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Xbox One game sales and used game policies: What we know

Published May 22nd, 2013 10:05AM EDT
Xbox One Used Games

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Sony might not have revealed its console hardware during the PlayStation 4 unveiling, but at least we walked away with a pretty good idea of how buying and selling games would work. Microsoft finally took the wraps off of its next-generation Xbox One video game console on Tuesday and many people were left with more questions than answers. The gameplay demos we saw during the presentation looked fantastic, but how exactly does buying and reselling those wonderful new games work?

Eurogamer on Tuesday managed to have a lengthy chat with a Microsoft PR rep in an effort to clarify Microsoft’s policies surrounding buying and selling Xbox One games. There are still plenty of open questions, but the blog managed to clear the air in a number of key areas.

First, games will be available for purchase on discs just like Xbox 360 games. The main difference is that games will not be played off the discs. Instead, they will be installed directly to the Xbox One’s 500GB hard drive, though new games can be played immediately as they install from the discs.

Once installed, games are registered and tied to a user’s Xbox Live account. They can be played only by that user and other users in his or her household. If a gamer wants to take that disc to a friend’s house and play that game on someone else’s console, he or she will have to log into Xbox Live on the other person’s console.

As the game is played on the new console, it will be installed on the hard drive and will remain installed after the game owner logs out and leaves. If the owner of that console wants to continue playing the game, he or she will be prompted to purchase it online at full retail.

“The bits are on your hard drive,” Microsoft’s Phil Harris told Eurogamer. “At the end of the play session, when I take my disc home – or even if I leave it with you – if you want to continue to play that game [on your profile] then you have to pay for it. The bits are already on your hard drive, so it’s just a question of going to our [online] store and buying the game, and then it’s instantly available to play.”

The big question mark that remains is how Microsoft will handle reselling used games. Logic dictates that once a player is done with a game, it can be unregistered from his or her Xbox Live account and then resold, but Microsoft hasn’t confirmed anything at this point.

“We will have a system where you can take that digital content and trade a previously played game at a retail store,” Harrison said. “We’re not announcing the details of that today, but we will have announced in due course.”

The potentially good news, however, is that Microsoft’s Xbox Support team seemingly slipped and confirmed that there will be no additional fees associated with buying and selling used games, contradicting earlier rumors.

Finally, as we confirmed on Tuesday, Xbox 360 games will indeed not be compatible with the new Xbox One console.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.