Following the revelation of the Xbox One, Microsoft's stance one second-hand games has been muddled. Xbox Live director of programming Larry Hryb stated today that the Xbox One "is designed to support the trade in and resale of games," but the details of that support remain in the dark. Anonymous sources have told MCV that Microsoft is planning a cloud-based authentication system to handle used games at retail.
Upon purchase, new games will be registered to your Xbox Live account. If you trade in a game at a retail outlet that has agreed to Microsoft's terms, it will be wiped from your Live account. When that store sells the used title, Microsoft and the game's publisher will take a cut of that sale. The system will reportedly be based upon Microsoft's existing Azure cloud service.
Other sources have told Eurogamer that Microsoft and related publishers will take their cut out of a hidden activation fee. Microsoft would control the price of the activation fee, which would allow the company to control the price of used games.
"We know there is some confusion around used games on Xbox One and wanted to provide a bit of clarification on exactly what we've confirmed. While there have been many potential scenarios discussed, we have only confirmed that we designed Xbox One to enable our customers to trade in and resell games at retail. Beyond that, we have not confirmed any specific scenarios," a Microsoft spokesperson told MCV.
"Another piece of clarification around playing games at a friend's house -- should you choose to play your game at your friend's house, there is no fee to play that game while you are signed in to your profile."
In contrast, Polygon's sources said that no activation fee is present, but the system will need to be online for constant authentication checks. The system checks an encryption code included on the disc, tying that disc and code to the current active account on the Xbox One system. Playing the disc on a new system de-authenticates the game on the original account. Polygon's sources said that Microsoft has yet to decide the length of time between online code verification, but the company has looked into special exemption codes for those in extraordinary circumstances without internet, like active-duty military.
In the end, without full disclosure from Microsoft, we all remain in the dark on how Xbox One will deal with used games.