One of the many concerns gamers are having over Xbox One is the lack of ability to bring a game to a friend’s house to play on their own account. After a backlash from gamers, Microsoft has softened its stance and has dismissed used-game fees as a ‘potential scenario’.
Technology is already leaning towards digital distribution. Amazon already has a system for their Kindle that allows users to lend books to their friends. Why not take this system and modify it for Xbox? Microsoft could implement a system where gamers can lend games to friends over Xbox Live and only allow one version of the game to be activated at a time. It would simulate lending a physical copy of a game to a friend, without having to physically meet up with them. This way, you can even lend games to friends across the world! The only downside to this system would be having to wait for the game to download.
By having a digital lending system, you (or your friend) could never lose your game collection or have to replace games because an angry ex decided to smash all of them. As the game’s owner, you should have the ability to take back your game at any time, also something you can’t really do in real life if someone decided to disappear off the face of the planet (no, I’m not talking from personal experience at all…). This system would still allow for companies such as GameFly to continue to rent games, either by having several accounts under their control or seeing if Microsoft would create a special type of account for them (having the ability to lend games to people who they aren’t friends with or not having a cap on their friends list). With digital distribution, it would cut down on postage and lost/never-returned games, allowing them to possibly decrease their subscription amount (but I seriously doubt they would).
At the same time, Microsoft could implement a digital trading/trade-in system. Gamers could barter with one another or trade-in their game for credits toward a different game or even something else altogether (like software, apps, anything you could buy in the Microsoft Store). People complaining about Microsoft implementing a fee for activating used games should remind themselves how GameStop works. As long as the fee isn’t unreasonable, it can be seen as a transaction fee. At least the money could possibly be used for better server support, maintenance, or to offset the inevitable losses they will gain from selling the Xbox One.
Another awesome side effect to this system would be the ability to gift games to your friends. It would be really easy to modify the lending system, to allow for gamers to gift games (or even credits) to one another, something that is currently lacking from Xbox Live. Unlike Steam, you should also be allowed to gift games you don’t play anymore to friends or donate them to hospitals.
This system I’m suggesting is certainly not perfect and I’m pretty sure I’m forgetting or overlooking something important, but it’s better than whatever Microsoft is (or isn’t) saying right now.