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NXE: Encouraging used games?

Posted by anjilslaire on December 14, 2008

OK, I’ve installed the  NXE for my Xbox 360 Elite. While the new navigation system and Marketplace layout is nice, and the Avatars are , well, Mii-like, my favorite new feature by far is the ability to install games to the hard drive. Some of the benefits include:
improved load times (in most cases)
less heat generated (arguably)
much quieter operation without the DVD drive spinning.

I’ve installed several games to my 120gig drive, making me really appreciate my choosing the Elite when I bought it last year. Recently I had been wondering if dropping the extra cash was worth it, since I don’t plan on buying stuff from the Marketplace (too much DRM, thanks), making the extra $100 or so essentially cosmetic for the black case.

So, when the new hard drive installation became an option, I was overjoyed. I have a softmodded Xbox with a 120gig drive that I load all of my (legally purchased) games on, in addition to streaming all of my movies that I rip from the DVD to xvid from my linux server to XBMC. So suffice it to say I’m not fond of digging my discs out to use the content, but I digress…

The new feature works great. Insert disc, select it from the Dashboard and select Install to Hard drive. This essentially rips an ISO of th game disc to the hard drive to be read during play. After this, you select the game, and it prompts you to insert the original disc for authentication. You didn’t think MS would allow disc-free play, did you?
In any event, I find this acceptable as the disc drive screeches for about 1 second, then goes absolutely silent, and the game loads.
And loads well. In fact, I never hear the fans kick in at all during gameplay, so the system obviously does stay cooler to some extent.

Now, to the point of this post.
While shopping for gifts this past week, I saw a few games I would like to have myself, but not enough to pay full retail price. Now when I see these games, I would normally just think, “I’ll wait a few months and pick them up new after the price drop”. I don’t normally participate in th used games market, as it’s essentially a ripoff:
Gamestop is selling Force Unleashed used for $55 in my neck of the woods. That’s a whole $5 less than retail. For a used disc. For a used disc that who knows whats been done to it, and what condition it’s in, specifically. Not to mention the developer sees none of that money, but thats another post I’m not going to get into now. ( Yes, 1st right of sale, I agree that’s a good right, etc)

However, I saw another game thats maybe a year old, still selling for $40 retail that I saw in the bin for $15 used. Now that’s a bargain. And I thought, “hmm, used. It only needs 1 really good rip to the hard drive, and then a validation check at load time.”

I don’t know if I’m the only weirdo that thinks this way, but in a strange way it seems to me that loading to drive and the less intensive verification check would be an encouragement to buy used, as it takes some of the fear out of getting an abused game disc.
I’m personally going to continue to buy new when possible, but I think it will be interesting to see what kinds of changes to the used game market will be seen now that the consoles allow hard drive-based play.

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