Concerns Grow over Future of Used Game Compatibility

Next generation gaming consoles, such as the PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720, are stirring up some controversy. Some gamers may think that pre-owned games will not be supported on these newer platforms. Though this is an ongoing rumor, GameStop has conducted some research on this topic.

On Feb. 12 to 14, GameStop’s CFO Rob Lloyd spoke at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference. 

“Consumers want the ability to play pre-owned games, they want portability in their games and they want to play physical games,” Lloyd said during the webcast. “To not have these things would be a substantial reason for them not to purchase a new console.”

According to GameStop’s research, 60 percent of gamers reported that they would not buy a new console without the support of playing pre-owned titles. The blocking of used games would be done in support of digital rights management (DRM) in order to fight copyrighting.

With DRM protection on newer games, this would mean new games need to be authorized on the consumer’s account. This protects against piracy because backup copies or pirated copies of the game would not run. Also, if a game is already registered on a console, the consumer will not be able to play it on their friends’ machine.

“I play games socially, and I want to be able to bring a game to my friend’s house,” said Matthew Crum, a Ramapo College student. “It’s ridiculous to think that I can’t play a game when I want to.”

While protection against piracy is enacted to benefit the video game market, its purposes are not always accepted.

“They are attacking the symptom of a problem, not the actual core of it,” Joe Fondaco, another student, said of DRM. “Developers are not coming out with good enough content in games, so people will resort to piracy. It’s as if the developers themselves are not confident in the quality of their game, so a demo isn’t even released.”

Plus, a lot of the games that are coming out today are either too short or have been riddled with downloadable content (DLC).

“It’s just getting to be ridiculous. We are paying money for content that should be already in the game, and now if I am unhappy with the title I purchase, I’m basically stuck with it,” said Crum.

GameStop employees could not comment on whether or not this will affect pre-owned sales. The ability to buy and sell used games can save the consumer some extra cash, and there are chances of obtaining older titles that are not sold as new.

“There are lots of games that I wouldn’t buy if I couldn’t purchase them used,” said Crum.