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Report: Microsoft to get cut of used game sales on Xbox One

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(Credit: Microsoft)

The fate of used games on the Xbox One continues to get murkier.

While Microsoft has confirmed its new console will support used games, the methods behind that process have been somewhat confusing thanks to mixed messages from Microsoft executives. But a new report sheds some light on why there hasn't been a clear answer yet.

Sources have told MCV that Microsoft has negotiated an agreement with used game retailers that ensures publishers -- and Microsoft itself -- will get a cut of the lucrative used game market. Independent sources have confirmed this to Yahoo! Games as well.

Under the new strategy, retailers will reportedly have to integrate Microsoft's cloud-based, pre-owned system into their catalog. Once a game is traded in, the previous owner will see it erased from his or her Xbox One account, since games will be installed on the system's hard drive.

Retailers can then re-sell that game at the price of their choosing, but both Microsoft and the game's publisher will receive a percentage of the sale, says MCV. The exact percentage remains unknown.

If true, this could be a lucrative additional source of revenue for both Microsoft and game publishers. Used game sales accounted for roughly 48 percent of GameStop's gross profits for the company’s most recent fiscal year. Not surprisingly, GameStop shares have been declining since the Xbox One announcement.

GameStop wiggled around questions on next-generation used game sales on its conference earnings call Thursday.

"I think what is important to note is that all three of the consoles that have launched have now come back and they say 'I realize the value of the buy-sell-trade model,' and they have built that into their new consoles moving forward," said president Tony Bartel.

The danger with this sort of arrangement, though, is that stores could opt to increase the price of used games -- or lower their trade-in value -- which would prove frustrating for gamers who like the freedom to exchange the titles for cash or credit, often used to buy additional games.

There are no reports, as yet, of Sony striking a similar deal with any retailers. Sony has been maintaining a low profile on the used games front since its PlayStation 4 presentation in February.

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