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RUMOUR: Xbox 720 Games "Will Ship With Activation Codes"

Matt Gardner
Activation codes, Always-on internet, Draconian measures, DRM, Microsoft, MILK US!!!, Nextbox, Pre-owned games, Xbox, Xbox 720

RUMOUR: Xbox 720 Games "Will Ship With Activation Codes"

"Will have no value beyond the initial user"

It's rumour time, folks. That means dust off your berets of scepticism and grab some large swathes of salt. We've got some large dollops of source-based speculation coming in that point towards the next Xbox's games shipping with activation codes that will render any purchased games useless "beyond the initial user".

Hilariously, the report also suggests that Microsoft will fully capitulate when it comes to physical media, and start shipping their games on 50GB Blu-Ray discs.

According to EDGE, who we'd hope have verified their unnamed "sources with first-hand experience of Microsoft’s next generation console", "Microsoft’s next console will require an Internet connection in order to function, ruling out a second-hand game market for the platform".

Strike 1? Hooray for idiotic draconian rules instead of positive incentives!

But wait, there's more. The rumour-spotted report also states that "although the next Xbox will be absolutely committed to online functionality, games will still be made available to purchase in physical form". However, they'll allegedly "ship with activation codes, and will have no value beyond the initial user".

Strike 2? Don't expect to take your copy of anything over to mate's house for some cheeky funtimes.

Further on in the report, EDGE's sources suggest that "Studios working with the next-gen Xbox are currently being forced to work with only approved development libraries, while Sony is encouraging coders to get closer to the metal of its box. Furthermore, the operating system overhead of Microsoft’s next console is more oppressive than Sony’s equivalent."

Stri...of course, this is all unverified rumblings that make the rumour mill such a creaky beast. But it does rather sound like the sort of move Microsoft might make, and goes hand in hand with a number of previous reports on the matter.

Needless to say, we haven't stopped laughing. But only because there'd be rivers of tears otherwise. More interestingly, how will the EU rulings on digital reselling play into things? The EU's ruling on pre-owned game sales is as follows:

An author of software cannot oppose the resale of his 'used' licences allowing the use of his programs downloaded from the internet.

It makes the rumour a little suspect, perhaps, but it'll come down to MS' terms and conditions. Microsoft vs. The Court of Justice of the European Union...now that's a battle we'd like to see.

If true, would it affect your purchase? Xbox LIVE die-hards, would you jump ship if Microsoft attempt to restrict your consumer rights in this manner?

Add a comment8 comments
Steveport  Feb. 6, 2013 at 15:55

As Microsoft Exclusive games do NOT need any activation code to play online I doubt this would be true at all.

Strange how Sony's PS3 exclusives have ALL required an activation code (online Pass) for a long time and yet the "Rumor" has evolved around the xbox and not the PS3 which would be far more likely.

BigBertram  Feb. 6, 2013 at 16:00

The fact that the rumours are saying its online only mean that this wont come to anything. What happens when your ISP messes up and you have no internet for a few days? What happens when you want to go to your mates and take your game with you? I for one wouldn't even consider looking at the console if it restricts me in that way. Ford don't stop you from selling your car when you have finished with it. Same for anything else really. Music gets sold on. Dvds and Cds. Like i say this will come to nothing and if it goes ahead then MS and Sony if they do it to will lose a lot of money.

Late  Feb. 6, 2013 at 16:39

Would I jump ship if it were possible to re-sell PS games but not MS games? Depends...
Certainly it'd be a factor in my choice of console for the next generation. I don't have much brand loyalty.
Raises a lot of questions:
Would new game prices on the two consoles be comparable, or would the virtual elimination of the second hand market affect new game prices?
Would activation codes be available? I imagine you'd be able to buy them from MS if you bought a second hand game.
If you replaced your console (due to hardware failure, upgrading to a "slim" or "limited edn", or whatever other reason) would you still be able to play your games?
If your account were hacked/compromised and you had to make a new gamertag could you still play your games?
Could more than one account/gamertag play the game on the same console?

That's just my initial thoughts, specifically to how a game shipping with activation codes would affect console buying choice - and of course ignores other major factors in that decision (e.g. price and power of console, exclusive games, controller, etc.).

It's all moot, though. Not only is it all based on a rumour - it's all based on a rumour that I reckon is pretty unlikely to pan out...

MattGardner  Feb. 6, 2013 at 16:43

If it is true, and that's a rather big IF, it might mean tethering purchases to an account rather than a console, which I feel would be more acceptable - this already happens with digital media after all. Microsoft already restrict your ability to play XBLA games if you're not connected to the internet.

But it's a short term fix for a long term problem. If you want to stamp out used-games, the only way to really do so is to provide a better, more competitive service that appeals to our wallets and our laziness. Convenience and cost are the two primary consumer concerns.

Korma  Feb. 6, 2013 at 16:45

With all that in place there'd be nothing left to stop people buying a 'steam box' instead and facing the same thing but with cheaper/more varied games.

JonLester  Feb. 6, 2013 at 16:53

Don't know if this could be true, at least, it's rife with potential problems. There's still a sizeable (if dwindling) global market who can't or won't connect their console to a stable internet connection. EU law now gives us the right to resell both retail AND digital games, and the first legal actions are starting to emerge. As Korma said, the PC suddenly becomes an even more viable alternative to console gaming, and hilariously, the Wii U would instantly have a massive unique selling point.

This does sound like something Ballmer would do, but I'll remain sceptical for the time being.

Last edited by JonLester, Feb. 6, 2013 at 16:56
Breadster  Feb. 6, 2013 at 17:10

It's looking increasingly likely that I'll finally be giving consoles a miss and just upgrading my PC instead. Sad times, but I won't believe any of this stuff until it's confirmed.

Blackcatzuk  Feb. 7, 2013 at 07:04

Would certainly change my mind, would either move exclusively to PS3 or back to a PC.

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