There have been some rumors floating around saying that the next-generation Xbox console will feature anti-rental technology, meaning that the console would be able to lock out players if the system detects that the game they’re trying to play wasn’t purchased as new. So if you bought a second-hand game and tried to play it on your Xbox console, you’d be unable to play it because it was registered to the original owner of the game’s console. A system like this would kill the secondhand and rental market, spelling trouble for a number of video game retailers out there. However, GameStop isn’t worried about it.
In an investor conference call, GameStop’s CEO Paul Raines said, “We think it’s unlikely that there would be that next-gen console because the model simply hasn’t been proven to work. Remember, used video games have a residual value. Remember GameStop generates $1.2 billion of trade credits around the world with our used game model. So, consider taking used games out of that, you’d have to find new ways to sell the games…And, our partners are good partners. The console companies have great relationships with us”.
Since the next Xbox is still a long way off from entering our living rooms, it’s too early to tell what could happen. But having this anti-rental technology doesn’t seem like a very good idea. After all, if you were to play your game at a friend’s house, you’d have to bring your Xbox along. Or if your Xbox was destroyed and you bought a new one, you wouldn’t be able to play your old games either. Sounds pretty silly to me. What do you think?