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Xbox One will play used games, but it might cost you

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Xbox One, mysteriously defying gravity (Credit: Microsoft)

Since the rumormongers starting whispering about Microsoft's next-generation console over a year ago, one of the most controversial topics has been the fate of used games.

Some reports said the system would make it impossible to play them. Analysts scoffed at this, saying Microsoft wasn't stupid enough to alienate a substantial portion of its audience with such a sweeping move -- not to mention anger its biggest retail partner, GameStop, who sees significant revenue from used game sales.

Today, Microsoft itself finally weighed in on the matter, though if you were hoping for crystal clarity, you're likely going to be a bit disappointed.

"We are designing Xbox One to enable customers to trade in and resell games," the company wrote. "We'll have more details to share later."

A report on Wired, though, indicates that games will be tied to user accounts. Should someone else try to use that disc, they would then be given the option to pay a fee to do so.

[Related: Xbox 360 games won't work with the Xbox One]

That's been corroborated by Kotaku, who was told that Xbox One games will require one-time activation codes. Games will be linked to your Xbox Live account. If you want to play that game using a friend's account on another Xbox One, however, you'll have to fork over the list price.

"The bits that are on that disc, you can give it to your friend and they can install it on an Xbox One," Microsoft VP Phil Harrison told Kotaku. "They would then have to purchase the right to play that game through Xbox Live."

It's a bummer of an answer, though Harrison hedged his bet by noting that the company was working on another solution that would somehow let gamers sell or trade titles online. Either way, this can't please GameStop, who rely on the re-selling of game discs themselves to make a profit on used sales.

Sony, too, had to deal with user fears that the PlayStation 4 wouldn't play used games before it officially announced the system in February. At that system’s reveal, though, a company executive spoke definitively about the whispers.

"Used games can play on PS4. How is that?" Shuhei Yoshida of Sony Worldwide Studios told Eurogamer at the time.

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