Nixing the pre-owned market could inspire more diversity.
Rumors that next-generation consoles might block the use of pre-owned games has consumers in a bit of a huff these days, and some developers have backpedaled accordingly on comments supporting the idea. At least one developer, however, thinks that gamers might actually see some benefits from the practice when all is said and done.
"I think [used-game blocking] can be a win and a loss," Patrick Bach, interim CEO of Battlefield developer DICE, told CVG. "I think it's a loss if it only means that you will be able to get fewer games for the same money. But in theory you could see it the other way, because a lot of companies making games today are struggling based on second-hand sales."
Many people would probably consider owning fewer games for the same price a loss, true, but Bach thinks that the driving question should be about quality and diversity, rather than quantity. By removing the secondary market and the risk that consumers will just purchase a used version of their game, he says, developers and publishers wouldn't be forced to follow the leader in popular genres to make a buck. "You feel like a lot of [online shooters] have the same formula and this is one of the reasons, which most people seem to not realize."
"[On] the positive side you could see more games being created because of this, and also more new IPs, because there'd be a bigger market for games that don't have for instance multiplayer," he said, noting that offline, single-player-only games were typically pirated.
Bach did agree that gamers who want to amass as large a library as possible would be hurt by the technology. "If you want to buy as many games as possible then this could be a problem, but if you want more diverse games then it's a more positive thing than negative."
"The only thing I know is that people are not doing it to be evil and stupid, it's about trying to create some benefits for consumers."
It's worth pointing out that Mr. Bach is wrong on at least one count - looking at the most pirated games of 2011, the vast majority of them were games with an emphasis on the multiplayer experience. As for the rest of his comments, well, I'm sure they'll be hotly debated in comment threads across the internet until the world ends later this year.