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Another new Xbox rumour! Now it runs Blu-ray, blocks used games. And here's why that's 50% bull

You know the drill by now. Unconfirmed sources, might well be a load of old bollocks, but we might as well trot it all out for your perusal and consideration so that we can all speculate on how it might all turn out. Because even if though we'll forget all of the untrue rumours the second the real machine is announced, at least we'll have filled half an hour on an otherwise uneventful Thursday morning, right? 

New Xbox rumour of the day? The next-gen Xbox 720 (or whatever MS decides to call it) will have a Blu-ray drive (sensible), will launch Kinect 2 (probable, but unappealing), and block the playing of used games (and Dave did duck below his desk, for a torrent of flame did burst across the horizon like tumultulous flatulence of a meat-hungry dragon).

Above: They do look good together...

So, analysis and speculation time? Oh go on then. Blu-ray, surely, is mandatory at this stage. Forget the argument about DVDs not being big enough for modern games. This isn't even about that. Despite Microsoft's bitching and moaning, and the delaying tactic of pretending to launch HD-DVD as a competitor while it worked on getting all of its Xbox Live video streaming tech and service provider deals off the ground (because let's face it, HD-DVD was probably only ever really a decoy), Blu-ray is a new mainstream media format and the world is picking it up in droves. Angling the new Xbox towards being a media centre and not giving it a Blu-ray drive out of petty rivalry is akin to a supermarket refusing to stock bread, milk and cheese because the shop down the road also sells them. 

Kinect 2? Yeah, probably. Though if the idea of Kinect being integrated into the 720 is correct, it'll have to be ready for launch. No-one's going to want to upgrade their whole machine for a new peripheral. And even if a separate device, to release an upgraded Kinect (current word is that it will contain the accuracy-boosting onboard processor that the original unit lost during development) part-way through the new Xbox's lifespan would split the market and make things hard for developers.


Above: However it works out, we'll be getting a whole lot more of this

Blocking used games? I'm not sure how this would techically work (probably an Online Pass type system built into the console as standard, requiring a box-bundled code to even boot the game. Or maybe some on-disc code that binds to your Xbox Live account upon first load), but it's likely to kick up one hell of a stink between gamers, publishers and retail.

Big publishers will love having a console which gives them anti-trade-in functionality as standard across the board. Brick-and-mortar will hate the attack on their second-hand business (the biggest money-spinner for any high street games vendor), probably leading to some serious platform-holder/retailer friction. Remember when EB Games Australia boycotted Capcom's Resident Evil: Mercenaries due to the perceived attack on used game sales made by its lack of rewritable save files?). And if the system does follow the online pass model, and passes can be bought as vouchers at retail, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see shops selling the required codes off far cheaper than RRP in order to maintain their used sales. Or even bundling them free with used games.

Above: Artist's impression

And at this point the whole technical execution of the system falls apart. You see there's no way that MS or third-party publishers would allow retail to do that. So the passes would have to be bought and activated online, through Xbox Live, or UPlay or whatever. And that would block offline console gamers from playing used games at all. And that would send gamers fleeing from Microsoft and into the loving arms of Sony. Because while Sony now has a policy of installing an Online Pass system into all of its first-party games, it only affects online play, meaning that if your machine isn't internet-enabled, the system doesn't cause you to miss out on anything you weren't already missing. 

Even if the new Xbox used some kind of randomised, on-disc code to bond a disc to an Xbox Live account, with game discs (presumably) not rewritable, the only way to determine whether a particular disc had been used before would be through - yes - checking of an online register. So unless MS  is planning on using some manner of crazy new, high-falutin sci-fi system I've never before dreamed off, this rumour is probably dead in the water.

And let's face it, the hackers would see it in the same way that an already-angry bull sees a red flag emblazoned with "Hey, you're a knob-head, bull".

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43 comments

  • NullG7 - January 27, 2012 9:28 p.m.

    Still Think Xbox 720 is the worst name ever. Makes me think of a tony hawk failure. MICROSOFT IF YOU CAN HEAR ME PLEASE DONT NAME THE NEW XBOX XBOX 720. I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE IT CALLED THE XBOX NEXT!!! IF YOU AGREE FELLOW COMMENT GOERS RE POST THIS!!!
  • NYCJapaneseTeacher - January 27, 2012 12:23 p.m.

    Sony, how did you get one of your operatives so deep into the corporate headquarters of Microsoft?! Very smooth :)
  • nai1210 - January 27, 2012 4:41 a.m.

    The day game's go download only without a physical product in my hand,is the day i stop gaming,can't see it happening though with game's,movies,or even music.
  • ItBurnsWhenIWii - January 27, 2012 12:06 a.m.

    Ant rumors on first party games in development for this new box? As a gamer I am really not liking this new direction Microsoft has been going in.
  • super0sonic - January 26, 2012 9:38 p.m.

    About the Blu Ray thing. Yes that makes the "MOST" sense. But then Microsoft has not really been hurting with the lack of blu-ray in there system now. So i would not be surprised if there is no Blu-ray and they just use HD-DVD or a spin off of the tech. It could still read DVD's it would hold more Data then DVD's and as it is not a common format anymore it will inhibit piracy. Also don't be surprised if the used games rumour is true. there are many ways both on and off line to prevent used game sales and no used games has been a fact of life for PC games for years. Also don't expect people to really care about the loss of used games. A lot of people today are use to getting there media online with no way to trade it in or buy used already. Every game sold on PSN, Xbox Live, and Nintendo eshop are already one user only.
  • Ravenbom - January 26, 2012 9:29 p.m.

