Xbox One: How Used Games Might Work

Reports are showing up explaining how the used games market will work with Microsoft’s next home console.

Erik Norrisby Erik Norris


A new report has come out of MCV that claims to know how the used-games market will be handled with the Xbox One. The site’s source(s) are various retailers that plan to play ball with Microsoft’s handling of the second-hand market with the next iteration of their home video game console.

According to the anonymous retailers, both Microsoft and a game’s publisher will get a kickback if their games are traded in at participating retailers. Because the Xbox One links installed games to Xbox One user accounts, participating retailers will have to agree to Microsoft’s terms and conditions in order to access the console’s Azure cloud service. When a gamer trades in a Xbox One title, it will be the retailer’s job to log onto the Azure cloud system and “de-link” the game from the gamer’s Xbox One account, thus making it available as a pre-owned game that can be sold.

This report seems to clear up why the Xbox One must log online at least once every 24 hours to verify a user’s account and the games linked to it. Otherwise, people could be installing games on their system and trading them in immediately, since the Xbox One doesn’t require the game disc to play games.

What is still unknown, however, is how much gamers will have to pay as a “fee” to Microsoft for activity a second-hand game on their Xbox One account. Early reports site full MSRP ($60), and that comes directly from the horse’s mouth, Microsoft’s Vice President Phil Harrison. Although, his initial claims have been muddled in recent days with conflicting reports from within Microsoft.

Either way, Microsoft is clearly trying to have their cake and eat it too with the Xbox One. In previous generations, publishers and developers saw no kickback from used games sales; it’s nearly 100% profit for shops like GameStop. Now, if GameStop wants to continue their trade-in/resale system with the Xbox One, they need to pay out to Microsoft and game publishers.

This might be a great system for those companies, but it seems like the consumer is getting screwed over just a tad. It could turn out that buying used is actually more expensive than buying new once you factor in the initial price of a used game and add on top of that the “activation fee” to transfer ownership of a used game to a new Xbox One account.

Hopefully Microsoft clears all this up at E3 next month. Fingers crossed, because there are still way too many murky details floating around.