UPDATE1: Forbes is also reporting on this breaking story…
GameStop shares are trading sharply lower this morning on a report that the next generation of Microsoft Xbox game consoles – which are expected to debut later this year – will prevent player from installing used games. That would be a blow to the game retailer, which does a bristling business in used game software.
The gaming site Edge reports in a blog post that the next gen Xbox will require an Internet connection to function. While games will still be sold on physical Blu-ray disks, according to the report, they will require activation codes, “and will have no value beyond the initial user.”
The story provides some other specs on the new console: Edge reports that there will be new version of the Xbox Live online service, and that the box will ship with an updated version of the Kinect gesture control device. The box reportedly will run on an AMD eight-core x64 1.6GHz CPU, a D3D11.x 800MHz graphics solution and 8GB of DDR3 RAM.
In the company’s October quarter, GameStop reported that sales of used products accounted for 28% of overall sales – and more than 48% of gross profits.
GME this morning is down $1.81, or 6.8%, to $25.
MS is going full blown anti-consumer next-gen by forcing people to pay $60 to play online and, according to EDGE, forcing every console to stay online and outright destroying the used game market. Also interesting is that it looks like MS is forcing developers to their own bloated SDK instead of allowing them to use their own methods to better squeeze more power out of the console.
Microsoft’s next console will require an Internet connection in order to function, ruling out a second-hand game market for the platform. A new iteration of Xbox Live will be an integral part of Microsoft’s next console, while improved Kinect hardware will also ship alongside the unit.
Sources with first-hand experience of Microsoft’s next generation console have told us that although the next Xbox will be absolutely committed to online functionality, games will still be made available to purchase in physical form. Next Xbox games will be manufactured on 50GB-capacity Blu-ray discs, Microsoft having conceded defeat to Sony following its ill-fated backing of the HD-DVD format. It is believed that games purchased on disc will ship with activation codes, and will have no value beyond the initial user.
Our source has also confirmed that the next Xbox’s recently rumoured specs are entirely accurate. That means an AMD eight-core x64 1.6GHz CPU, a D3D11.x 800MHz graphics solution and 8GB of DDR3 RAM. As of now, the console’s hard drive capacity is said to be undecided, but Microsoft’s extended commitment to online delivery suggests that it will be the largest unit it has put inside a console to date.
Though the architectures of the next-gen Xbox and PlayStation both resemble that of PCs, several development sources have told us that Sony’s solution is preferable when it comes to leveraging power. 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, giving the PlayStation-badged unit another advantage.
Unlike Nintendo, Microsoft is continuing to invest heavily in motion-control interfaces, and a new, more reliably responsive Kinect will also ship alongside the next Xbox. Sony’s next-generation console camera system is said to have a similar set of features, and is expected to be discussed at the company’s PlayStation event on February 20.
You can read more about how Sony’s next generation console compares in last week’s story, PlayStation 4 revealed.