When Microsoft announced the Xbox One a couple of weeks ago, the big unveiling left more questions unanswered than it actually answered, especially when it came to things like the ability to lend games to a friend, or how resale of those games will work if at all. This caused something of an online backlash against the unreleased machine, and was something that Microsoft could have potentially avoided if it had had all its ducks in a row.
Today, Microsoft took a step closer to answering some of the questions left over from the Xbox One’s announcement event, covering game licensing and user privacy in a series of posts. Whilst some issues have been nicely ironed out, others seem set to rumble on and unfortunately not all the answers are going to be to everyone’s satisfaction.
Let’s start with game licensing. The way Microsoft put the Xbox One across initially left people wondering whether they would be able to lend games to friends, or whether they would even be able to buy and sell used games thanks to the new Xbox’s licensing system that required all titles to be installed to disk and registered with an Xbox LIVE account. Thankfully, it’s not as bad as was first feared, though it’s not great either.
According to Microsoft, gamers will indeed be able to play used games so long as the makers of said games allow it. In other words, Microsoft is putting the framework in place for licenses to be transferred between individuals and stores, but it will be up to individual publishers as to whether they allow it or not. We’d assume they will, if only to avoid the negative press, but the option is there for them regardless. Fingers crossed none of them get greedy!
As for lending games to friends, that’s not a problem. At least, it’s not so long as you only want to do it once and that friend has been on your Friends List for at least 30 days. Odd, we know. We’re not overly keen on that limit of one lend, and the Friends List thing just seems, well, weird. Presumably the licensing will work by looking at your account via that friend’s. No friend, no license. Hmm. It’s not clear whether Microsoft’s use of the word ‘give’ rather than ‘lend’ in its posts is telling or not, either. We’re just assuming that the game can be ‘given’ back to its rightful owner, but we’re concerned about the choice of words here. Things still aren’t as clear as they could be, certainly.
Microsoft also says that the Xbox One will need to connect to Xbox LIVE once every 24 hours in order to get licensing updates and, if that connection is not established, no games will work. We’re looking forward to the first time those servers go down for a couple of days – that’ll be great fun.
Microsoft also mentioned privacy concerns in its posts, with the new Kinect’s always-on listening ability causing people to apparently panic in the belief Microsoft wants to listen to ever word uttered in their living room. Not the case, according to Microsoft. Apparently the Kinect will only be listening for the phrase ‘Xbox On’ and will not record anything unless those words are spoken.The feature can be turned off completely, too.
In what should have been a series of posts to clear up any Xbox One confusion, Microsoft has somehow managed to leave some questions still unanswered. With E3 around the corner, let’s hope those questions get answered sooner rather than later.