The Average Gamer

Xbox One: Pre-Owned, Not Always Online

Xbox One System
A swathe of new information is coming out about the Xbox One from the teams of journalists who either saw it prior to the Xbox Reveal broadcast or are across the pond right now. Sadly, I am not one of them so instead, I am scouring the internet for the most interesting and reliable news.

Probably the most reliable, if rather sales-y source is the official Xbox One FAQ. Among the justifications for an internet connection and Kinect you’ll find solid answers about always-on, backwards compatibility, gamertag transfers, power usage and more.

Pre-owned Games Will May Need a Fee

Speaking to Wired, Microsoft have said through an email that all games must be installed to the hard disk in order to play. If a disc is used with a second account, that owner will be given the option to pay a fee for installing the game.

I know, I know, this will be an unpopular decision. Still, I can’t help sympathising with the developers and publishers that see no return on pre-owned games. As long as they get a significant portion of that fee, I’m okay with it.

That said, the Wired article is unclear on whether the game is fully tied to an account or if it will be licenced to both the account and the console, as currently happens with downloadable Xbox games. If I buy a game I’d certainly expect Nick to be able to play it on our living room machine and if we get a second Xbox One for some unknown reason, I’d expect to be able to play it there, too. Steam has tied games to accounts years, but that feels different for no reason that I can really justify. Probably because I’ve had my own PC for years but the consoles are shared machines?

Edit: Speaking to Eurogamer’s Tom Bramwell, Microsoft VP Phil Harrison confirmed that there will be a pre-owned fee. Speaking to the internet at large, the official Xbox Twitter account have said there will not be a fee. The official line from Microsoft to MCV says “We are designing Xbox One to enable customers to trade in and resell games. We’ll have more details to share later.” while a tweet from T3 reporter Matt Hill says that you’ll be transfer unique game disc licences across the internet so that a game is only licences to one person at a time.

There might be a fee.

That said, other gamers will still be able to play it on your console, consistent with the restrictions on Xbox 360 downloadable games at the moment. According to a report from Kotaku, Harrison made this clear:

Here’s how the system works: when you buy an Xbox One game, you’ll get a unique code that you enter when you install that game. You’ll have to connect to the Internet in order to authorize that code, and the code can only be used once. Once you use it, that game will then be linked to your Xbox Live account. “It sits on your harddrive and you have permission to play that game as long as you’d like,” Harrison said.

Other users on the console will be able to play that game as well, Harrison said. So you don’t need to buy multiple games per family. “With the built-in parental controls of the system it is shared amog the users of the device,” he said.
Jason Schreier, You Will Be Able To Trade Xbox One Games Online, Microsoft Says

In the same article, he outlined what would happen if you gave your game disc to a friend.

“The bits that are on that disc, you can give it to your friend and they can install it on an Xbox One,” he said. “They would then have to purchase the right to play that game through Xbox Live.”

“They would be paying the same price we paid, or less?” we asked.

“Let’s assume it’s a new game, so the answer is yes, it will be the same price,” Harrison said.

Games Could Be Always-Online

In the same Wired article, they learned that while the console isn’t always online, there could well be games that require it. Much like Maxis did for SimCity, Microsoft will allow Xbox One developers to use their Azure cloud computing service to perform some calcuations remotely.

Edit: Techradar are reporting that in a Q&A session UK Xbox marketing director Harvey Eagle confirmed that the console does not need to be always online but does need an internet connection. There no info yet on why the connection is required.

It’s not Backwards-Compatible

Speaking to The Verge, Microsoft Xbox Live VP Marc Whitten confirmed that the Xbox One will not play Xbox 360 games. If you’re planning to buy the One, you’d better get cracking on that pile of shame.

It Won’t Function Without Kinect

In a very brief story on IGN, Xbox’s UK marketing director Harvey Eagle said that the Xbox One won’t work if you disconnect the Kinect. Presumably you can just turn it to face the wall or drop it down the back of the cupboard if you keep your Xbox One in the bedroom and worry about accidentally Skyping your boss while getting changed.

Xbox Live Gold Will Carry Over

From the official FAQ, “You do not need to buy a new Xbox Live Gold membership. Your current membership will work on both Xbox 360 and Xbox One.” This implies pretty heavily that you’ll still have to pay for Xbox Live Gold but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Gold is still required for online multiplayer or other features that currently need it.

Friends List Cap is 1000

You can now have up to 1000 friends on Xbox Live, as reported by ShackNews but originally posted on Twitter by Xbox Support.