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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » The Next X-Box Might Not Allow Pre-owned Games

   
Author Topic: The Next X-Box Might Not Allow Pre-owned Games
Jeff C.
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Link: http://xbox360.ign.com/articles/121/1217310p1.html

IGN and several other major gaming sites have been leaking information about the next X-Box, tentatively dubbed the X-Box 720 (no one knows the real name of it yet). So far it's fairly standard flair, such as it using blurays, cloud technology, and possibly being 6x as powerful as current gen technology.

However, one rumor is making the rounds and causing a lot of commotion. According to these same sites, insiders are reporting that Microsoft is currently trying to figure out a way to limit and possibly deny the usage of pre-owned games on its new console. If this is the case, then that means huge ramifications for companies like Gamestop, Best Buy, and service companies like GameFly (which rents games through the mail, similar to Netflix's movie service). The consequences for this move will be tremendous. It will devestate several companies (Gamestop's pre-owned sales account for 70% of the company's income), while leaving many gamers with only new games to choose from (this would limit how many games a person could buy depending on their cash income, as many gamers just can't afford to buy 65 dollar games all the time).

My question is this:

Do you think this is a wise move, or will it be bad in the long run? According to the above mentioned article, there are studies that suggest that pre-owned game sales help the market and are a good thing, but do you think it is morally wrong to buy a pre-owned game, or does it even matter?

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TomDavidson
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I'd be thrilled, since it would help to destroy the console market and persuade people to pick up real games again. [Wink]
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Jeff C.
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Another good opinion piece, which is also linked to by the other article, is located here:

http://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/opinion-the-end-of-pre-owned-would-be-a-disaster-for-games/090322

That is from a UK journalist and is pretty insightful. I suggest reading it if you are interested.

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TomDavidson
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*nod* Oh, no argument. If pre-owned games become unavailable on console, the AAA games market will crash. That can only be a good thing.
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Orincoro
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Tell me, why couldn't Microsoft just corner the market on post-release games by dropping the prices on digital downloads after, say, six months? you offer the nitial release in proprietary disk, and the subsequent release at a lower price, on transferable media andor digital download. I ent see why that kills the market.
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Jeff C.
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Personally, I think this idea is horrible. For me, buying pre-owned games has always been the initial investment that I take before I fully commit to a series or a "brand", such as Halo, Final Fantasy, Mass Effect, or whatever. I'm very unlikely to invest that 65 dollars (I'm including the tax) on the risk they're asking of me. However, once I've tested the waters, I'm very likely (if I enjoyed the first game) to go out and buy the sequel when it first releases.

That's my personal reason for why I disagree with the possibility.

quote:
Tell me, why couldn't Microsoft just corner the market on post-release games by dropping the prices on digital downloads after, say, six months?
They could, potentially, but that's placing a lot of faith in them. They may just decide that they want even more money, and since they've established a monopoly on their software's prices, nobody can stop them from never doing it. Now don't get me wrong, they have every right to do whatever they choose to do. After all, they own the hardware, the software, and everything else associated with their intellectual property. However, given the fact that so many people are generally in the dark about how the industry works or whether or not this ends up happening, I'm willing to suspect that a lot of ignorant past customers will return and buy the system, wondering afterwards why they can no longer trade in their old games. After all, Microsoft isn't going to blatantly advertise this, right? It wouldn't be in their best interest to do so. It's a tricky situation and, when you really think about it, it's a little morally gray. This whole concept also goes along with the idea that once a person has received something, they will always expect it in the future. Does that justify anything? Not really. However, it does allow for some perspective on how the market and reaction might play out, and nothing about that can be good.

This will also establish a method of what happens with all future consoles that get released afterwards. The PS4 will likely follow suit, should Microsoft choose to do this. Eventually, years later, Nintendo will as well. The gaming world is keeping an eye on this for now, which makes it very important, because it just might decide how the industry operates from here on out.

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BlackBlade
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Not permitting the use of previously owned games would crush Game Stop and EB Games. I can't imagine box stores outside of Best Buy and Wal-Mart would be able to stay in business.

I don't think GS or EBG makes enough off new game sales to stay in business.

