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1:00 PM on 07.04.2013

Sony had 'no intention' of changing its used games policy

Speaking to the Guardian about Sony's same-old used games policy for the PlayStation 4, Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Andrew House says that feedback from gamers demanding the current system remain in place was "not just, i...

Jordan Devore



Are you happy with the changes to Xbox One? photo
Are you happy with the changes to Xbox One?
by Conrad Zimmerman

Now that Microsoft has reversed their stance on initiatives restricting used game sales and more potent digital rights management for the Xbox One, has your bloodlust been sated? Does Microsoft still have work to do in convincing you of the value of their console, or has the vice grip been loosened on your wallet?

Answer The Question for yourself in the comments!

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Jimquisition: Why PC Gaming Gets Away With It photo
Jimquisition: Why PC Gaming Gets Away With It
by Jim Sterling

The Xbox One no longer enforces restrictions on used games, but the debate over console DRM is not over. One lingering question is this -- why are consoles criticized, but PC gets away with it?

One would assume the plentiful answers are obvious, but your old pal Sterling was so inundated with arguments dragging PC gaming into the discussion, he just had to answer. Enjoy this selection of reasons why PC gaming is allowed to abandon the used market, and consoles aren't.

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An industry that needs Xbox One DRM is a failed industry photo
An industry that needs Xbox One DRM is a failed industry
by Jim Sterling

It looks like we're going to do this dance again. So soon. In the wake of Microsoft reversing its Xbox One DRM policies, brave corporate warrior Cliff Bleszinski wasted little time in telling us how this would be a bad thing for the industry and gamers. Make no mistake -- he's not the only one. Disconcertingly, his views are echoed by angry press members and naive customers alike.

"More studios WILL close and you’ll see more PC and mobile games," warned Bleszinski, preparing us from the grim darkness of the 21st Century. "... Brace yourselves. More tacked on multiplayer and DLC are coming. You’re also about to see available microtransactions skyrocket. HATS FOR EVERYONE."

Bleszinski is joined by Gizmodo in his portents of despair and misery. Claiming that "we" all made the Xbox One worse as a result of our complaints, writer Kyle Wagner used no evidence to claim Microsoft's DRM would definitely have been great for everybody, and would lead to a world of cheaper games. Because the game industry has demonstrated many times that, when it has a monopoly, consumers benefit. Except, y'know, not. 

It takes a lot of naivety to trust so willingly in Microsoft, a company that's done absolutely nothing to earn our trust. It takes even more to believe that an industry so dependent on heavy-handed consumer control deserves to survive. Frankly, any industry that suffers due to the reversal of ONE console's DRM policies is an industry that deserves to suffer. 

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Jimquisition: Xbox One No DRM Emergency Special photo
Jimquisition: Xbox One No DRM Emergency Special
by Jim Sterling

Xbox One Eighty more like HA HA HA HA HA!

Jimquisition rushes to bring a half-baked opinion in the afterfall of Microsoft reversing its DRM policy on Xbox One.

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11:30 PM on 06.17.2013

Avalanche founder on trade-ins: Games are too short

There are multiple good reasons for trading in a game once you have had enough, but in the eyes of Avalanche Studios founder Christofer Sundberg, length is the determining factor -- titles "have been too short,...

Jordan Devore



Jimquisition: PS4 - Doing Nothing, Meaning Everything photo
Jimquisition: PS4 - Doing Nothing, Meaning Everything
by Jim Sterling

Sony created a magic moment this past week at E3, declaring for the world that PS4 would not restrict used games or utilize DRM. Power to the people!

Of course, it can be said Sony didn't actually do anything, yet is being lauded as a hero. Does the PlayStation 4 deserve special kudos for maintaining the status quo? Jimquisition thinks so ... kind of. In this case, doing nothing means everything.

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12:46 PM on 06.13.2013

EA says Online Passes weren't worth the PR damage

Shortly before the reveal of Xbox One, Electronic Arts finally announced it was scrapping its dreadful Online Pass system, due to "listening to the public." While the Xbox One's DRM-fueled strategy renders the Online Pass obs...

Jim Sterling

1:53 PM on 06.11.2013

Did Sony confirm DRM on PS4 after all? Not quite!

[Update: Sony has outright confirmed my initial interpretation. As reported by GameFront, Sony has stated that Tretton's use of the term "DRM" referred only to playing used games online. Essentially, they're talking about let...

Jim Sterling

9:55 PM on 06.10.2013

Sony details EXACTLY how to share games on PS4

Riding high off its announcement that the PlayStation 4 will have no DRM, no anti-used game policy, and will support game ownership, Sony has released a video detailing its incredibly deep and nuanced system for sharing physical copies of games.  This, right here, is the great video of E3 so far. Bar none.  Oh my GOD, is this stuff glorious.  Xbox Owned. 

