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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 Baillie

Sounds fine to me.

Posted by TeenageJesusSuperstar

Clear as mud.

Edited by CaLe

Can I still rent then?

Edited by Phoenix87

The only thing that is really clear is that I'm not buying one.

Posted by Bapetacular

So in 8-10 years down the line when they shut off the servers we have 24 hours to play our games? This sound terrible, I still have my Sega Genesis and can still play the games.

Posted by TeenageJesusSuperstar
@cale said:

Can I still rent then?

"Loaning or renting games won’t be available at launch, but we are exploring the possibilities with our partners."

Posted by Olivaw

So here's my question: how does it make sense from a business perspective to allow ten people access to the same collective digital game library anytime, anywhere? Either they're planning on making more money from subscriptions and hardware than software sales, or it really is only for family members and Big Kinect won't let just anyone access that library.

Also, still not super clear on how the used game thing works still! There was a fee, but now there isn't, but it's up to publishers if you can or not? I don't get it!

Posted by Rohay

so if i reading this right i could for example put Fable in my shared games section and my friend could play fable the same time as me for no cost that sounds pretty alright

Edited by p0wl

Still not happy about the 24 hour DRM. I definitely won't be picking this up at launch.

Posted by jayjonesjunior

EULA is your permission.

Posted by KoolAid

Kotaku is having a big brewha saying that you can only lend a game to one friend ever, but this makes it sound like you actually give them a copy, like for free. That definitely doesn't sound right.

Posted by yakov456

I'd be willing to bet that some of these features they mention are hidden behind various pay walls. But of course they won't mention that here.

Edited by Chop

Maybe I'm an idiot, but I'm still confused about a lot of this stuff. What a mess.

Edited by isomeri

Sounds pretty reasonable.

Posted by XChairmanDrekX

"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."

The fact that this even needs to be said is very sad. This shit should just be a given, come on!

Edited by Baillie

@koolaid: No, it sounds like when you give your friend your game, that's it. You don't get it back.

Posted by Bummey

Just remember, you don't own anything, you are merely leasing the opportunity to access both the console and the content.

Posted by KoolAid

@baillie said:

@koolaid: No, it sounds like when you give your friend your game, that's it. You don't get it back.

Yeah, reading it again. That's what it sounds like. Well, of course you can only do that once!

Edited by VoodooTerror
Edited by Wrighteous86

Warning: Incoming @darji thread!

Edited by Hunter5024

Trading games between friends seems a little unclear. It seems you can give it to them but they can't give it back to you. But there is some sort of family program that allows you to share a digital library? Would I be able to set this up with my buddies? Does a brother from another mother count as family? Still need more details before I know how to feel about this, but potentially this could make it even easier to share games than it is, which might compensate for some of the shitty trade offs.

Edited by patontheback

Most of this seems very reasonable. I'm truly not understanding the vitriolic hate most of the gaming community has towards XBO. It's almost as if they just want something to hate...

Edited by Efesell

Don't really have a problem with any of this.

Posted by MildMolasses

"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."

The fact that this even needs to be said is very sad. This shit should just be a given, come on!

It had to be said because so many people were jumping to conclusions and making wild accusations that this type of thing wouldn't be possible. This isn't MS trying to pass off doing you a solid. This is MS trying to get the speculators to stop

Posted by BD_Mr_Bubbles

The only thing that is really clear is that I'm not buying one.

Posted by tactis

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.

Edited by sins_of_mosin

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.

Edited by l3illyl3ob

All of this "The publisher can enable you to..." talk sounds pretty gross to me. It's also similar to what we've heard about PS4, so I'm not too excited about that system's prospects either. But still, I wouldn't be surprised if most game publishers will not allow you to trade in games and will not allow you to give games to other people.

Also take note that they will only allow you to sell your games to specific partnered retailers. Not to other people you have casual connections to, not through ebay or craigslist, not through any other means but the explicit means they give you, removing your ability to set your own price and to sell the games on your own terms. You may be able to sell directly to a friend while abusing the giving system, though.

Edited by SleepyDoughnut

If you need an equivalent to a goddamn essay to explain online policies, that's not a good thing.

Edited by BD

This what I think a steam box would work. Games are tied to the account instead of the machine.

Edited by Adaurin

Even if its not as obtrusive as it originally seemed (although I still think it kinda is), the whole system seems super complicated. Who collects what fees, when and where do you pay them, how much does each publisher or retailer charge? What a frickin' mess.

