the idea would be a “fantastic change” for the games industry. As VGW are reporting Durall went into detail in how Microsoft could work this feature.

Durall mentions that the technology is already available in the PC gaming world, and each game disc would need to use a unique key buried in the code so an account could link to it. This would be similar to PC games that feature unique activation keys, or the Origin service from EA that can link a title to an account but also hardware identities.

Surprisingly this technology already exists in the console gaming world via the PS3 and DC Universe Online. This was linked to a users console via a onetime use code, and something similar was used long ago on the Sega Dreamcast via Phantasy Star Online title.

Another way Microsoft could implement such an idea is to offer an internal rental system built-in to the console. Users could pay a small charge and get a special code that could activate the game for a number of days. This could provide the developer a percentage of each rental in a similar manner to how the OnLive system works.

With regards to friends lending each other their games Microsoft could use something along the lines of the Amazon Kindle books lending policy. Durall said that a game could be switched over to another Gamertag, and during this period the “original owner won’t be able to play during that time”.

This would still hurt some retailers though who rely on the extra revenues that used games brings. Retailer GameStop has already begun closing some of its stores, and UK rival GAME has already confirmed it still makes good money from the sector.

Do you think it would be commercial suicide for Microsoft to build-in such a feature in the next Xbox?

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