With yesterday’s news of Microsoft reversing their DRM policies for the Xbox One, gamers everywhere celebrated that they saved both their used games and the ability to play offline. But they weren’t the only ones celebrating; you better believe the CEOs of GameStop and GameFly were just as ecstatic.
Gamestop welcomes today's announcement from Microsoft about changes in functionality for its next-generation console, the Xbox One," GameStop told Polygon following the announcement. "This is great news for gamers and we applaud Microsoft for understanding consumers and the importance of the pre-owned market.
Of course GameStop thinks it’s great. GameStop’s still able to sell Xbox One games used in the same manner it did with the Xbox 360. That means that when someone is all finished with Ryse after one week, the company will be able to take in the game for about $30, half of what the customer paid for it, and resell it for $54.99. Or perhaps after a month of Madden playtime, GameStop will take it in for $20 and still resell it for $54.99. That is, of course, if you have the Xbox One or PS4 editions of Madden NFL 25; I’d be shocked if you got more than $15 for the Xbox 360 or PS3 editions by then.
Let’s see what GameFly had to say about the matter:
I always felt good about the future of GameFly, but I feel better today," said Sean Spector, GameFly co-founder and SVP, told Joystiq.com following the announcement. "Today is a win/win for consumers, as well as GameFly. I think choice is always important and now consumers have more choice. And I give [Microsoft] credit for listening to their consumers.
At least they’re acknowledging that it’s also a win for their company, seeing as they’d be in gigantic trouble otherwise. To the consumers, GameFly is a much nicer service compared to the trade-in/used games service at GameStop. Being able to stock a bunch of titles in your queue and keeping them as long as you’d like for one flat rate is incredibly nice. But the people who make the games don’t share the consumers’ joy. Just like the sales of used games, the people who worked hard on, say, BioShock Infinite or The Last of Us won’t see any profits from all of those rented games. Granted, these probably aren’t great examples, as both titles have already sold millions of copies. How about Tomb Raider as an example, then? I wonder how many people went, “Eh, I’ve been burned by that franchise before. I’ll just rent it or buy it used so I don’t waste all of my money.” Perhaps some people took a look at Remember Me, an original game with a minority lead character, and went, “Eh, I’ll give it a rental just to see what the game is like.”
If you’re a consumer, Microsoft undoubtedly did the right thing. It’ll be nice five years down the road to pick up a copy. But if you think you’re the only person happy with yesterday’s news, then you’re in denial. While we as the consumers may think we’re the big winner from the removal of DRM on Xbox One games, we’re not. It’s the CEOs of the big game and electronic stores that are. So next time when a game store employee pesters you about buying a game used, remember that he might not be doing it for your benefit.