[ January 30, 2012, 07:55 PM: Message edited by: BlackBlade ]

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Mucus
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I'm not able to sell PC games on Steam, meh.
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Belle
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This doesn't stress me out too much since I only tend to buy new games...but I do occasionally rent some to try them out.

Now, I can see how it would be devastating to the companies like Gamestop...but honestly, I rarely shop there. Prices are better at WalMart or Sams and it's more convenient for me to go there since I am in and out of those places all the time. Gamestop is a separate, intentional trip for me, and it's not somewhere I normally go. I do a lot of my game shopping online as well.

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MattP
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I buy new games, but I also have three Xboxes in my house. I don't see how it would differentiate one of my kids playing on a different Xbox from a "used" copy. If they can find a way to make my situation still work, then I don't mind all that much, at least as far as direct effects. The death of the used game market may have other effects that I won't like, though.
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Jeff C.
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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
I buy new games, but I also have three Xboxes in my house. I don't see how it would differentiate one of my kids playing on a different Xbox from a "used" copy. If they can find a way to make my situation still work, then I don't mind all that much, at least as far as direct effects. The death of the used game market may have other effects that I won't like, though.

I've seen several other comments similar to this ever since the information came out. No one really has an answer yet, but most likely you wouldn't be able to play those games on the other systems. Some people are predicting that the games will be associated with an internet ID (like your gamertag), which implies that so long as you keep your new X-Box off the internet, you should be able to play those games on other X-Boxes. So, in that regard, you may not have much to worry about, unless you use multiple online accounts, of course.
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MattP
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I wouldn't mind if they could do it Kindle/Netflix-style. Let me have a number of devices registered to the same account. I could live with the requirement of an always-on internet connection to enforce one-at-a-time restrictions. But my experience is that Microsoft doesn't do a great job at accommodating users needs when the lowest common denominator provides sufficient profitability, so I expect it will be more of what you describe. Which sucks.
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T_Smith
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As a fairly large console gamer, this would significantly affect the amount of gaming I and my wife do on the Xbox.
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
I'd be thrilled, since it would help to destroy the console market and persuade people to pick up real games again. [Wink]

I know you're at least partly just being cute, but I'm curious. I game on console more often than PC because fundamentally PC gaming seems much more expensive and/or labor and expertise intensive.

It seems to me consoles provide a great alternative to people who can't afford to frequently buy new and better computers and parts, and/or don't have the knowhow to build computers from cheaper disparate parts.

At least this was my experience when I began making the transition from computer to console. Has that changed? As a PC gamer, can you easily play top titles after having spent three or four hundred bucks on a machine five or six or seven years ago?

Or do you think people like me should just suck it up for the better experience? [Razz]

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Samprimary
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For individual purchasers who are deciding between having one or the other: there is practically nothing to recommend consoles over pc, aside from a lower initial monetary investment, or being a friendlier and easier system for the technologically oblivious. And the value of that initial investment reduction continues to crawl to a more and more negligible state.

Steam deals alone (to say nothing of piracy, which people living on tight budgets should actively engage in) can offset the price difference entirely, and the permanently accessible steam library system sure is unambiguously nicer — and a safer investment — than a pile of of scratchy also-ran disks from gamestop.

Beyond even all of that, of course, PC gaming is just the unambiguously better experience available. Hey, all y'all console peasant trash, still thrilled with fumbling through menu options, sans mouse? Having fun with your unmodded Skyrim UI? Yeah.

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Jeff C.
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Samp, some people just prefer sitting in front of a TV on their couch with a controller, as opposed to a small computer screen at their desk. Granted, you could rig your PC up so it runs on your TV, but given the fact that most people aren't savvy enough with the tech to pull that off, it's understandable that they wouldn't want to be a PC gamer. Not only that, but with consoles come more variety in software choices. For example, if you enjoy Nintendo's software lineup (Mario, Zelda, etc), buying their console is your only solution since they don't make any PC games.