Posted by Homes

Looks like the entire U.S. Military personnel who are deployed will be playing PS4 when not on patrol.

Posted by RoyCampbell

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.

Haha. Dropped.

Edited by mnzy

@patontheback said:

Most of this seems very reasonable. I'm truly not understanding the vitriolic hate most of the gaming community has towards XBO. It's almost as if they just want something to hate...

They eliminated the used game market outside of GameStop & Co. No more private selling and buying, it's pretty insane if you ask me.

You also won't be able to play any game once MS decides to shut down servers.

Posted by TheManWithNoPlan

It won't really affect me as I have consistently working Internet, but there's no fucking excuse for making us connect every 24 hours. That's waaayyy too frequent to be convenient. There's nothing beneficial to the consumers by doing this.

I'm not really upset, nor will I nerd rage near as hard as the rest of the Internet, but when I see something that's so clearly bullshit I can't not say something. I recognize Sony is somewhat likely to do something similar, but I really hope they don't follow suit.

Edited by L1fef0rm

"Because every Xbox One owner has a broadband connection, developers can create massive, persistent worlds that evolve even when you’re not playing." I'm not fully understanding this quote.

Posted by BurningStickMan

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.

So this info only applies to Microsoft-published games? Also would seem to confirm that the ability to lock out used games is in place, if a third party publisher (oh, say, EA) chose to do so. Am I reading this wrong?

Posted by Ersanven

Yeah, I'm going nowhere near this turd.

Posted by mrfluke

@phoenix87 said:

The only thing that is really clear is that I'm not buying one.

yep im with you folks

man sony has a really big shot now, i really hope they dont blow it.

Edited by TheMasterDS

Sounds good. Perfectly fair provided you have a solid internet connection like a normal person and you buy your games new like an upstanding human being. Want used really badly? Just settle for Amazon prices 6 months out. Same difference.

Edited by TeenageJesusSuperstar

The real beauty of all this new console hand-wringing is that nobody has any real clue what the actual issues will be as things shake out. Even Microsoft and Sony policies are, at best wild guesses at the direction things are going. The machines shipped this holiday will be unrecognizable in a year or two.

Posted by L1fef0rm
Posted by Hailinel

Haha, no.

Posted by DoctorWelch

This sounds great and pretty much what I was expecting all along. I really don't know why everyone was freaking out so much. Also, I think the whole 10 family members thing could be taken advantage of pretty easily by a bunch of friend if they don't put any restrictions on it.

I can easily see my friends and I just acting like we are a family and sharing games. I'm guessing there is some kind of contingency they've thought of to address this situation.

Posted by Baltimore

I no longer see a video game console I want to play. This makes me very sad. The restrictions put in front of the consumer are complicated and I can't imagine non-tech people being able to understand this easily. Plus, what the hell are our service men and women going to do? These restrictions make it very hard on them as well.

Something else I thought of: hackers and crackers are going to LOVE the Xbox One. These people thrive on trying to break systems and I'm sure that they cannot wait to dig into this box and have their way with it.

Edited by Murdoc_

I think what this means is that we're going to see a lot of support in the states for polygamous gay marriages as I know at least 9 of my bros will want to get married just so we can share our video game freely.

Edited by RecSpec

The family stuff sounds cool and totally easy to abuse.

Posted by Katkillad

This sounds great and pretty much what I was expecting all along. I really don't know why everyone was freaking out so much. Also, I think the whole 10 family members thing could be taken advantage of pretty easily by a bunch of friend if they don't put any restrictions on it.

I can easily see my friends and I just acting like we are a family and sharing games. I'm guessing there is some kind of contingency they've thought of to address this situation.

I don't know if I should fault you for not reading the entire original posts or Patrick for leaving out some key information but...

"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."

So no, you can't take advantage with sharing games with people on other consoles.

Rip Xbone, i've officially heard enough that i'm probably going to switch to PC gaming permanently.

Posted by Nightriff

finally cleared up some things, yeah I'm not getting one. Up to PS4 to hang on to me, I think they will but you never know

Edited by BRG9000

@olivaw: At a minimum, I assume it takes a permanent commitment to other users. You may not have to prove that you are family, but you probably can't leave one family and join another. Since families don't (usually) do that.