Jim Sterling



PlayStation 4 won't restrict used games or use DRM photo
PlayStation 4 won't restrict used games or use DRM
by Joshua Derocher

Sony confirmed that they won't be putting any restrictions on used games. They stated that they believe people have the right to do what they want with the games they buy. Gamers will be able to sell, trade, lend, and rent video games as much as they want.

You also won't have to be online to play games, there won't be a check every 24 hours, there is no DRM built into the system, and an internet connection won't be required to use the system. 

Way to go Sony! They really stuck it to Microsoft with this one.

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6:36 PM on 06.10.2013

Microsoft's Mattrick tries to ease Xbox One concerns

Following this morning's eventful Microsoft conference, Microsoft president of interactive entertainment, Don Mattrick, stepped to the side to speak with BBC News on all things Xbox One. He tried to calm our nerves regarding ...

Tony Ponce



Jimquisition: Xbox One and the Death of Ownership photo
Jimquisition: Xbox One and the Death of Ownership
by Jim Sterling

Well, Microsoft went and did it. It took the step publishers have fantasized over for years, and destroyed the concept of videogame ownership.

The Xbox One will sell you games, but it keeps what it sells, while controlling and overseeing your actions. You're bagged, tagged, and possessed. You're owned and you're observed. Meanwhile, the false target of its actions will laugh it up with Microsoft, and the end user gets what it always gets -- shafted.

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Xbox One kills game ownership, here's what Xbox fans say photo
Xbox One kills game ownership, here's what Xbox fans say
by Jim Sterling

Microsoft finally clarified much of its policy on used games and online restrictions with the Xbox One, and the news is grim for those who actually believe in consumer rights. With its new system, Microsoft will take the final step in stripping gamers of their property ownership, and control every moment of their experience. 

Making you check in every 24 hours like a groveling lapdog, restricting your ability to lend and rent games, and effectively pursuing the industry dream of keeping goods long after they've been sold, the Xbox One is a corporation's fantasy machine that flips off the common end user. 

The Xbox brand's most vocal fans, those posting on Major Nelson's blog, were among the first to react to the news, and even among such die-hards, the reactions weren't pleasant. Gamers from all sides seem furious at Microsoft's publisher-friendly, consumer-kicking policies, with only a scant few gathering the nerve to defend them. 

Here's what folks have been saying. 

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Xbox One games require online verification every 24 hours photo
Xbox One games require online verification every 24 hours
by Jordan Devore

Spread across multiple blog posts, Microsoft has finally clarified some of its policies regarding online connection requirements and trading in used games. Describing the system as being "designed from the ground up to be ready and connected," the company confirms that users will need to check in to "verify if system, application or game updates are needed and to see if you have acquired new games, or resold, traded in, or given your game to a friend":

"With Xbox One you can game offline for up to 24 hours on your primary console, or one hour if you are logged on to a separate console accessing your library. Offline gaming is not possible after these prescribed times until you re-establish a connection, but you can still watch live TV and enjoy Blu-ray and DVD movies," reads the official explanation.

Another post describes licensing: "After signing in and installing, you can play any of your games from any Xbox One because a digital copy of your game is stored on your console and in the cloud. So, for example, while you are logged in at your friend’s house, you can play your games." Up to ten family members "can log in and play from your shared games library."

On the used games front, Microsoft says it's up to publishers. (Great...) "Xbox One is designed so game publishers can enable you to give your disc-based games to your friends. There are no fees charged as part of these transfers. There are two requirements: you can only give them to people who have been on your friends list for at least 30 days and each game can only be given once."

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Using SCIENCE to learn the effects of killing used games photo
Using SCIENCE to learn the effects of killing used games
by Tony Ponce

With all this hubbub over used games and whether eliminating them would be good or bad for the overall industry, it was only a matter of time before SCIENCE was brought in to drop some truth bombs. Professors Masakazu Ishihara (New York University Leonard N. Stern School of Business) and Andrew Ching (University of Toronto Rotman School of Management) have closely studied the Japanese gaming market, where pre-owned business is much more significant than it is in the US, and shared their findings in a paper published on December 15, 2012.

Their verdict? Not quite what you'd expect.

Ishihara and Ching found that, all else remaining equal, eliminating the used market would result in a 10% drop in publishers' profits per game. However, if average retail prices for software were to drop by a third across the board -- $40 down from $60 -- publishers could actually see a 19% rise in profits. Of course, the profit increase scenario would only work if publishers agree to a reduced MSRP, the likelihood of which is up for debate.

Ishihara and Ching's study demonstrates that there are many factors involved in used game sales and purchases. Consumers assign value to their individual software purchases, and some of that value is derived from their ability to resell it down the road. Reduced retail prices could feasibly counterbalance the loss of resales.

No matter how you look at it, this is a far more complex situation than anyone could have imagined.

Dynamic Demand for New and Used Durable Goods without Physical Depreciation: The Case of Japanese Video Games [Social Science Research Network via Wired] (Thanks, M Gross!)

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