As far as the X-Box goes, I can see sticking with a PC since most of those games do get released on that platform. However, they also get released on the PS3, so I'd probably just buy them for that if the other system allowed for pre-owned games to be used.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
I know you're at least partly just being cute, but I'm curious. I game on console more often than PC because fundamentally PC gaming seems much more expensive and/or labor and expertise intensive.
If you buy many games, the PC will pay for itself within a year. And I'll never need to re-buy a game, since all the games I own are now on Steam, D2D and GOG (with a couple indie exceptions, whose installers I have saved). And putting $1200 into a gaming PC -- or $700 into a self-built one -- will produce a machine that will provide better graphics and access to more varied and original games (as well as a wider range of functionality) across the same lifetime -- and can actually be upgraded. (The upshot here is that AAA games not only look better on PC, but will look better and better on PC as time goes on; they also play better, as they get more frequent patches and benefit from a mod community.)

The couch thing is a non-issue, as my main PC is also my primary entertainment center and is hooked up to my television. I use wireless keyboards and mice from my couch, as well as wireless XBox controllers (when playing those games, like Bastion, which benefit from them.) This takes no actual technical expertise at all.

But, yes, if your game needs to have a Zelda or Mario sprite in it, you're probably stuck with a Nintendo. No reason to buy an Xbox or PS3, though.

That said, the above does not actually equal "diversity in software choices." If you genuinely care about diversity in software, you'll game on PC. Unless you really think that consoles are going to get the latest bit of Interactive Fiction. [Smile]

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twinky
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The Xbox has a single unified network architecture with integrated voice chat. No fiddling with router configuration for this game or that game because UPnP once again failed to work as advertised; no checking to see if everyone you want to game with has Ventrilo/Skype/TeamSpeak installed and configured (oh, and more network configuration if not!); no required 5-20GB installations for games; small patches that download and install within seconds...

...all of that translates to putting the game in the tray, sitting down, and being a couple of button presses from actual gameplay. That consistency and simplicity of experience remains unmatched on the PC side.

"The couch thing" is only a non-issue for people who can or want to do one of the following:

  • Own a PC at all. Many people have gone laptop-only.
  • Own a separate gaming PC, in addition to the laptop or desk-bound PC they use for whatever mundane desktop purposes they may have.
  • Are willing to put their only PC in their entertainment centre, and use their entertainment centre for those mundane desktop purposes -- time during which it can't be used for its nominal purpose, entertainment.
I don't want to put my gaming PC in my home theatre. There are legitimate reasons for not doing so. This "PC master race" business has gotten a bit absurd.
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TomDavidson
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It's hardly absurd; it's a simple fact. That said, yes, the fact that consoles are each a monoculture and thus able to facilitate easier voice chat over the single mechanism available for voice chat is something I'll readily concede.

(If you really want to use your laptop from your couch, BTW, a HDMI-out port is all you need.)

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Jeff C.:
Samp, some people just prefer sitting in front of a TV on their couch with a controller, as opposed to a small computer screen at their desk. Granted, you could rig your PC up so it runs on your TV, but given the fact that most people aren't savvy enough with the tech to pull that off, it's understandable that they wouldn't want to be a PC gamer.

It takes about five minutes of reading online to learn how to hook your computer to a tv. The difference is little more than initiative and one's own personal comfort with electronics. Which speaks to what I already said about consoles being the better choice for the technologically oblivious.

I've been playing skyrim on a completely-too-large television and it's pretty cool. Like most gamers, though, it's usually just a sometimes thing and monitors often become and remain the preference.

quote:
For example, if you enjoy Nintendo's software lineup (Mario, Zelda, etc), buying their console is your only solution
Speak for yourself. [Cool]
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twinky
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And run an HDMI cable across my living room floor? I think not!

Anyway.

Entry price is a huge factor. Console launch price is correlated to lifetime sales; current console price is correlated to current sales. 7-10 into a console's life, there are still sales bumps when a console's price goes from $150 to $100 (see: PS2 slim). You could buy a PS2 today, grab a fistful of great games for $50, and have countless hours of fun for less than the price of a low-end PC graphics card. No console with a launch price at or above the low end of Tom's PC scale has ever been successful. Entry price matters.

quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
As a PC gamer, can you easily play top titles after having spent three or four hundred bucks on a machine five or six or seven years ago?

No.

You could, of course, load Steam on your $300-400 Dell desktop and play $5-$10 indie and casual games, or perhaps World of Warcraft, but you'd still be missing out on the "real" games that Tom keeps talking about.

