We still don't know much about the PS4 release date, outside of the Holiday 2013 launch window revealed back in February. However, the future of the second-hand games market is looking increasingly grim as yet another notable game developer jumps on the anti-used game bandwagon following the console manufacturer's near-abandonment of the used game "cause".
While a number of game developers and publishers have long been vocal in their opposition to the second-hand market, console creators have long served as the protectors of consumers' basic right to do whatever they please with their purchases. Unfortunately, Sony's stance on the topic seems to have changed, with numerous reports suggesting the next PlayStation won't support used games.
Sony initially declared the used game speculation had all been false, and the console would support used games after all. That quickly changed though, with several Sony executives saying that a decision hadn't been made, and an announcement would come prior to the PS4 release date.
Sony even tried to pass the blame by suggesting the PlayStation 4 would support used games by default, but acknowledged that developers have/will be given the tools to block used games from functioning on the next PlayStation. Since that initial flurry of PS4 information, Sony executives have been pretty quiet, and it remains unclear whether we'll hear anything else about used games on the PlayStation 4 prior to the PS4 release date announcement.
Now, Bethesda's Pete Hines is jumping into the mix. It seems that Hines, one of the minds behind Fallout and The Elder Scrolls, doesn't agree with the basic premise that you own the things you purchase. During a recent sit-down with Destructoid, Hines confirmed that Bethesda doesn't have many positive things to say about the second-hand games market, and seems bewildered that paid DLC isn't appeasing gamers.
"We have tried to mitigate it by creating games that offer replayability, by supporting them with DLC that's worth hanging onto the game for, or offering tools that let them take things further," Hines told Destructoid, adding, "Games are not cheap to buy because they're expensive to make...I'm not sure anyone has figured out a solution that works for everyone, and there simply may not be one until someone figures out how to include developers and publishers in the loop on used games sales instead of keeping it all for themselves."
It would seem, for all of the gaming industry's posturing about wanting to be treated as an equal to Hollywood (or other forms of art/entertainment), game developers and publishers still want a sizeable exception carved out of their supporters' wallets. Whereas there is little debate anymore over the fact that the owner of a book or DVD is fully within their right to resell that item, game developers seem to be of the impression that they are entitled to some portion of the income if/when you sell a game that you are no longer interested in playing. And from the next person who sells it. And the next. And the next.
You get the point.
While the vast majority of us would agree that the notion is silly at best, deserving of some unprintable language and/or a boycott at worst, it seems that game developers and publishers have finally made believers out of Microsoft and Sony. So now the question is, if the Xbox 720 and PS4 ship without used game support, how many gamers will refuse to purchase next-generation hardware in response?
Personally, I'm holding out until Pete Hines & Co. have the decency to pay back royalties to all of the companies that provided their physical media (i.e. DVDs/Blu-Rays), computers, cover art, and any other supplies used in the creation of Bethesda's many classic games.
After all, if we follow Hines' reasoning, then I imagine that there are a few other companies entitled to quite a bit of the income from various Bethesda games. I don't know about you guys, but I don't recall seeing many photos of physical media factory workers or PC assemblers going home to do their best Scrooge McDuck impression in a giant pile of money.
Will you still purchase an Xbox 720 and/or PlayStation 4 if the consoles do not support used games? Will you make the jump to PC gaming? Just going to stick with your current console(s)?
Let us know in the comments section!