Thursday, March 31, 2016

Microsoft Survey - Sell Back Your Digitial Games?

Microsoft began sending out the survey just over a week ago, and one popped into my e-mail last night. The focus was on digital games - general service, practices, and how people would respond to a buy-back program. If buying back digital products sounds weird, well it does. Typically with any PC game or digital item, once it's purchased that's it. There are no returns. The exception being the more recent rules for defective games or purchases under a certain time-frame/game-time if you have buyers remorse. It's okay. It happens. But games that have been long since completed and are taking up space on your XBox, PC, or PlayStation, those are pretty much there until you opt to remove them - and then download it again weeks later when a friend bugs you to play.

In the survey, Microsoft is looking into how people would respond to a buy-back system for digital games at 10% of the product's value. Keep in mind that survey's are not always proof that something will happen. Case in point: Rock Band. A survey was issued in 2010 and the latest game did not go the route a number of us were hoping. I'm still waiting on my Led Zepplin Rock Band. Just saying... But surveys can be used to gauge interest, and determine if changes or new programs would result in a response worth the investment (for time, manpower, and management).

There are few details listed on the Microsoft survey. It doesn't state if that 10% buy-back was for the original retail price of the digital product, or the current price (as it drops over time). It doesn't list any exclusions, because surely some publishers would be against this program and would have their products exempt. Nor does it state if the refund would be in XBox Live points, if the age of the game matters, and what would happen to achievements. This survey is purely hypothetical.

Some pro's to the buy-back program with digital products: free up hard drive space on your system. Get a little bit of cash back for games you no longer play, and put the funds towards a new purchase. Even at 10%, that's still something.

Con's would be the low buy-back percentage would be even less then some physical games, and for games that only cost $4.99, that's only 49 cents in return. Is the game worth the hassle for a buy-back at that point? And there's a question of if you want to purchase the game again in the future, can you get a discount for having previously owned it, or do you need to pay full price once more? What about receiving the game as a gift, or as part of a trade - are those products eligible for buy-back?

We'll see what happens in the coming years. Maybe Microsoft will surprise us with the buy-back program.

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