A console eliminates the need to consider system requirements. If it has your console's name on the box, then it works. Glossing over these kinds of differences only weakens the PC gamer's argument.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
I know you're at least partly just being cute, but I'm curious. I game on console more often than PC because fundamentally PC gaming seems much more expensive and/or labor and expertise intensive.
If you buy many games, the PC will pay for itself within a year. And I'll never need to re-buy a game, since all the games I own are now on Steam, D2D and GOG (with a couple indie exceptions, whose installers I have saved). And putting $1200 into a gaming PC -- or $700 into a self-built one -- will produce a machine that will provide better graphics and access to more varied and original games (as well as a wider range of functionality) across the same lifetime -- and can actually be upgraded. (The upshot here is that AAA games not only look better on PC, but will look better and better on PC as time goes on; they also play better, as they get more frequent patches and benefit from a mod community.)

I agree with everything else you said (diversity, couches, etc). But the above quoted section is still where I think we're disconnecting.

You're essentially showing the added value you get for the PC's fundamentally higher price tag. Yep!

But for someone who games casually, doesn't buy that many games, and doesn't care much about their games having the very best graphics, I'm not sure the above arguments have enough sway. When a game comes out that I want to play, I can buy it, put it in my Xbox, and play it. I don't need to check specs, I don't need to fiddle with anything, I just play the dang game and then move on.

I spent about three hundred bucks (or was it four hundred?) on my Xbox and I bought it something like six years ago. That seems like an impossibly good deal compared to PC gaming as I remember it (and as I see it in several of my buddies)

I'm not denying that PCs have a ton more interesting titles and a fundamentally better play experience, I'm just saying that for me, it seems like price and convenience trumps that. And I'm not sure that Steam deals would actually have made up for that.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by twinky:
I don't want to put my gaming PC in my home theatre. There are legitimate reasons for not doing so.

When you step back and analyze this logic, it's essentially trying to make the argument against the PC that a PC has additional functionality aside from just being plugged into a tv, and can do other stuff that offers compelling reason to not have it full-time in an entertainment center and/or to have more than one.

Ultimately not a very good defense of consoles. [Wink]

quote:
Originally posted by twinky:
This "PC master race" business has gotten a bit absurd.

The statement "The PC is the best individual gaming platform" is not absurd. That online game library services have now already reversed the financial argument from favoring consoles to favoring the PC really only drives home PC supremacy. PC's are also not in any way difficult enough to manage as a product that it would grant consoles enough ground to call themselves equally good just because they succeed at extra levels of user friendliness.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
And run an HDMI cable across my living room floor? I think not!
A friend of mine actually does this. He keeps his controllers in a box near his TV, and keeps his HDMI cable plugged into the TV. He then puts his laptop on the entertainment console near the TV, plugs in the cable, and plugs in the controllers. [Smile]

quote:
less than the price of a low-end PC graphics card
You can get a low-end PC graphics card that can run Skyrim with decent detail for $50 on NewEgg, right now. That said, yes, at the beginning of any console's lifecycle (with the possible exception of Nintendo, nowadays), the console hardware will be cheaper than the PC hardware necessary to run a game at the same levels of quality; this is because they essentially sell the consoles at a loss and seek to subsidize them through more expensive individual games. (This is also why the rental market is so hard for console manufacturers in particular.)
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Dan_Frank
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Sam, one problem here is the definition of "equally good."

My crappy jalopy gets me where I want to go and doesn't break or fall apart or anything. It's not as awesome as riding a Mustang or even just a really nice Honda or something, but it satisfies my requirements in a car.

I'm not saying that consoles are equally good, I'm saying they're good enough, and they're cheaper. Not "the extra money pays for itself if you buy enough cheap Steam games," just... cheaper.

