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Microsoft Tries to Clear Up Xbox One's New Policies

New details on used games, game licensing, Kinect privacy concerns, and more.

Microsoft came under intense scrutiny regarding its DRM and always on policies for Xbox One after the initial hardware reveal, and just days ahead of its E3 press conference, the company has released new details about how it’ll all work.

There are still questions (ones that I’ll, sadly, be unable to ask since Microsoft cancelled my one-on-one interviews with its executives at the last second!), but here’s what we now know. These quotes come directly from Microsoft:

Always On

  • While a persistent connection is not required, Xbox One is designed to verify if system, application or game updates are needed and to see if you have acquired new games, or resold, traded in, or given your game to a friend. Games that are designed to take advantage of the cloud may require a connection.

  • With Xbox One you can game offline for up to 24 hours on your primary console, or one hour if you are logged on to a separate console accessing your library. Offline gaming is not possible after these prescribed times until you re-establish a connection, but you can still watch live TV and enjoy Blu-ray and DVD movies.

Used Games

  • Buy the way you want—disc or digital—on the same day: You’ll be able to buy disc-based games at traditional retailers or online through Xbox Live, on day of release. Discs will continue to be a great way to install your games quickly.
  • Access your entire games library from any Xbox One—no discs required:After signing in and installing, you can play any of your games from any Xbox One because a digital copy of your game is stored on your console and in the cloud. So, for example, while you are logged in at your friend’s house, you can play your games.
  • Share access to your games with everyone inside your home: Your friends and family, your guests and acquaintances get unlimited access to all of your games. Anyone can play your games on your console--regardless of whether you are logged in or their relationship to you.

  • Trade-in and resell your disc-based games: Today, some gamers choose to sell their old disc-based games back for cash and credit. We designed Xbox One so game publishers can enable you to trade in your games at participating retailers. Microsoft does not charge a platform fee to retailers, publishers, or consumers for enabling transfer of these games.
  • Give your family access to your entire games library anytime, anywhere: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.
  • 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.
  • Give your games to friends: 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.

Kinect Privacy

  • You are in control of what Kinect can see and hear: By design, you will determine how responsive and personalized your Xbox One is to you and your family during setup. The system will navigate you through key privacy options, like automatic or manual sign in, privacy settings, and clear notifications about how data is used. When Xbox One is on and you’re simply having a conversation in your living room, your conversation is not being recorded or uploaded.

  • You are in control of when Kinect sensing is On, Off or Paused: If you don’t want the Kinect sensor on while playing games or enjoying your entertainment, you can pause Kinect. To turn off your Xbox One, just say “Xbox Off.” When the system is off, it’s only listening for the single voice command -- “Xbox On,” and you can even turn that feature off too. Some apps and games may require Kinect functionality to operate, so you’ll need to turn it back on for these experiences.

  • You are in control of your personal data: You can play games or enjoy applications that use data, such as videos, photos, facial expressions, heart rate and more, but this data will not leave your Xbox One without your explicit permission. Here are a few examples of potential future scenarios:

    • A fitness game could measure heart rate data to provide you with improved feedback on your workout, allow you to track your progress, or even measure calories burned.

    • A card game could allow you to bluff your virtual opponent using your facial expressions.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
389 Comments
Posted by psychocalibur
Edited by JesusHammer

Goddamn the amount of people totally fine with getting fucked by corporations anti-consumer polices is depressing. This whole thing is unacceptable. I really think Microsoft is gonna crash and burn.

Edited by Th3_James

I am accustomed to Steam. This doesn't seem that unreasonable to me. Used games are worse than piracy IMO.

EDIT: I hope GameStop dies.

Posted by PoisonJam7

@plugger603: Publishers don't make games. Quite the opposite actually. They impose restrictions and reign tyranny upon developers who do all the actual work. All they want is money, and clearly this machine is made to appease them.

Posted by small_law

Awful lot of "third party" developer talk in there, but no mention of "first party," i.e., Microsoft. Sounds to me like no used Halo 5.

And this opt out stuff isn't as encouraging as it seems. If you shut off the creepy Kinect listening features, you probably have to deactivate the Kinect features you would want to use. And I like how Microsoft says the Kinect isn't "listening" all the time. "Watching" is probably a different story.

Please don't screw up the PS4, Sony.

