Always-on Xbox is a bad idea, say UK retail bosses

Saturday, 6th April 2013 20:15 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

A few UK retailers have added their two cents into the “always on” debate, a function rumored to be integrated into the next-Xbox partially in order to block pre-owned games from playing.

Speaking with MCV, Dixons Retail’s Christopher Rogers said while the chain doesn’t sell pre-owned games, the possibility of an always on console is bad idea in the UK as the broadband infrastructure isn’t up to par in all areas of the country. “Surely last month’s teething troubles with SimCity are a warning for this,” he stated.

Don McCabe of CHIPS added that while a console always connected to the Internet would be a positive thing, due to automatic updates and along with reduced load times and piracy, blocking second-hand titles and forcing consumers to pay more is a bad idea. McCabe also brought up the broadband connection in the UK as well.

“Block second-hand and force a constant connection and the market will shrink rapidly,” he said, “but Microsoft will still make a profit. As for the rest of us [at retail], tough titty.”

Games Centre’s managing director Robert Lindsay, feels it would be a critical mistake on Microsoft’s part to do this, as it would allow Sony the upper hand.

“If Microsoft incorporates the tech to lock out pre-owned games and Sony doesn’t then there is going to be only one winner in the next generation of consoles – and it won’t be Microsoft,” he said. “The publishers are completely out of touch with their consumers if they don’t understand how important pre-owned is in helping them fund new releases.

“Retail is struggling. This will create an even quicker decline. I remain optimistic that the rumours will remain just that, and Microsoft and Sony will make the right decision for the industry.”

Steven Doyle, manager of Games Dojo agrees that such a move would “kill the Xbox,” and make Sony the ultimate winner of the console wars.

“Customers have been unhappy with rumours about blocking pre-owned games and publishers using online codes,” he said. “If the Xbox 720 is locking out pre-owned games, we wouldn’t be happy about that at all and it certainly wouldn’t help us. Not all of our customers are online and not everyone is on the internet so that could damage it.

“In the UK, our internet infrastucture is way behind the rest of the world and if a game cuts out, that will upset people.”

Excite Games, which makes most of its profit from the sale of used titles, feels such a move would be “detrimental” to both retail and the consumer.

“We don’t make that much on new games, as the supermarkets have devalued new titles. We make most of our money through pre-owned,” said the firm’s Paul Whitfield. I put a post on our Facebook page a while back about this and most of the feedback from consumers said that if that’s the case, they wouldn’t buy the next Xbox.”

Finally, Chris Muckell, who is managing director of Xpress Games, agreed stating that if the store can no longer sell second-hand Xbox titles, a consumer migration will turn in Sony’s favor.

“Assuming everything we’ve read is true – that this could be a big failure from Microsoft if they exclusively adapt that route of distribution and online activation,” he said. “Pre-owned games fuel the entire new market.

“Microsoft needs retail.”

Microsoft is rumored to be unveiling its next console in May, with further rumors pointing to a holiday release in order to go neck-and-neck with PS4.

Thanks, woe.



  1. theevilaires

    Dammit Stephany you nailed it on the head with that pic ;)

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Lengendaryboss

    Nice picture. Although i doubt MS with go through with it knowing all the Backlash this has caused and the massive repercussions it can lead to, but then again Sony’s arrogance caused the PS3 a powerful but very difficult platform to develop for (in the past) and pricey to purchase. I wonder what MS’s arrogance will do to Xbox720?

    #2 2 years ago
  3. monkeygourmet

    I second that motion!

    Good pic! :)

    Looks like a BNP 360


    Just realised what that sounded like… :/

    Please seperate the Good Pic :) and BNP comment lol O_o

    #3 2 years ago
  4. SlayerGT

    There anyone that’s feels always on would be a GOOD idea? Not, doesn’t care. A GOOD idea. What benefit could it bring to games? What new next Gen feature could be implemented by having such a service? I only ask cause I can’t think of any.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. DuckNation

    “tough titty” haha that’s great

    Also got to love those ISP out there that still have a CAP on their internet

    #5 2 years ago
  6. brotherhoodofthewolf

    they would say that though wouldn’t they.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. zinc

    @4, It prevents you buying 2nd hand games, which devalues your gaming experience. You may think it doesn’t, but it does. MS told me so.

