A new generation of video games is on the horizon. Nintendo has already released the Wii U, Sony announced the Playstation 4 (everything but the console itself), and now, Microsoft has taken the veil off the Xbox One.
Or did they? There’s a lot of uncertainty.
Sure the console and controller were revealed, but questions remain. How will we be able to play used games on this thing? Is there a fee to trade in games on top of the purchase price? Is that fee equal to the price of the game? Can we still loan our games to friends? All the conflicting reports caused Xbox Live Program Director Larry Hyrb to release a statement yesterday:
The ability to trade in and resell games is important to gamers and to Xbox. Xbox One is designed to support the trade in and resale of games. Reports about our policies for trade in and resale are inaccurate and incomplete. We will disclose more information in the near future.
Most reports though are quotes from actual Microsoft representatives. It is not only the reports that are incomplete, but Microsoft’s policies as well. We have seen this before. Remember when Playstation 3 was revealed? It had a boomerang controller and could support dual HDMI output for two displays. Those ideas were eventually scrapped in the final product. Even more absurd were rumors before the Playstation 2 launched. Many believed and reported that the processor could be used to launch missiles. That was thirteen years ago.
Console developers have to find a way to get a development kit into the hands of game makers as early before launch as possible. There are bound to be leaks somewhere, but a new console cannot launch without games to play. Since game consoles are at least a five year investment (going on eight this generation), console makers have to carefully plan what is going into the final build before release. That means things are not set in stone.
Only time will tell what changes will come. Game retailers taking a full cut on the sale of a used game, with no proceeds going to the developer, is something that needs to change. It is evident that Microsoft and Sony want to do that, but how remains uncertain. The idea floating out there of charging a gamer fees equal to the full retail price to trade a game just sounds silly. Constricting the ability to borrow one copy of a game from a friend is equally silly. Expect a middle ground that makes everyone happy.
Let’s wait until these consoles are in the hands of gamers. That is where the final judgment should be made. Trying to wrap your head around all the reports and misinformation out there does not work in your benefit. After all, one thing that never gets reported until after launch is the amount of bugs these consoles will have. Hopefully, we can avoid a “Red Ring of Death” this time around.
Remember kids, it’s all fun and games until it hits the fan (or the console crashes).Follow Ray Atkinson on Twitter. @FilthyRay