Posted by seamus85

fuck that shit

Edited by Solh0und

I bet if sony follows in suit of something like this, people will consider next-gen the "rapture" of videogames.

Edited by Krakn3Dfx

Never has this been so accurate.

Posted by theanticitizen

@small_law: They said that MS Studios games can be resold and traded in.

  • 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.
Edited by supamon
@tactis said:

I am gonna sound like a jerk but I am pretty much ok with all of this and I am gonna get one at launch assuming its in the $500 range.

1. 24 hour check: Dont care, always have internet, if I do not I will create a wifi hotspot using my smartphone if I get really desperate.

2. Used games: Never buy used games, Steam doesnt allow this anyway.

3. Kinnect privacy concerns: Also don't care, if Microsoft does something really stupid and watches people they will get sued

But I do completely understand why people are concerned about this stuff, if it bothers you, don't buy the system.

Don't see how you sound like a jerk since you've seen the requirements and deem them acceptable for yourself.

Edited by mlarrabee

Most of this is fine by me, but the handshake every twenty-four hours and the sudden and utter inability to borrow friends' games put me off of it completely.

I'll wait to see what Sony has to say, but considering the atrocious controller design (again!) it looks as though I'll be saving my $400 to combine it with another $600...

Edited by HebrewHammer

I feel more confused now than I did post-reveal...

I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that Sony isn't going to follow through on similar policies. Wishful thinking, I know. But is a man not entitled to his dreams?!

Posted by BPRJCTX

I must say that I don't like the way MS is thinking. Is this the price we are paying for the piracy on the 360? I'm sure they could always change this with a update later on so I do hope that they really breakdown the stats and see whats best for everyone.

Haha, do you really think this will do anything to stop Piracy?

Actually, i'm going pirate from day one exactly because of this shit!!!

Like every time they do DRM on PC, the guys who actually buy the games legit, are the ones affected by DRM, whille pirates enjoy their free games...

And it's gonna be the same here, whille legit consumers get the shaft, the pirates will be enjoying the Xbox One like it was meant to be...

So fucking sad...

Posted by elitefury

Money. Money, Money.

Money is the reason for these requirements. Lets stop with the outrage over something a big publicly traded company does. It is not surprising MS is trying to maxamize their profits.

If you truly disagree with MS, do not buy it. Tell your friends not to buy. Buy a PS4. Cancel your gold subscription. Sell your 360. Sadly money is the only thing these company care about so this is the new era of gaming unless the money stops flowing.

I think I'll still get one anyway.

Edited by CommanderGermanShepard

@th3_james said:

I am accustomed to Steam. This doesn't seem that unreasonable to me. Used games are worse than piracy IMO.

EDIT: I hope GameStop dies.

Well let's say a used game goes through 3 hands of people in it's lifetime on a $60 game, that is still $20 off each owner of that game. Now when Skyrim get downloaded over 1 million times that is 0 dollars to the developers. Just don't sell to Gamestop they give you pennies you will atleast get half your money back when selling online on ebay.

Posted by Sidfiou

A lot of the negative press and speculation that Microsoft faced after their press conference could've been avoided had they put this information out there at the same time.

Not that these answers are all that clear, but it sure would've helped them in that PR clusterfuck last month.

Posted by AttroPheed

Well I guess I'll just stick to PC this go-round.

Posted by Fram

Never has this been so accurate.

Oh man, that's amazing.

Posted by Skytylz

I am accustomed to Steam. This doesn't seem that unreasonable to me. Used games are worse than piracy IMO.

EDIT: I hope GameStop dies.

I can't believe someone actually believes this. It is literally unfathomable to me.

Online
Posted by nofzac

Have you guys been following this Guardian story about Microsoft being one of the first companies (starting in 2007) to start handing private data/skype calls/etc over to the NSA? Imagine the Federal Governments power when they can actually watch you via Kinect. Sure they say they'll walk you thru privacy policies during Kinect setup, but from this leaked info - it really sounds like they let the government spy no matter what privacy settings you enable. No doubt this is why Patrick's interviews got cancelled last minute!

Edited by franizarduy

people in this forum are putting microsoft in the same bag as sony, i dont think sony will follow the same policies if they want to get the old user base back. and some of you are saying that this is publishers pressure, let me tell you there is no pressure when you have the best selling console, so thats it.