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Samprimary
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quote:
I'm not saying that consoles are equally good, I'm saying they're good enough, and they're cheaper. Not "the extra money pays for itself if you buy enough cheap Steam games," just... cheaper.
More specifically, you're saying that just having a console is probably better for you. I wouldn't necessarily disagree, but I would note that for anyone who buys more than four or five games a year, it's time to state that they would most likely benefit from moving on to having a gaming-capable computer, even if they probably aren't going to because they are too lazy* to bother making the jump. It comes with more benefit than just offering the latest kept-up-with-the-Jones titles; the entertainment value offered by the vast libraries of indie, niche, small-studio and classic games offered in absurdly cheap, continually rotating deals (not too long ago, I picked up every single X-Com game for a dollar a piece off of steam) and the whole litany of eminently available entertainment in the form of many titles like League of Legends means that it doesn't take much before people who make the jump realizing that they're pretty damn glad they made the investment.

This is why, for the most part, if someone is asking me individually why I would think they should buy a pc, I either tell them I don't think they should, or if I do think they should, I just tell them to dispense with the idea of having to get sold on a pc by another person — instead, get a steam account, GOG, etc, and just watch them for a while, and see the whole litany of games and deals on display, and that will usually make the argument for the benefit of us both.

*not used here as a pejorative; lazy is (paradoxically) a perfectly valid motivation

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
I'm not saying that consoles are equally good, I'm saying they're good enough, and they're cheaper. Not "the extra money pays for itself if you buy enough cheap Steam games," just... cheaper.
More specifically, you're saying that just having a console is probably better for you.
Oh absolutely, that was the only argument I was trying to make: That there are people for whom consoles make more sense.

Your argument that said pool of people is actually dwindling, and many folks who should use PCs still use consoles out of laziness, is very interesting.

So interesting I might dive back into PC when I have enough disposable cash. We shall see.

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Jeff C.
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
Speak for yourself. [Cool]

*wink wink*
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pooka
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I would fight very hard against buying an Xbox 720 if it had that ludicrous limitation on it. My husband has always wanted to build a dream PC anyway, and he hates Microsoft's big brother bastardness anyway.

Whoa. Right after I typed that my screen washed out and froze with the little wheelie cursor for several minutes.

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Dan_Frank
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They're coming for you, Pooka.

Get out of the house!

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Jeff C.
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quote:
Originally posted by pooka:
I would fight very hard against buying an Xbox 720 if it had that ludicrous limitation on it. My husband has always wanted to build a dream PC anyway, and he hates Microsoft's big brother bastardness anyway.

Wait, isn't that a contradiction? Unless you buy a Mac, you're basically just handing MS money.

Damn you Bill Gates!!

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Dan_Frank
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Maybe he's building a linux machine.
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Jeff C.
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Maybe he's building a linux machine.

Do they make a lot of games for those?
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Dan_Frank
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Quiet, you.
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Carrie
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A bit on-topic, so forgive me:

Would this affect backwards-compatibility? I mean, I've used all the games I own. Would I then not be able to use them on the new system, as you can on the PS3? I'd also be a bit peeved with the availability issue. I'd quite like to pick up a copy of the first Mass Effect, but they don't sell that new anymore. It's actually a bit annoying, as I remember liking that one a lot more than the second. Alas.

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TomDavidson
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I would expect that almost any backwards-compatibility that would exist for the new consoles would come in the form of downloads of old games, which would need to be repurchased (probably at a discount).
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Jeff C.
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quote:
Originally posted by Carrie:
A bit on-topic, so forgive me:

Would this affect backwards-compatibility? I mean, I've used all the games I own. Would I then not be able to use them on the new system, as you can on the PS3? I'd also be a bit peeved with the availability issue. I'd quite like to pick up a copy of the first Mass Effect, but they don't sell that new anymore. It's actually a bit annoying, as I remember liking that one a lot more than the second. Alas.

For Mass Effect, have you tried looking online? I was able to buy a new copy of Chrono Cross directly from the publisher and it was only 20 bucks. Bioware makes the game, but I'd also check EA's website (that's the publisher).

As for backward compatibility, there's no info on that yet. Right now it's all just leaked information and rumor.

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Samprimary
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For 360:

http://www.amazon.com/Mass-Effect-Xbox-360/dp/B000OLXX86

For PC:

http://www.amazon.com/Mass-Effect-Pc/dp/B00140P9BA

ME1 was never released on the PS3.

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Ginol_Enam
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Microsoft published Mass Effect 1, not EA. EA's just doing 2 and 3.
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