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Will PS4 kill off used games?

Next-gen may herald the end of cheap used games...

It's looking increasingly likely that both Sony and Microsoft will be introducing measures to kick the used games market to the kerb in its next-generation consoles.

Last month "a reliable" Kotaku source told the site the PlayStation 4 will feature inbuilt anti-used games measures. Although games will still be available both on Blu-ray disc and digitally, they're likely to be locked to a Sony Entertainment Network (read: PSN) account and the console will require users to be connected to the internet to start up games.

According to the tipster consumers purchasing games second-hand will have to pay an unlock fee to access the full game content, similar to the current online pass model.

In January whispers suggested Microsoft were planning to adopt a similar approach by linking purchased games to Xbox Live accounts. Then, earlier this week reports claimed Microsoft has been providing third-party developers with information on its next-generation Xbox, and has indicated it will crack down on piracy with an always-on internet connection requirement.

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Regardless of how platform holders do it, eliminating the used games market is a risky move that's already splitting consumer and developer opinion.

On the pro side is Volition's Jameson Durall: "It would be a fantastic change for our business. Though consumers would be up in arms, they'd grow to understand it."

The Witcher 2's Adam Badowski disagrees: "Hardware solutions will be okay for short periods but long-term support is better." In other words, it's better to provide a stream of DLC, so no one wants to sell their games.

Publishers make no money when stores sell a pre-owned game, and would like this to change. Many games withhold content without a DLC token - like EA's 'online pass' - and it's possible next-gen consoles could block entire games without one-off codes, like in the PC market.

"The system is there," says Durall. "All they'd do is use DLC and codes to tie a game to your account."

So you couldn't lend games to a friend? Not necessarily. "They could implement something similar to Amazon's Kindle Books lending policy.", adds Durall.

We want to know what you think about the idea of used-games being eliminated in the next-gen. Do you think it will hurt or help? What do you think about the alternatives? Let us know in the comments below.

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