The internet rumor mill is at it again, perpetuating absurd and unfounded speculation concerning the next generation of video game consoles. It’s always the same story; some vague and dubious “source,” close to the project, said “blah-be-da-blah-blah-blah.”
Two of the most popular rumors right now, which have gamers up in arms, are how the new consoles by Sony and Microsoft won’t support used games, and will require an “always-on” internet connection.
Well, let’s tackle the latter first.
I am from Southern Illinois, which like the majority of the country, is comprised primarily of areas that would be considered “in the middle of nowhere.” The other day, while on a trip to my father’s house (who lives out in the “sticks”), something dawned on me – none of the people in this area have broadband.
In fact, in 2010 a government survey revealed that 40 percent of United States residents don’t have broadband, and 30 percent have no internet access at all.
One of my close friends lives right outside of Marion, Il, a city with a population of 17,000 residents – making it the 25th most populated city in Illinois – and only has access to 3G WAN running at a whopping 1.5mbps. If he lived a mile or two closer to town, he would have better access, but he,like many people, simply doesn’t have that option.
Do people honestly believe that Sony and Microsoft would alienate this entire demographic by requiring an always-on internet connection to play games? That is a rhetorical question. The answer is “no.”
The idea that Sony and Microsoft will prohibit the use of used games on their consoles seems equally as ludicrous, albeit slightly more plausible.
The elimination of the used game market poses some serious issues.
Let’s start with the price point of a new game, which is roughly $60. People are generally willing to pay that much for a blockbuster title that is expected to provide a high-quality experience – but people are less willing to “roll the dice” on an iffy title at that price point.
You could always wait an undeterminable amount of time for the price to drop on a new title, but if it’s a title that isn’t selling well anyway, who is to say that it won’t get nixed altogether? Then what?
What if it is a good title that just doesn’t see much circulation? I just became aware of the Atlus title Radiant Historia last year, after it had already ceased circulation. None of the local retailers carried it, so my only option was to find a copy online. Had new copies been tethered to a single user, I would have been up the proverbial “shit creek” without a paddle.
What if I want to go over to a friend’s house to play a new game I just bought? Will his console see it as a used game, and prohibit us from playing it?
“But Wigriff, you might be able to sign into your PSN account and play it.”
Well, what if my friend is one of the 40 percent of Americans without broadband?
What happens if my console dies? Do I potentially face the prospect of not being able to play the games I bought on my own console? Even if they tie my key to my online account, am I to take it on faith that the system will be infallible? What if I personally no longer have access to the internet? What then?
Branding a new game to a single entity simply poses too many problems. If I pay money for a game, and I have the physical media in my hand, I should be able to do whatever the hell I want with it, as long as I stay within the bounds of the law.
Sony and Microsoft don’t always make the best decisions, but I can’t see them ostracizing so many people by implementing the aforementioned features. It just doesn’t seem logical. I wouldn’t worry too much though; it’s likely that all of these “sources” that are continuously quoted as making these claims are apocryphal.
This has been an opinion piece,
and everyone is entitled to my opinion.