Jameson Durall has been in the games industry for a while. Currently Design Director on "Secret Project Y" at Volition, he's previously had stints at Electronic Arts and Oddworld Inhabitants, and he's fed up of developers not getting the money they deserve thanks to the pre-owned games market. Speaking in a recent blog post about the possibilities of the next generation of consoles, he touched upon the rumour that Microsoft's new console wouldn't be able to play used games, and stated that he felt it would be fantastic for developers.
"There’s another big rumor about the next Xbox console that could really start to shake things up," said Durall, "it won’t play used games at all! Personally I think this would be a fantastic change for our business and even though the consumers would be up in arms about it at first…they will grow to understand why and that it won’t kill them."
Durall suggested we're halfway there already, with DLC and online passes already providing a code-oriented model that could be used to tie games to gamer profiles and console accounts.
"The system is already there for Microsoft," he continued, "all they’d have to do is use the DLC and codes model they have to tie a game to your Xbox live account. Each retail disc would likely need that unique key somewhere in the code so the account would be able to link it properly. Ideally it would tie a full version to the console it is registered on so family members can play even if the main account isn’t signed in, but this is exactly how their model works now anyway."
Durall is a fan of the rental model, mind, so he stressed it would be important to consider all factors, suggesting that Microsoft might do well to implement their own rental service
"It does have it’s faults that would have to ironed out…like game rental. I’m a fan of rental companies because they have to buy copies of the game to be able to rent them out and if someone likes the game, there is a chance they would purchase it for themselves. I could see Microsoft implementing their own rental service which would maybe give them a code that activates the game for X days and they are charged a small amount. This could work when you borrow the disc from someone or even with digital download of the full version. It would also send a percentage of the rental to the Developer with each rental…likely improving the overall revenue we would receive from it."
There's a lack of sympathy form Durall towards retailers when it comes to this, and he suggested that they were doing fine before used games became such a staple of their business, going a step further to say that pre-owned pushes clearly show a lack of consideration for game developers and asking why therefore he should feel bad for trying to get back some of the money from them for something he helped create.
The pre-owned debacle rages ever onwards, it would seem, and more and more it seems increasingly like consumers are caught in the middle of a pissing match between retailers and developers when it comes to this, which isn't good for anyone. [AltDev]