    How the hell would they tell the difference between two siblings sharing a game on different profiles? I think that MS will probably offer a cheaper system without a Bluray player, downloads only, like Steam (which has proven how profitable DLing only services can be) which also battles the secondhand market and shoves Gamestop one more step into obsolescence. Honestly, if it weren't for being a media system, the next gen consoles would be DL only because that cuts out Gamestop.
  • winner2 - January 26, 2012 7:59 p.m.

    "and Dave did duck below his desk, for a torrent of flame did burst across the horizon like tumultulous flatulence of a meat-hungry dragon" Lol, I can see it. Humor aside, I'm not sure what to think. Some people bring up valid points on the movement toward digital distribution, but the rumor still just sounds really far fetched to me at this point.
  • paul-rayner - January 26, 2012 5:15 p.m.

    sorry 2 inform people of this fact, but the games, consoles ect r still property of Microsoft. so nxt time u get a console or a game, just think yr shelling out how ever much to "lend it on a permanent basis" it from them. it says so in all games and on the box the xbox comes in and the packaging too. it says on the packaging inside the xbox box "thank u for purchasing this console, it still remains the property of mircosoft including all software, hardware cables ect"
  • roryking1981 - January 27, 2012 7:01 p.m.

    To bad the us supreme court said that's illegal. When you buy a product you own it and can do as you please with it. (Including hack it) The only thing they can regulate are services such as live and psn.
  • Spybreak8 - January 26, 2012 4:46 p.m.

    I can't say no when Gamefly has their end of the year crazy good prices used game sales. Sometimes I might even go with the B2G1 free deal with Gamestop but I try not to give those greedy aholes my money. Probably though, 75 to 80%, my collection is mostly new games that have been purchased at ass kicking deal prices or rarely pre-ordered (damn you Amazon for being awesome).
  • captiandog - January 26, 2012 4:36 p.m.

    More than half of my xbox games are used.
  • matt_bristol - January 26, 2012 3:15 p.m.

    I can't see how a code actually on the disc will work. It effectively means pressing a different version of the game on each disc which will slow the process down and raise the cost.
  • purple_omlet - January 26, 2012 2:38 p.m.

    Online passes and day 1 dlc are making me want to switch to PC gaming all together.
  • Travia220 - January 26, 2012 1:19 p.m.

    It would work fine. So tell me David, are all these B&M Retailers going to ban every single game released then? They might as well file for bankruptcy or diversify their business to continue to survive. B&M Retailers will not sacrifice part of their business because console manufacturers decide they want to enforce CDKey Checks or whatever they decide to do. PC Games survive fine this way. Gamestop isn't changing their business model from Games to a more diverse setup with Games+Apple Products. They didn't buy Impulse because they wanted. They know Physical copies are going to die off, they know their used game market is going to die off. Whether developers kill it off with CDKey Checks or Digital Distribution taking over.. in the end GameStops business will fall apart and they are prepping for the future.
  • EwoksTasteLikeChicken - January 26, 2012 1:12 p.m.

    Normally I'm fine with online passes. However, the one that made me really mad was the one that came with Batman Arkham City. To play as Catwoman, you need a $10 code? That's not even the biggest problem I have with it, it's that you need to play online for a completely single player game. I have LIVE, but have many friends that don't have internet, and so couldn't type in their code, and couldn't play as Catwoman. Pretty bullshit.
  • JayQ - January 26, 2012 1:06 p.m.

    I think it's 100% bull, I think it would be more likely for Microsoft to come up with their own format than use Blu-Ray which Sony owns part of. Also the used game thing is just nonsense, that would mean no more Gamefly or Redbox and that's just not gonna happen.
  • amagasakiseb - January 26, 2012 11:15 a.m.

    Not sure how it would work economically (I'm not an insider or anything), but in the near future I expect games to be totally digital and the used game market could be phased out by lowering the prices (say from £40 to £20) with firms knowing that without used games they would be guaranteed that money from basically everybody who buys their games. People seem to love steam but I don't like paying a still premium price for something that I can't "take back" if I don't like it. Also, piracy could be done away with if a system like Steam was universal for all games. I don't recall many people (if any) managing to break through steam in a mainstream fashion so it looks pretty watertight. However, I suppose that if Steam became a big player then they would demand a bigger of chunk of revenue which would then drive up the price of games once again. Another issue, though, might be that people may see it as strange to have to buy a physical piece of hardware when there's no media to physically insert. Advocates of steam who NEVER buy physical copies will disagree but I can't see there being that many people who fall into that category just yet. Basically I totally disagree with the idea of games going digital as we should always have the option to re-sell, trade or dispose of the game in any way we see fit (because it is supposed to be our property). I think this has been done away with significantly already as we have to keep agreeing to these EULA which seem to take away the ownership from us more and more.
  • HereComesTheHypeTrainCHOOCHOO - January 26, 2012 11:03 a.m.

    Great article Mr. Houghton, someone give this guy a raise. I rarely buy used games or sell them but I don't like where the industry has been going for these past few years. Crowbarring anti-class action lawsuits into EULAs, spying on users habits as they play under the guise of collecting data for publishers and their third party partners (third party partner=ANYONE who will pay them for your information). If you don't like retailers making high margins on used game sales then don't allow yourself to get fleeced by them but the fact is that many, many consumers do find it beneficial. I can't believe that some of you are so happy to be seeing yet another potential attack on our consumer rights by the gaming industry in their all-consuming quest for higher profits.
  • ThisIsMyFuckingThirdAccount - January 26, 2012 10:49 a.m.

    Except that Sony owns Blu-Ray.
  • wicko - January 26, 2012 10:56 a.m.

    Except they don't: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blu-ray_Disc_Association

Showing 1-20 of 43 comments

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