    I think it’s more interesting that woe, who has been called out as a bit of a fanboy, posted this less than flattering report concerning MS.

    Cheque bounce, did it mate?

    *joke* :-P

    #7 2 years ago
  8. SlayerGT

    I got one! No hacking online in mp games??

    #8 2 years ago
  9. KAP

    If they decided to have always online feature there is no changing it now dude. Something like that has to be hard-coded, so all the complaining in the world won’t change anything. People will still buy 720..

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Dark

    MS won’t do this unless they are 100% sure that others publishers will do it.

    and there is already a rumor about Watch Dogs and ACIV to require online connection.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Wen3

    Everybody buy a ps4

    #11 2 years ago
  12. The_Red

    Wait, too soon?

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Lengendaryboss

    @9 True. If MS do have balls to announce that feature then it will kill the Xbox720 and if people still buy this knowing all this info, I just don’t know what to think.
    @11 Sir, yes sir :D

    #13 2 years ago
  14. CPC_RedDawn

    I think I speak for everyone when I say “well duuuurrr!!”

    #14 2 years ago
  15. roadkill

    Lol! it does NOT matter! The bots will still buy it. They have the IQ of a bird. Wait! that’s a little bit too high. Of an ant? Nope? Hmm..

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Djoenz

    Tough titty xD

    #16 2 years ago
  17. tmac2011

    its the most stupid thing i ever heard, most people dont have fast enough internet. who ever thought of having it on all the time must be fire immeaditly

    #17 2 years ago
  18. zachintyre

    I agree, always on is going to hurt their business. They just keep saying suck it up. That is rude and consumers don’t want to be treated that way. Every time a company listens to the consumers things go well. When they don’t things just end up failing. Have fun losing to Sony, Microsoft because I will be buying a PS4.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. Maguire82

    Nothing has been confirmed yet so why all the panic? By the end of the month we should know more, Sony have Patented NFC tags in dics, but there not blocking used games. And I think you will find it publishers would benefit more from non used games just as much as the console manufactures so they could be pushing for this as well. Also most P.C. Games cant be sold second hand and you fined they are cheaper than console games. I would gladly have my games locked to my system if they were cheaper.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Lengendaryboss

    Well look at it this way. If MS see no one reacting to this news what do you think they are going to do? All this controversy is going to get them to reconsider their stance (if true)

    #20 2 years ago
  21. DGOJG

    “No shit” say the consumers.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. KineticCalvaria

    This gen has been mostly 360 for me and I had planned to get the successor, but I can honestly say that if this always online business is true then I’ll be sticking to pc and getting a playstation 4.

    I don’t want a console I can’t use just because my router or connection decides it wants to play up, even if it doesn’t happen very often.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. OlderGamer

    “What benefit could it bring to games? What new next Gen feature could be implemented by having such a service?”

    WiiU won’t be in last place after all?


    #23 2 years ago
  24. Fin

    “Retail complains about concept that could impact them financially”

    But yer, this really doesn’t seem like the best idea. I don’t mind blocking of used games, but if the always online doesn’t work 100% day 1 out of the box, they’re fucked.
    Depends how it’s handled too – if it pauses the game if it loses connection, that’s okish, but if the consumer loses any progress, they’re fucked.
    But generally, if they go with always-online, they’re fucked.

    #24 2 years ago
  25. KenanB97

    I understand the hate for such a feature, but look at it this way.
    Say you’re at school/work and an update for a game comes out. Would you rather it make you come back home and you initialise the download or to your ow convenience it happen without any user interruption?
    However for those not lucky enough to have unlimited data this could be a massive problem.
    Final point, who knows this could be an On/Off feature?

    #25 2 years ago

    Unlimited data shouldn’t be necessary, because the point of having it always connected would be for simple authentication checks. These would probably be around a few kbs of data every time you bring up a loading screen or something similar.

    #26 2 years ago

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