News just in. Microsoft has posted details of some policy changes for Xbox One which will be music to gamers ears, but not all of them. On its official newswire website the details have been amended to reflect that Xbox One offline play will be enabled with the use of the original disc and no 24 hour Internet check in is required.
Great! However, there’s a sting in the tail for one of the more promising Xbox One features – the shared digital games with up to 10 friends. Gamers will not be able to share downloaded games or resell them as previously mentioned. This feature alone sounded far more practical than simply handing over a disc to local friends. Allowing gamers from different regions to check out games – no doubt a move to entice the other person to buy downloadable content for it, or buy the full game themselves eventually – is a massively bold idea that would have put the Xbox One in its own realm above its rivals. Yet, the user feedback and Internet misinformation (not helped by Microsoft) has been instrumental in the changes likely to also be spurred on by Sony’s own stance which didn’t follow Microsoft’s route (which it really needed to for it to work properly). Microsoft’s u-turn has inadvertently left a gaping hole where once something promising was set in place which wouldn’t have affected the vast majority of users. Whilst the Internet might claim a moral victory, the resulting loss of features will perhaps be more damaging than most will give credit for until the dust settles at least. Hopefully Microsoft creates some form of tiered subscription levels which include some of the lost features for those subscribers.
What’s interesting is how flexible Microsoft are being on this issue, highlighting that they either had a contingency plan already formulated to counter the current bad press scenario, or the Xbox One, by design is no where near finalized.
Don Mattrick, President, Interactive Entertainment Business has this to announce:
So, today I am announcing the following changes to Xbox One and how you can play, share, lend, and resell your games exactly as you do today on Xbox 360. Here is what that means:
- An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games – After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again. There is no 24 hour connection requirement and you can take your Xbox One anywhere you want and play your games, just like on Xbox 360.
- Trade-in, lend, resell, gift, and rent disc based games just like you do today – There will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360.
In addition to buying a disc from a retailer, you can also download games from Xbox Live on day of release. If you choose to download your games, you will be able to play them offline just like you do today. Xbox One games will be playable on any Xbox One console — there will be no regional restrictions.
These changes will impact some of the scenarios we previously announced for Xbox One. The sharing of games will work as it does today, you will simply share the disc. Downloaded titles cannot be shared or resold. Also, similar to today, playing disc based games will require that the disc be in the tray.
We appreciate your passion, support and willingness to challenge the assumptions of digital licensing and connectivity. While we believe that the majority of people will play games online and access the cloud for both games and entertainment, we will give consumers the choice of both physical and digital content. We have listened and we have heard loud and clear from your feedback that you want the best of both worlds.
Thank you again for your candid feedback. Our team remains committed to listening, taking feedback and delivering a great product for you later this year.