Edited by PresidentOfJellybeans

Still just seems way way more complicated than it should be. None of it actually sounds like something to be excited about. It's like they're trying to sugar-coat a bunch of extra restrictions they didn't have before. No thank you. Also, if I will be unable to use the system after chuckin the Kinect in the trash where it belongs, I will not be buying that system. Which kinda sucks, since I've owned every console since the NES, Jaguar excluded. The 360 was my favorite console, and it's depressing how the One is turning out. It's like Microsoft is pulling out every trick it knows to ruin what it once had.

Really hope PS4 turns out well, otherwise it'll be a pure PC generation for me.

Edited by Mamba219

This sounds like some sort of Orwellian contract. Thanks for giving me permission to give a game away, Microsoft! Thanks for allowing me to play a game for 24 hours with no internet connection, too! Such glorious privileges we receive at the hands of Big Brother.

Edited by Bumpton

If only there was a way to keep track of all the people saying "FUCK THIS I AIN'T BUYING IT!" so we can chuckle briefly when they buy it eventually anyway...

Posted by Addfwyn

As somebody who didn't particularly like any of the XBoxes, solely because it's pretty dead in my country, this doesn't sound that bad really. Probably because I'd never buy used and generally prefer digital downloads if available, and always have access to internet. I do find it a bit surprising how many people apparently go for more than 24 hours w/o an internet connection.

Likely I'm still not going to be buying one, especially as I am skeptical that the Kinect would work in a place the size of my apartment, even if they say it works in smaller rooms now. Still, not all doom and gloom.

They should have come out with this way sooner though, as now they still have to do something to earn back all the goodwill they burned up front.

Edited by Shaanyboi

Never has this been so accurate.

hahahaha amazing

Posted by jaks

WOW THANKS MICROSOFT FOR GIVING ME THE PRIVILEGE OF GIVING AND LOANING OUT THE STUFF THAT I BUY WITH MY OWN MONEY HOW UTTERLY FUCKING MAGNANIMOUS OF YOU

Posted by n8

Where the hell is my clarification on thousands of people's $300 headsets suddenly being worthless due to nefarious-as-fuck deal with Turtle Beach?

Posted by jsnyder82

The only thing I'm going to buy is maybe an Xbox One controller, so I can hook it up to my PC. Since it's already more powerful than this thing, and there's really nothing separating PCs from consoles anymore.

Posted by dagas

Publishers can if they want, let you trade in your games. You cannot loan games to a friend only gift it. As someone who shares a game library with my best friend because neither of us can afford to buy all games this is not good news =(

Edited by THRICE_604

I am fully prepared for Sony to have similar things but I really hope its much more lenient. If these restrictions were across the board for both systems that would be clear grounds for collusion. No matter what, if its Sony/Microsoft working together or multiple publishers leaning on the console manufactures to enact these rules its all working together to control the market which is super illegal. Microsoft knows how much time and money can be wasted by fighting with the FTC.

Edited by BaconGames

The advantages are twofold. First, while not impossible, these policies are meant to engender or otherwise promote a greater ratio of unique copies to unique owners in the marketplace. Second, by implementing them on a console, they are already operating in an environment with less piracy. So, less used game revenue and less expectation/success in pirating games. The entire system is designed to stop or otherwise plug exploits where people collude to suck the most out of their games by trading them around.

Consoles are becoming more like PC's and PC's are becoming more like consoles as has been said for a few years now. Let the awkward games begin.

Based on what I saw in this video, everything seemed clear to me by the end. Basically, you have to more or less be connected all the time, but if you have no connection to the internet, then that Xbox becomes a brick until it connects again after 24 hours being offline. If my friend's Xbox is disconnected, then I have 1 hour to play my games on his box offline or just play his games (although this is the one part not specified. I'm assuming that I can play their games 24 hours offline). This isn't much of an issue on PC (Steam gives 30 days before requiring an online connection) because physical disc stuff is meaningless. For years, any retail game I bought functioned as a cd-key delivery mechanism for Steam, Origin, or whatever.

Here's the real catch as I see it. The market cannot or, based on what I've seen in the current digital distribution space, would not support a system like this that also does not operate under a very elastic price precedent. Long story short, PC games can get away with Steam and the like because pricing is incredibly elastic. If Microsoft wants to cinch up the ratio between unique players and copies, it's going to have hard time doing that without giving a price break in return. Otherwise, it's simply asking for more customers to pay full price if they want to play a game.

