Get-Well Gamers Foundation Upset over Xbox One’s ‘Fee’ on Pre-Owned Games

Ryan Sharpe from Get-Well Gamers Foundation posted a statement on Facebook condemning the way Microsoft plans to handle pre-owned titles. We have extensively detailed the confusion on that topic here. Sharpe says that this idea of a fee on used games is an alarming trend that bothers him so much the he has decided that he will not include Xbox One systems and games in the inventory of games for the 180 hospitals in its network.

Get-Well Gamers delivers video game systems and games to children's hospitals, which gives young patients something fun to do while being treated for serious medical conditions.

Sharpe emphasized to GamePolitics that he is not complaining about the fee on pre-owned games detailed by Microsoft yesterday out of spite or malice, but out of a genuine concern for how it will impact his organization's ability to give sick children games with "no-strings-attached."

You can read Sharpe's full statement below:

"Normally I don't pay much attention to announcements like this XBox thing, but the 'Pre-owned fee' has me livid. In a stroke, Microsoft has removed themselves from the Foundation's inventory for as long as this policy is in place. In our annual survey, the Foundation's network hospitals have on average less than one dollar per patient per year budgeted for any form of non-medical therapy and treatment. So now, if I send a hospital an XBox One with twenty games, it's going to cost them (at, charitably, .99 each) 19.80 just to play the games I've sent them for free?

And that's just for *one* system! Some of our member hospitals have dozens of systems spread around multiple wards! I can hear it now: "Sorry Jimmy, you can't play this game. Only the Oncology ward has it unlocked. Ridiculous. What a load of tripe. So yeah, no XBox One support from the Get-Well Gamers Foundation, it seems. Anyone who donates them to us, they'll have to be sold so we can buy games that can be played on more than one system. Good grief."

Sharpe makes a valid point. What happens when various charities that collect games for good causes have to deal with a licensing scheme that will charge whoever ends up with the game a fee? To the person (or facility, or organization) using that game it won't likely seem very charitable. This is something Microsoft needs to adequately address with some clear language. So far they have not done a very good job of explaining it.

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  1. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    All the more reason to hack the heck out of the fucker. As much as I love box art and game collecting I'm out on the new consoles the social focus will only degrade games more so I will refocus my money else where.


    Now if they bit the bullet and sold the new consoles for 150$ or less it would be worth while to upgrade to a system that can not play older games.

  2. 0
    Neeneko says:

    I am also wondering what kind of IT costs (or policies) might come into play with a device that needs to be connected once a day to work.

    I have no idea what the norm is, but I do get the impression not all hospitals are all that comfortable with 3rd party devices on their systems.  There would also be the problem of 'what if little billy can get online?'.  With offline devices it requires pretty much no oversight or technical barriers to insure patients can not go to sites that might upset people, but once that device requires connection then it is on the network, thus it will have to be monitored to some degree.

    And of course there is the even worse case of hospitals that are still using closed networks because they have machines and systems that can not safely be exposed to the internet.  Sure they can upgrade, but 'so the kids can play xbox' is a pretty difficult use case to sell.

  3. 0
    GetWellGamers says:

    I certainly am upset, but it's not that I've decided to keep XBox One consoles from being donated to our member hospitals- that is Microsoft's decision.  They have removed themselves from the donation pool by treating the physical products other people have bought as not their property, decreed essentially by fiat and in many ways seemingly against the first-sale doctrine almost exactly echoing the Bobbs-Merrill Co. v. Strauss case.  Microsoft is telling our donors they can't give their games they've purchased away to us for free. They're essentially saying "You can only give this game away with a (as yet undisclosed) IOU attached to it" which we are then expected to pass on to our hospitals.

    Given the utterly abysmal budgets our member hospitals have available to them, there's no logical or reasonable way for us to donate them, because a donation by definition is giving something away for free.  Donating an XBox One game to a children's hospital is no donation at all, it's a sale, with the money going to Microsoft. Given that, there is no logical reason for the Foundation to carry XBox One software, hardware, or accessories when selling them through our online store will give us funds to buy games that can be passed from system to system within a hospital without having to worry about what XBox Live Account is connected to which machine, or if they can log in with broadband to verify they own the game (Hint: Nearly 80% of our member hospitals have no patient-accessible broadband).

    When people ask why the Foundation doesn't provide PC systems and games, my argument hinges on simplicity; Instead of having to worry about sufficient RAM, a compatible OS, a powerful enough video card, I say, you just stick a game in a console and it works.  If Microsoft is dead-set on making that untrue, I have no choice but to exclude them from the Foundation's donation catalog if I want to keep up the same service of allowing any hospital to use our donations, whether they have money to spare or don't, whether they have broadband connections or not. I know "Shoestring Budget Hospitals" and "Poor Sick Children" are not the XBox One's target audience, and I accept that, but it still irks and disappoints me that it looks like a third of the next-generation offerings will never bear a "Donated by the Get-Well Gamers Foundation" sticker, since I'm sure there will be a lot of great games on it the million-plus patients the Foundation provides for each year would love to play.

  4. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    Hmm, I forgot that by doing this Microsoft was essentially saying "Fuck charity!"


    By making it so you essentially can't share games or donate them to charity, well, yeah.

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