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There's been a lot of discussion these last few weeks about how next gen consoles might have security checks in place that make it impossible to play a game on more than one console. By the way different publishers and company executives are talking, it just might become a reality. But I'm here to say it can't. At least, if the company wants to survive this generation, it can't. Anyone who attempts to block the sales of used games or the ability to play their games on multiple consoles will not last long for a number of reasons that I'm about to explain below. Before we begin, let's discuss what we've heard so far from the front lines of the next generation. On the Xbox side of things we've had Ian Livingstone from Eidos mentioning that the next Xbox could have always online DRM and no used game blocks on their discs. This is to be taken with a grain of salt due to it not coming directly from Microsoft, but we'll see. On the Sony side of things, its all still a bit muddled. They've said its an important issue and that they'll do the right thing, but they've also said it won't block used games and it'll be up to the different publishers if they wanted to block them or not. I'm worried that they don't have a straight answer, but hopefully that means they just don't know yet. Now onto why having no used games would be disastrous for anyone who thinks they can get away with it. We'll start with the retail side of things. You might not want to admit it, but Gamestop is a pretty big deal. It's the main place where all the kids buy their Call of Dutys and Pac-Mans, and it is also a business that exists thanks to used sales. If Sony and Microsoft cut out any of the places that make their money off of used sales, they're also cutting off their most used retail markets. When you see a midnight sale for Call of Duty - it isn't at a Walmart; it's at Gamestop. And those Gamestops are practically everywhere. Cutting them out of the deal would be like studios cutting out DVD sales and exclusively dealing in Blu-ray. Sure, they don't have to deal with an older dying technology, but now they're missing out on the millions they would have made if they had just accepted that people still use DVDs. Gamestop is the DVD in this situation. If you get rid of Gamestop, you might be getting rid of used games, but you're also getting rid of the place where most casual gamers get their games. While not a death blow for the console giants, it would take a cut out of their oh-so-important casual market. But odds are if just one console does do away with used sales, Gamestop won't die. They'll just stop stocking that system's games or severely cut down on its stock of them. Look at the PC section in your Gamestop (assuming it even has a PC section). They don't get used sales from PC games, so they just don't stock them. Imagine what kind of damage could be dealt if the PS4 shelf was just as small as the PC shelf at launch. To be fair, what I just described is more or less the doomsday scenario, and rather unlikely to happen. That doesn't mean it can't happen, but I would be surprised if things really got that bad next generation. What is more likely to happen, however, is a death by their own consumer. While losing the casual support of Gamestop would be a pretty bad deal, losing the support of the more hardcore crowd would be even worse. We've seen it before. Companies have used stupid practices to make it harder to pirate their games, only to see sales drop because actual customers were the only ones being negatively effected by the hurdles beings placed in front of all of their games. To make things worse, if only one console blocks used games or things end up being on a company to company basis, then those locked games will be on the shelves alongside games that won't lock you out. Which one are you more likely to give your money to? The one that makes things harder for you, or the one that you're free to play on any console? People will just stop buying the games that can't be played on multiple consoles. Why should they be locked while others aren't? The answer is they shouldn't be locked in the first place. If you lock your disc then you're locking out your consumers. You lock out your consumers and they'll stop buying your games. They stop buying your games and you die. The end.
Jared posted a article in Analysis & OpinionsAs I'm sure every gamer on Earth is aware of, we recently saw the public unveiling of the Playstation 4 in the last month. But really, what information did we actually learn? We had a confirmation of the system's specs, we saw a lot of social media stuff, and a rough estimate of the system's release date. I'll admit Infamous: Second Son was a pretty big surprise, but everything else was pretty small beans considering Sony was announcing the next generation of Playstation. We got some pictures of the controller and some small studio games, and that was pretty much it. But I think there's a real reason for this, and I'm going to explain it below. The battle for the next gen is just beginning. First and foremost, let's start with the obvious. Microsoft has absolutely no choice but to show off their console now. There's no way they can go all the way to E3 without having to deal with the fact that people are going to be seeing next generation multiplatform titles over the next few months with no mention of their new console, thanks to it still being under wraps. There's also the problem of people being unable to keep a secret in the gaming business. Already in the weeks since the Playstation 4 announcement, we've heard details leak about the next Xbox from different developers working behind closed doors. If Microsoft waits too long, their console secrets will be announced without them able to control it. But here is where the problem lies. It can take months of work to get a full presentation together to show to the world. This is evidenced by the rumors that Microsoft won't be holding a conference till at least April. Odds are they were already working on a conference before the Sony announcement, but being forced to put it so close to E3 might end up biting them in a few month's time. While I could be wrong, I see Microsoft wanting to make a bigger impact than Sony did at their reveal conference. This means bigger games being name-dropped, more gameplay presentations, and it definitely means they'll be showing the actual console to the people watching as a dig at Sony for not revealing what the actual PS4 looks like. But then what? They've got two months to prepare for E3 and they've just given away some of their bigger reveals at their conference leading towards E3. They'll definitely have a better reveal conference than Sony did, but then they'll be going into E3 with things we've already seen. They'll have the advantage of those things still having a relatively high hype from the previous conference, but gamers watching online are a ravenous breed. We want new things, even if that means ignoring the cool things we've already seen. While I'm certain Microsoft will still have a few big reveals set aside for E3, like the Xbox's price and a big game trailer, I can't help but feel Sony is planning something big as well. Again, really look at what Sony revealed at their conference: social media, indie games and tech demos. We got a taste of some of their bigger offerings with Killzone: Shadow Fall and Infamous: Second Son, but there must be more information waiting to drop. Just look at how Square Enix made an announcement about making a future announcement regarding a Final Fantasy title. They clearly have heavy hitters waiting in the wings. A screenshot of The Witness, a timed exclusive on PS4 Sony had a rather small reveal for their next console. It was still enough to get people excited, but it wasn't the full picture we need to get a real feel for their console. I think Microsoft would be wise to follow the same route as Sony for their conference seeing as they know exactly how much they need to show to do just as well as Sony did, but you have to remember this is a war between companies. They'll want to do a bigger reveal so they can say they had a better conference, but they'll just end up handing E3 over to Sony and Nintendo, and they just can't do that. Of course, I could be wrong and Microsoft might just go the same route as Sony by just giving a taste for what is in store for E3, but I don't see that happening. Whatever does happen, however, should be exciting no matter what, and I can't wait to see what all three of the console giants have prepared for us. As always, thank you for reading.