Xbox One Game Sharing feature is still coming

The next-gen console war isn’t just about hardware specs, but the bigger, long-term value proposition that consumers get for their money. GamesCom has been a big week for Microsoft, as they attempted to add a greater value proposition for UK/EU consumers by way of including EA’s FIFA 14 with all Day One Edition consoles in an attempt to narrow that price gap between their PS4 rival.

 

Microsoft’s original, digital-centric vision had us mandated to check-in to authenticate our games on a daily basis and would stop us playing if failed, it would also put a heavy restriction on used game sales and completely shut out physical disc rentals as we know it. As much of a shocker as Microsoft’s intentions were, there were actually positives to such a scenario; for one, once our games were installed from disc, that disc would no longer be needed to be in the system, secondly, and no doubt the most positive feature that was planned for our always-on Xbox One – was Xbox One Game Sharing – and that’s one feature that’s coming back!

Family Sharing was detailed by Microsoft to allow gamers to add friends/family to a unique Share Group, within this list one another could access each gamers purchased shared library of games, and have access to the full games. It was a feature no doubt put in place to take the sting out of the aggressive stance on DRM and used games that were once set in stone. The Family Sharing feature offered similar freedoms that we come to expect from disc games, but in a digital manner – no need to post your game to your friend, or meet up and swap games. It was something unique for the Xbox One platform, but the stigma surrounding the heavy restrictions on how we were to manage our discs saw a complete change of face pre-release due to consumer out-cry.

Due to Microsoft’s now infamous 180, the Xbox One’s policies on disc-based games is exactly the same as it is on Xbox 360 – the disc is required to be in the console, you can still sell, rent and physically share your disc-based games, but the ability to share via. Xbox Live has been sacrificed – but not for digital purchases, as revealed by Microsoft’s Phil Spencer in this recent interview with The Guardian.

When quizzed on sharing digital games, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer had this to say: “We didn’t reverse that.” Phil also added: “If you’re a digital customer and you’re comfortable with that, you should invest in being a digital customer on Xbox One, because those advantages will be coming, some at launch and some later.”

What this effectively means is that we look set to get the best of both worlds; for those of us who wish to embrace digital, and see incentive in doing so due to sheer convenience, and more importantly incredible value that such a feature offers, we will have the choice to do so. It’s unclear if the feature will be exactly as previously outlined, which was that you could share your library with 10 select friends, that you could always be playing your own games uninterrupted, and one friend at a time could access a game from your library. There was also the ability to gift the game to a friend who had been on your list for at least 30-days. Let’s just hope Family Sharing comes back in full force.

Xbox one _Home_sharng

It doesn’t look likely to be a feature that’s ready for the console’s launch, seeing how Microsoft aren’t exactly shouting it from the roof-tops just yet. Microsoft’s shift in policies has obviously meant they’re forced to change the system’s software to support physical game-discs in a manner that we have come to expect over the years – but sharing for digital-games is coming, and that’s something I am looking forward to supporting. The only real concern that remains is pricing of digital retail games.

In terms of Xbox One and PS4’s ultimate value proposition, it’s difficult to argue with the incredible value of PlayStation+ Instant Game Collection, and we’ve yet to hear if Microsoft’s Games with Gold offering will extend to Xbox One, or even if it will continue for Xbox 360 past the year’s end. Certainly the combination of Family Sharing – with the ability to play brand new releases on launch day and for friends to share those purchases, that’s a big value alone – combined with Games with Gold, which has some ways to go before it can match Sony’s proven track record; though the combination of the two makes for an exciting proposition for Xbox One gamers.

Author: Wayne Julian.

Written by: Rob Cram

Rob Cram has hundreds of video game reviews, thousands of articles under his belt with years of experience in gaming and tech. He aims to remain fair and free from publisher/developer influence. With his extensive knowledge, feels his gaming opinions are valid and worth sharing. Agreement with his views are entirely optional. He might have a bias towards cyberpunk.

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