written by Blain Newport on Saturday, 4 February, 2012
Microsoft recently floated a rumor that the next Xbox won't allow for used games, probably to see if the threats Gamestop made to them would be ugly enough to make it a bad idea. Well, maybe Microsoft didn't float it. The internet is pretty good at making up its own rumors. But the result was the same, a lot of pontificating about the nature of used games, most of which was a waste of time.
For one thing, digital distribution doesn't allow for used games, so the point will be moot in a decade or two. For another, and I don't think I've heard nearly enough discussion about this, we've had used books, music, and movies since the things were invented, and all of those industries have done fine, at least until they ran up against the aforementioned digital distribution.
Long story short, as markets move to digital, the shrinking amount of retail dollars will be fought over more and more viciously, more and more wastefully. In the meantime, I'll be playing games (Crysis 2, for example) that I bought for $5 online.