Now if people are willing to adapt to the family system, then it might offer enough in the meantime to see how their pricing adapts. The family system as explained here should work like this: 1 account owns a game --> 10 accounts have access to that 1 account's shared library --> one account at a time when connected to the internet can play one given game from the original account --> original account can play at the same time. Now here's the question that should make this work ideally: can any of those 10 act as full accounts and also own licenses to the same game? If so, then instead of 1 accounts allowing one other to play, it should allow 2 accounts to act as the sharer and 2 other accounts in that family to act as the sharee. Put another way, using Vinny's analogy, then if Vinny and his brother can play together, then if his little brother also has a copy, then their dad can act as his little brother's sharee. Instead of buying 4 copies of Battlefield, Vinny would only need to buy 2 and enable all 4 of his family to play at the same time.

Either way, if it works as it was described, then 10 people can play one game in a circle assuming it's able to be shared.

Online
Posted by Oginam

@th3_james said:

I am accustomed to Steam. This doesn't seem that unreasonable to me. Used games are worse than piracy IMO.

EDIT: I hope GameStop dies.

Well let's say a used game goes through 3 hands of people in it's lifetime on a $60 game, that is still $20 off each owner of that game. Now when Skyrim get downloaded over 1 million times that is 0 dollars to the developers. Just don't sell to Gamestop they give you pennies you will atleast get half your money back when selling online on ebay.

I don't think publishers really believe piracy is the big boogie man, its just a scapegoat. People who are going to pirate are going to pirate, you're not suddenly going to get them to pay for games. Gamestop, on the other hand, has been actively undermining publishers for years. Publishers have been putting up with it but this console cycle is the battleground for them attempting to kill that business model.

Also, $60 for the first copy and nothing for the sale of the next 2 is a $60 loss in the eyes of a publisher, not $20 per person.

I'm also of the opinion that if the physical market (namely Gamestop's used games racket) shrivels up, publishers will be more willing to price competitively on the consoles (similar to how Steam handles pricing). Hell, seeing how much the publishers are pushing the buttons here, I can't imagine a marketplace on PS4 or XBOXone that isn't modeled after Steam now that I think about it.

Edited by lordgodalming

I have some friends who played Super Mario Brothers 3 when they were kids, and now they play it with THEIR kids, 25 years later. Does anyone believe for a second that MS will keep their XBL servers up for 25 years so you can keep replaying your favorite XBONE games?

Posted by Kazona

@themanwithnoplan: I wholeheartedly agree with you. It is not unthinkable for someone to be without Internet for longer than a 24 hour period. For instance, when I move it took well over a week before my Internet was finally moved over as well. Sure, I could use my phone as a wifi hotspot, but considering the poor service here that is a dicey proposition. And I am certain that there are people who have even more trouble when it comes to Internet access.

Edited by Spitznock

While being able to stream in a game you own from the cloud if you go over a buddy's house or something is a neat feature (and likely bandwidth intensive), that is the only part of this that seems as such.
I want nothing to do with this. If the PS4 has the same policies and such, this will be a great opportunity for me to catch up on previous gen games (or to take up a new hobby... like stamp collecting).

Edited by JudgeDread

pure fucking evil from MS side

you people that "are ok with this" really do not understand the policies and what will happen when access to servers are down due to high load, outage etc. Your internet connection is not all that might fail. And when MS shuts down the servers in 10-15 years you will have a worthless box with worthless games

Edited by HunterGathers

@lively: Make that 99.99%. How did that COD boycott go? It's weird but I think many of these 'gamers' have a touch of asburgers. Go read GAF and you'd think MS is trampling the constitution. If you don't like it don't buy it. If enough feel that way then MS fails. This is nothing more than what the Steam Box will be.

Edited by CommanderGermanShepard

@oginam said:

@commandergermanshepard said:

@th3_james said:

I am accustomed to Steam. This doesn't seem that unreasonable to me. Used games are worse than piracy IMO.

EDIT: I hope GameStop dies.

