There's a lot of confusion surrounding the ability to play pre-owned games on next-gen consoles, particularly since yesterday's unveiling of the Xbox One. The confusion began yesterday when it was reported that the Xbox One would require mandatory installs and that games would be tied to an account, unplayable on other machines unless you paid a fee to unlock it. The latter half was clarified later on — you can play a game using your own account on any machine, but you can't share that game with others unless they are signed into your account or playing it on the same system.
Major Nelson attempted to further explain, writing on his blog that the Xbox One has been designed to "enable our customers to trade in and resell games at retail." Even with that "clarification," there's still plenty of cause for concern. So GameStop president Tony Bartel has offered some reassurance to consumers, that next-gen games will still be bought and sold on the pre-owned market. In fact, he didn't seem too worked up about the whole issue.
"Both Sony and Microsoft have said games can be resold and that's exactly what we anticipated," he told Forbes. "It's a recognized way to make these games more affordable. All three new platforms understand that.
"As people upgraded to PS3 they traded in their old systems and libraries, which is why Sony made the move to not support backwards compatibility with later iterations of PS3. That's why the 'buy, sell, trade' model works well. It enables people to purchase new games by trading in their old ones. We expect to see the same thing with this transition for PS4 and Xbox One. Trade-ins allow for a seamless transition."
Perhaps its comforting to Bartel that just 30% of GameStop's $1 billion market sales come from pre-owned games, a nice bit of information that came as a shock to me. The remaining 70% is comprised of new game sales. I guess blocking used games won't be as big of a blow to the retail giant as many had originally expected. Unfortunately, if the Xbox One doesn't allow for pre-owned games to be played, it will be a blow to my wallet.