With the next-generation Xbox One announced today, it wasn’t too soon after the conference finished that word spread the entire internet — both on social media and respected game sites as confirmed news — that the console would be restricting second-hand games by only allowing one install and charging a fee for the game to be installed on another account. This was terrible news as it severely affected the second-hand game market (something which all retail game stores depend on for profit) and would even charge you to borrow a game from a friend.
However, whereas this had been confirmed as true by various reputable publications, Xbox are now being vague regarding the Xbox One’s stance on second-hand games, something which is regarded by many (including myself) as a make-or-break point for the console. I asked the Xbox support team via Twitter on the matter and this was their response:
As this is apparently the exact same default response the company have been giving to publications looking for clarification, after responding that the reply was rather vague and evaded the question whether second-hand games held restrictions, the support again responded:
The vagueness is somewhat irritating as many gamer’s view on the console completely depends on what its stance will be. Though the same support account has clarified to people that there will be no fee for friends that borrow your game, it’s not particularly certain if there will be any fee or restrictions for purchasing second-hand games.
There have been suggestions that whereas the Xbox One doesn’t care how you obtained the game, there may still be a need to pay for the license for the game. The editor of the Official Xbox Magazine claims that purchasing and installing a second-hand game would uninstall it from the previous owner’s account; this would make sense as otherwise the original owner and the new one would both keep the game installed on their console (as all Xbox One games are installed to the hard drive), making it more-or-less the same as the system is currently. But would this also mean if a friend borrows your game that it gets uninstalled on your system?
Again, it’s all just too vague and it’s too big of an issue for Microsoft to wait months to address. It’s an issue they’d best address before E3 because if they don’t many of us won’t even be interested in their E3 conference.