Well let's say a used game goes through 3 hands of people in it's lifetime on a $60 game, that is still $20 off each owner of that game. Now when Skyrim get downloaded over 1 million times that is 0 dollars to the developers. Just don't sell to Gamestop they give you pennies you will atleast get half your money back when selling online on ebay.

I don't think publishers really believe piracy is the big boogie man, its just a scapegoat. People who are going to pirate are going to pirate, you're not suddenly going to get them to pay for games. Gamestop, on the other hand, has been actively undermining publishers for years. Publishers have been putting up with it but this console cycle is the battleground for them attempting to kill that business model.

Also, $60 for the first copy and nothing for the sale of the next 2 is a $60 loss in the eyes of a publisher, not $20 per person.

I'm also of the opinion that if the physical market (namely Gamestop's used games racket) shrivels up, publishers will be more willing to price competitively on the consoles (similar to how Steam handles pricing). Hell, seeing how much the publishers are pushing the buttons here, I can't imagine a marketplace on PS4 or XBOXone that isn't modeled after Steam now that I think about it.

Not really true at all, if there was no way of getting a pirated version of Skyrim it would of sold a lot more copies, it's just so easy to pirate on a PC. We are in the age of pirated games on a PC also get pirated game updates. All they had to do was have something cool for people that buy the game new, simlar to the online pass, you can install the game, get extra content from the game can play the multiplayer. Reward people for buying stuff new, don't punish people that do.

Posted by HunterGathers

@oginam: Let's say the pirate can sell the games. One purchase many subsequent sales with no money going back to the producers. That's what publishers think of GameSpot.

Posted by lumberingjackal

Well that's that. Not getting an Xbox One. Ball is now in Sony's court.

Edited by Ironhammer

@patontheback: I am hating myself right now for wanting to believe this seductive press release. These promises will repair a lot of Microsoft's self-inflicted wounds, but ultimately, words are wind. I'll upgrade from "not interested in buying" to "wait and see."

Edited by ei8htbit

When I made these it was more out of laughing when The Peoples keep going back to the catch-all "anti-consumer" well. Even now that it's confirmed you can not only sell and trade your games but you can also share them with up to 10 other people without them even having to buy it - more freedom than currently exists in some ways, and it's still all about these magical rights that in reality never applied to my actual consumption of gaming since I first picked up a console controller in 1985. There's no way whatever 3rd parties do on XONE will be any different on PS4, the rest just seems to be fringe scenario what-if-worry-warting. Anyway I'll prolly be picking up both of these workhorses because videogames.

Edited by FuriousJodo

@ei8htbit: Pretty much my feelings - I don't understand why Sony gets a free pass for not actually declaring anything concrete yet regarding any of this. I really wonder what will happen to their positive wave they've got going with the angry internet when they come out and have to actually answer questions directly.

Edited by Hailinel

@ei8htbit: Pretty much my feelings - I don't understand why Sony gets a free pass for not actually declaring anything concrete yet regarding any of this. I really wonder what will happen to their positive wave they've got going with the angry internet when they come out and have to actually answer questions directly.

I don't know if it's giving them a free pass as much as waiting to know what their answers to the questions will be. The difference between Sony and Microsoft is that Sony didn't make fools of themselves during a major press event by spreading obvious misinformation on the comical scale of Microsoft. They at least had their heads together enough to say "We aren't ready to answer that question."

Edited by James_Hayward

I have no major problems with this.

Posted by PeteyCoco
Posted by FirebirdINF

hhrrrhhgg... 24 hour checkin is not cool for internet outages and posterity.

I am ok losing $1 or $2 apps when I abandon a phone ecosystem, but games are more like books and movies that I would like to build into a library and live with. They are really taking the license logic way too far away from expectation.

Not that I play old games, but I like to tell myself that I might when I shell out $60+ for it.

Posted by JerrKat

So, I can kinda sale my disc, but only to retailers, what about "first sale doctrine"? which I know going to shit and is relatively meaningless for digital goods. And what is happening with the digital rights in the UK, how is that effected? And what happens when I can't connect in the allotted time do I lose the license until I reconnect or forever?

Posted by Karmann

I don't pirate games, I have a PS3 and dozens of original games that I've spent my money on, and I love'em. But honestly, all this hastle and bureaucracy, just makes me want to wait till hackers figure out how to crack the XBONE, and I'll just pirate everything on it, because that is what they're incentivising with all this horse manure.