The report came down earlier today that one of the biggest concerns on the minds of gamers across the Web
and then some out there was to be put to rest: used games would indeed be at least part of the next generation of gaming for some time to come. But what does that mean for the rest of the next generation?
Clearly, Nintendo was going to allow for used games from the very beginning. But Nintendo is having a serious problem on its hands with the Wii U
, specifically, a clear dearth of games. Nintendo is clearly working on the problem, but the big hole in the market that is Big N is still present, intentions aside. Now, with the PlayStation 4 set to offer access to used games and rental titles, that sets up the next phase of the console wars very neatly.
This leaves only one member of the next generation console market to show their hand, and that's Microsoft
. It's going to be a long shot boarding on an asteroid strike for Microsoft to throw used games out of the market now, because that's going to be a big mark against it in the wider market. Basically, for Microsoft to be able to get rid of used games right now would require it to make the Xbox such a massive value proposition that people would be willing to ignore the ability to buy used games or play rented games on their devices. Frankly, I'm not sure just what kind of value proposition Microsoft could offer--short of a crashingly low price, that is--that would make the Xbox such a value that I'd throw over the savings of used games and the convenience of rental games to get it. No, they'd have to make a very good deal indeed to get me to stick with them if they threw over rentals. Maybe if they included digital download rental capability? I'd pay Microsoft five bucks for three nights with the game of my choice. But unless they've got a plan to offer what I can already get elsewhere in house, they'd need something much better.
It's likely going to be a few months before we see just what Microsoft has up its collective sleeve, but it's in a very bad position all the same. The gauntlet has been quite clearly thrown down, and used games are here to stay for two thirds of the next generation. If Microsoft doesn't keep that other third up, it's going to lose out on a healthy chunk of business....unless it's got something much better to offer.