Dabe Alan

Microsoft outlines their system for used games, licenses, and family sharing

Microsoft outlines their system for used games, licenses, and family sharing

Well, it seems like Microsoft listened. The company has detailed the licensing issues of the Xbox One, and the results are interesting. You’ll be able to buy any game on a disc or via Xbox Live on its first day of availability, you can access any game through the cloud using your account, and anyone in your home can play the game on your system.

There are some very interesting wrinkles to this as well, including the ability to share your collection with family members. This is how Microsoft explains it:

Xbox One will enable new forms of access for families. Up to ten members of your family can log in and play from your shared games library on any Xbox One. Just like today, a family member can play your copy of Forza Motorsport at a friend’s house. Only now, they will see not just Forza, but all of your shared games.  You can always play your games, and any one of your family members can be playing from your shared library at a given time.

This is… actually pretty cool. You’ll be able to share your games with up to ten people, and they can use those games from any Xbox One. As for used games, we’re guessing those are going to go away. “We designed Xbox One so game publishers can enable you to trade in your games at participating retailers,” the official site states. “Microsoft does not charge a platform fee to retailers, publishers, or consumers for enabling transfer of these games.” So this is a feature that has to be approved by publishers, and they don’t have much of a reason to turn it on.

What about simply giving a game to a friend? This is, again, an interesting compromise. Check it out:

Xbox One is designed so game publishers can enable you to give your disc-based games to your friends. There are no fees charged as part of these transfers. There are two requirements: you can only give them to people who have been on your friends list for at least 30 days and each game can only be given once.

Also, the publishers are going to have a lot of freedom to edit what you can and can’t do with your games.

In our role as a game publisher, Microsoft Studios will enable you to give your games to friends or trade in your Xbox One games at participating retailers. Third party publishers may opt in or out of supporting game resale and may set up business terms or transfer fees with retailers.  Microsoft does not receive any compensation as part of this. In addition, third party publishers can enable you to give games to friends. Loaning or renting games won’t be available at launch, but we are exploring the possibilities with our partners.

You can read all of this for yourself, there are a ton of details here, but still some questions. If I'm sharing a game with a family member, can we play against each other online? Imagine being able to buy one copy of the latest Halo, and family members get to play co-op or competitive games against you from their own systems. Pretty nifty.

The real question is how publishers will deal with used games, and the possibility of “transfer” fees. Suddenly online passes, or their equivalent, are being supported at the console level. One thing is for sure, this is not a good system for any retailer that relies on the sale of used games, and it's going to be very hard to rent games as well.

I'm curious about your reaction: What do you think?