This wasn’t the news I wanted to wake up to on a Friday but it looks like Microsoft has refused to listen to gamers and in a futile attempt for this disaster to not ruin their E3 they have decided to clarify how the Xbox One will work and it’s not pretty.
But wait we have good news for you
But let’s start with the actual good because there is some. The new Xbox One will allow you to setup a family group that can contain up to 10 people. All of these people then share games so that if I buy a copy of Bioshock Infinite and my dad wants to play it on his Xbox One, at his house, all he has to do is connect to my library in the cloud and install it for free.
That’s awesome and a really nice move from Microsoft. How the family groups are created and shared is still unknown and whether I can continue playing while he’s playing is also not clarified. But this could be a nice way to get a library going between your family of friends.
Next good news, well cool news maybe not good news. Is that when you install a game you picked up from the shop a copy of that game will be stored in your cloud library as well. I’m going to guess here you don’t have to upload the thing since you can buy all of these digitally so they must have a copy as well.
The great thing here is that when you get robbed or the dog trashes your disc you don’t lose your ability to play the game.. even if your Xbox is trashed.
Oh and if you go to a friends house and sign in you can play any of your games that are in your library… now that’s awesome.
And if Microsoft had just stopped then it would have been a winning proposition for them.. but they didn’t
So now you have a library of titles that you can access anywhere, anytime and that you can share with your family easily. So what has Microsoft done that is so bad?
There’s no sugar coating it. Microsoft has embedded the most draconian DRM system into the system that we’ve ever seen.
You do need an internet connection to use the Xbox One. You need it to install and licence games, you then need to make sure you connect at least once every 24 hours or the Xbox One will stop playing games.
“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. “
But don’t fear you can watch live TV through your Xbox One if your Internet goes down… so depressing.
But don’t panic they are at least letting us sell used games.. and in their words
“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. “
Sounds good.. but check out the wording around participating retailers. Not all retailers will be able to do this so that awesome independent down the road who survives on used game sales can kiss their business good bye. Also Microsoft doesn’t charge a platform fee for this but they do allow publishers to charge a fee, or refuse to allow the games to be resold in any way.
“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.”
But wait it doesn’t stop there, Microsoft will also allow you to simply give your game away. But the person who then receives it can’t give it to anyone else. And you have to be friends with the person for at least 30 days.
“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.”
Here’s a handy little graphic to show exactly what Microsoft is doing wrong
Okay so there is one thing that hasn’t yet been clarified, can I lend a game to my friend? Or like with Lazygamer where I receive a game to review and then send it to Geoff afterwards to mess around with and then Darryn picks it up when he visits civilisation. Well that’s no longer an option
“In addition (to selling games), 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.”
And to close in yet another depressing tone.. Microsoft recommends that you have at least a 1.5Mb connection to utilise the Xbox One. I guess it’s about time that Telkom offered a 2Mb as base broadband?
But don’t forget you can still watch TV if your Internet is down, you recently moved, work on site or have your Internet taken out for a while due to silly things like tornadoes or tsunami’s..
Geoff and Darryn are landing in LA sometime today and will be at the Xbox One conference on Monday so stick around to get all the news as it breaks from E3.
[Update: The above is all official and can be found on the official Xbox site here]