Microsoft has let on that it might be doing something pretty cool in the near future. A recent consumer survey has asked players if they’d be interested in the opportunity to “sell back” their digital games for 10% of the purchase price, which would be issued in store credit. This would be the first buy-back or trade-in program of its kind, and I think it’s rather progressive. Not surprisingly, a vocal minority has flooded every comments section where this news is being reported to let the world know that this offer sucks. They find the 10% offer cheap and insulting. I find their sense of entitlement amusing and childish. Look, there are two ways we can look at this. Allow me to react to this news from both extremes:
Negative / Entitled Reaction:
Are you kidding me with this 10% bulls#*t? You’re telling me that Microsoft, one of the biggest and wealthiest companies in the world, can’t afford to offer me more than $6 on a game that I paid $60 for? These greedy suits want to keep 90% of my money after I give up the right to boot this game up without buying it again. Let’s start with a base offer of 30% and then maybe we’ll talk. Even Gamestop offers me more than that, and they don’t force me to accept their offer in store credit – when I trade in my games there I can ask for cash.
Really? When is the last time you took in a digital game to Gamestop or any other local retailer to trade-in? If you want to go ahead and put your foot in your mouth I’ll answer that question for you: never. We’ve never had the option or the ability to get any money back for the digital games we’re done playing or don’t enjoy anymore.
Positive / Naive Reaction:
Good on you, Microsoft, this is groundbreaking! Digital games are the future, and they’re so convenient, but up to this point we’ve understood that one of the downsides to going digital is that it’s impossible to resell the games we don’t play anymore. I hope Sony and Steam decide to do something like this as well. 10% is more than fair considering that Microsoft gets absolutely nothing in return. It’s not like you’re sending back a disc that they can re-wrap and sell again. We’re not replenishing stock here, we’re getting paid to delete something that was just rotting on our hard drive anyway.
Hey, thanks for not being an entitled jerk about this, but there are some points you should consider. Microsoft actually does get something out of this if you think about it. After selling back a few games what are most people going to do? They’re going to shop. When you find $20 of unexpected funds that are only usable in the Xbox Games Store you’re going to take a peek to see if anything strikes your fancy, and most likely you’ll find something that does. Microsoft is basically paying you to delete something off of your hard drive, but with the understanding that you’re more likely to fill that space up again with a new game. It’s rather brilliant, and it’s advantageous to both parties. I look at it like getting rid of a few games in exchange for a $20 off coupon.
We also need to see more progress. Microsoft, whether it knows it or not, is opening up a can of worms by starting this conversation. Getting 10% back on games we don’t play anymore is a decent start, but where do we go from there? We’re paying the same price for digital games as we pay for their physical counterparts, but we aren’t given any of the advantages. If Microsoft starts a buy-back program it won’t be long before people realize that their digital games should be treated like physical games, or else should be cheaper to buy. Perhaps, for example, we could trade digital games with each other in the future? That would be a nice option, and it would make us feel a little less victimized as Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo all continue to push digital.
What are your thoughts about Microsoft’s proposed buy-back strategy? Would you trade in your digital games for a 10% return in store credit? Do you feel like you’re being taken advantage of, or is this the excuse you’ve been waiting for to start shopping for some new games?