Raising kids is expensive. VERY expensive. The average cost of raising a child in the UK is £218,000. With that money you could buy a Ferrari 458 Italia and not have to deal with early years of dirty nappies, shoulder vomit and sleepless nights. A Ferrari 458 will not wilfully ignore you and scrawl crayon pictures of humorous stick figures on the living room wall. Neither will it paint it’s bedroom black and tell you it hates you. It might kill you when it bursts into flames or throws you off a bend in a country lane, but you will still have owned a Ferrari. Kids are cash sinks and one of the most expensive hobbies they can have is Gaming.
Which is why I was shocked to hear the rumours that the new XBox 720 will have an in built system to prevent the playing of second hand games. In the current financial crisis second hand games are a parent’s best friend. They allow us to keep pocket money low while still enabling us encourage our kids to save theirs up for a few weeks to buy that game they so desperately want. A brand new title, in all it’s shrink wrapped glory would takes months for them to save up for. MahdPup, on the proviso he completes his chores, get’s £5 a week. It’s his decision what he spends that on. If he wants a new game on Steam or a new game for the Playstation he knows he can pull his weight at home and in a couple of weeks it will be his. I doubt he could keep up saving if he was going to have to fork out £39.99 every time he wanted a new game. That’s 2 months of saving, and he’s 11. It’s a lot to ask. New games remain the thing of Birthdays and Xmas, but thanks to second hand games he can still build his library without too much pain.
I can understand why developers may want to limit second hand sales. After all they only make money the first time a game is sold, which explains why prices of brand new titles are so high. But I’m sure even they can see that those kids shelling out pocket money on second hand games may fall in love with a series and, with the amount of time gamers usually have to wait between instalments of popular franchises, eventually these kids will have the buying power to purchase those must have titles brand new in the future. Second hand games aren’t killing developers and publishers, if anything they are helping to build a fan base from those who can’t initially afford to buy those games at full price. In addition most of the games available in the second hand marketplace have been traded in against the cost of new titles. The gamers get a discount and the retailers make up the cost to the publishers whilst expanding their stock of titles that can be sold on at 100% profit to them. Everyone wins. So why attack the second hand game market? Who really has the most to lose?
Look at who is behind the XBox 720 and the answer is plain as day. Microsoft. These guys have the most to lose. Every game on their platform has to pay a license per unit. EVERY game. Apart from the ones that Microsoft themselves make, and remember software is their bigot source of revenue, everyone making games for the XBox has to pay MS their dues. However, when it comes to the second hand market, those units have already paid their ounce of flesh. Microsoft receive nothing, nada, zip, zilch from second hand game sales. So it is in their shareholders best interests that low priced, second hand titles are nipped in the bud. After all, we wouldn’t want financially stretched kids and their parents impacting on the yearly dividends just by trying to save a quid or two, now would we?
Damn right we would. I really couldn’t give two shits about impacting their revenue stream. Sure I won’t pirate a game to save some cash, that can really hurt the developers and without the developers we don’t have the games. But Microsoft can kiss my broke arse. On both cheeks, with tongues! As a Playstation owner this really isn’t going to affect me much, unless Sony decides to follow suit I’m sure those guys aren’t dumb enough to even consider blocking used games an option, but I know a lot of other parents who already invested in the 360 for their kids so the 720 will be the next console they purchase. With the rising costs of living as it is, these parents will be in for a nasty financial shock if MS do go ahead with this plan.
In this Dad’s opinion, if Microsoft go ahead and block the use of second hand games on the Xbox 720, then the Playstation 4 has already won the next generation console war before it even begins.
I would love to know your opinions on this rumour. Let me know in the comments!