Could new Xbox end lending, sharing and selling of games

As technological freedom and flexibility is ever more tightly bound by corporate constraints, the next Xbox gaming console could require users to be permanently connected to the internet and in doing so – make the lending or use of second hand games a thing of the past. According to Edge Magazine at least.

Dressed up as a ‘commitment to online functionality’, users will be obliged to activate and register games to a specific console and the Xbox Live account that first activates them.

An activation system would ‘phone home’ through the internet every time you start up a game and verify on the databases that you are in fact the registered owner of the game.

This could go either way. It may be as limiting as it sounds, in which case piracy will probably triumph over buying games and sharing them about – as cracked games will doubtless find ways around the security features. The rumoured inclusion of Blu Ray compatibility could also push up the price of games and make legal gaming a drastically expensive lifestyle choice with slightly better graphics.

And yet there is an alternative model that could develop out of this ‘commitment to online functionality’. Could we see an end to physical games altogether and new business approaches like subscriptions, running ads, or even giving away the basic game free and then charging to unlock levels or certain features within it a la Farmville. This would obviously be another nail in the retail coffin, but even with the implications for second hand games where retailers can mark up more substantially than on the slim margined ‘new’ market, the high street may take a battering on this news.

The official X Box magazine suggests this might all be nonsense though.

'Take all this with a pinch of salt, as ever. From where we're sitting, walling-out pre-owned and insisting on a broadband connection would be madness - broadband penetration isn't nearly comprehensive enough to justify such a move, and 'requiring' consumers to do anything is a fine way to ensure they take their custom elsewhere,' says the magazine.

Sorry – bit of a Daily Express move to get you all nervous and indignant before dropping the fact that it’s all just a vague rumour. Oh well !

Written by Cyrus Bozorgmehr - Google+ Profile - More articles by Cyrus Bozorgmehr

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