We'll miss you XBox, even if you won't miss us

EDIT 6.19.13: Microsoft has reversed their decision on lending restrictions and the once every 24 hour online checkin.  Your Feedback Matters - Update on Xbox One

Today I had to break some bad news to the Boys & Girls department at my library.  Actually, I broke the news to quite a few librarians on the statewide mailing list.  Namely that as things currently stand, we probably will be unable to lend XBox One games.  This came as unpleasant news for a number of my associates.

Technically publishers can set permissions for a game to be played regardless of console registration, and it looks like they did away with the "used game" fee idea.  We don't know how game companies are going to run with this.  We don't know yet how well advertised the single-owner vs used game model will be for the XBox One games.  But unless they present the user access clearly and right up front, buying XBox One games for circulation may just not prove worth it.  Not every library lends video games, so maybe only losing a few thousand sales per popular game (not counting people who try before they buy).  No big deal, right?

It really probably is not considered a big deal, if it even occurs to the game companies or Microsoft.  Or if it does, library purchased games may be thought of as "lost sales." Library purchases of video games are not of such volume to argue consideration or even significant discount as we do for books (paper ones at least).  Price of video games is one of the biggest reasons library video game collections are so limited.  However, more libraries are starting to buy video games for their patrons and this blocks off one of the our options.

I thought this every time they said "Xbox Go Home" during the demo.
Now, I do own games that I have no hope of ever reselling.  I'm reasonably happy with Steam as a platform.  But those are games I play on my PC.  I have always found the experience and interactions of PC gaming different than console gaming.  If I am going to play a computer game I own at a friend's likely they also have their own computer and maybe a few other friends are bringing theirs over.  Social PC gaming for me has always been a group of individual users.  Additionally Steam has incredible sales, I'm less likely to be upset about the inability to resell a game that I paid $5 for than one I put out $50 or more for.  One of the joys of console gaming is the different environment it invites.  You can bring your game over to a friend's, you can bring friends over and share the game on a single device.

Libraries are more than just places to borrow books or to use the internet.  Video games fit within the social scope of libraries.  I don't just mean console games when I say that.  Every day after school the computers are filled with kids playing Minecraft or World of Tanks.  And the fact remains for a number of the kids who borrow video games from us we are their internet access.  This may bother me particularly because I remember when Microsoft was the computer company that went out of its way to be accessible to anyone even if it was through public or school computer labs.  I can attribute much of my computer literacy base due to the computer lab donated to my elementary school.  We knew this was coming, but I still find it disappointing.

Additional Reading
Microsoft talks game-sharing, 'always-on' Xbox One

Sony hammers Xbox over price, used games
The Xbox One is coming – sell your used video games now


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