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Xbox One always online? "The answer is no"

Xbox One always online? "The answer is no"

Tue 21 May 2013 6:30pm GMT / 2:30pm EDT / 11:30am PDT
Hardware

Xbox UK marketing director squashes always on rumours, but used game position remains ambiguous, and backwards compatibility is out

Xbox UK marketing director Harvey Eagle has confirmed that Xbox One will require neither a constant internet connection, nor will it block used games.

At a London event to coincide with the Xbox One unveiling in Seattle, Eagle was blunt when addressing the widespread concern that the new console would need constant connection to the internet to function.

"The answer is no," he said. Xbox One will be able to play games, watch stored video and play Blu-rays regardless of online stability. However, the features of the system have been built with the internet and the cloud in mind.

"Xbox One is designed to always be connected to the internet," he added.

Eagle also addressed two other hot-button topics: used games and backwards compatibility.

On the former, the news is hopeful, if somewhat ambiguous. Eagle stated that Xbox One, "will support the trading and re-selling of used games," though he mentioned that a number of "policies as to how that will work" were still being discussed. Further details will be shared in due course, but the console will not fundamnetally block used games in any way.

For backwards compatibility, on the other hand, the picture is altogether more bleak. The architecture of the Xbox One will preclude Xbox 360 games from being played on the hardware, and the same is true of digital games downloaded through Xbox Live. All music and movies will be available to download through the revamped online service, but Xbox 360 game software will not be compatible with the Xbox One.

11 Comments

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,517 1,302 0.9
Currently the only source for a more detailed account of how used games will work is here:

http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2013/05/xbox-one-analysis/

That creaking sound you hear is the internet collapsing in on itself.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 21st May 2013 7:59pm

Posted:A year ago

#1
Quote from that article:
"What follows naturally from this is that each disc would have to be tied to a unique Xbox Live account, else you could take a single disc and pass it between everyone you know and copy the game over and over. Since this is clearly not going to happen, each disc must then only install for a single owner.

Microsoft did say that if a disc was used with a second account, that owner would be given the option to pay a fee and install the game from the disc, which would then mean that the new account would also own the game and could play it without the disc."

As far as I read it, thats a solid "no" to used games, at least in the retailer "used game" sense. So which one is it?

The whole point of "used games" is the ownership of the game is tied to the ownership of the disc. Whoever has the disc at the time owns/can play the game. I don't mind mandatory hard disk installs, but then if the original disk is in the drive it should *always* just work.

If their new definition of "used game" is the original user "on-selling" their digital rights back to Microsoft, so the disc can be used to enable the next user... urgh. It would mean no-second hand One games (urgh, I hate that monikor :P) could be sold at retail.

Posted:A year ago

#2

Andreas Gschwari
Senior Games Designer

556 607 1.1
If having to pay a small fee to play a used game is true, i will send MS a big THANK YOU card. Provided they don't keep the fee entirely to themselves, but pass it on to publisher/developer.

It is essentially EA's online pass rolled out across a platform and that would be fantastic!

It will not stop second hand sales, and that is not the intention i believe, but it will force retail to sell used copies at a much cheaper rate, so less profit for them. That in turn might actually make the consider twice before actively trying to sell used copies over new copies. Buying a used copy and paying the fee will probably still be a little (if not much) cheaper to a consumer than purchasing a brand new copy.

@Michael: in theory that works, if you link an install to the disc - i.e. you make it mandatory to have the disc in the drive to play the game, but it does sort of make the whole install part useless. the console has enough memory and the blueray drive is fast enough to just allow for streaming/loading from the drive - so installing would never really be necessary.

Posted:A year ago

#3

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,156 1,075 0.5
Bleh. The no backwards compatibility thing will kill this off for those who want ONE console but still play an "old" game like last year's Forza or whatever else they didn't get to. Microsoft is basically treating those games as an old OS, but they're about to find out that some of us don't upgrade to next year's version of any game when mandated...

Posted:A year ago

#4

Axel Cushing
Writer / Blogger

103 129 1.3
@Andreas
From the description, this sounds like a potentially horrendous idea under a certain and very common condition, and I'd be holding off on that thank you card. Re-read the quote, and pay close attention to the italics.
"What follows naturally from this is that each disc would have to be tied to a unique Xbox Live account, else you could take a single disc and pass it between everyone you know and copy the game over and over. Since this is clearly not going to happen, each disc must then only install for a single owner.

Microsoft did say that if a disc was used with a second account, that owner would be given the option to pay a fee and install the game from the disc, which would then mean that the new account would also own the game and could play it without the disc."
How many Xbox Live accounts are on your 360 right now? For some people, it's only one, likely because they're single or they're the only gamer in the house. For others, particularly housemates or families sharing a 360, it's one for each person. Looking at the wording there, one person might buy a game, but nobody else in the house could play it without paying a fee. If I'm married, and my wife gets home before me, wants to clock some hours on Watch_Dogs, she'd have to buy another key. If I have 3 kids and they want to play the next Viva Pinata! after finishing their homework, each of them has to have a key.

Portability has been the one virtue of console games since their inception. A Steam-style licensing scheme, which makes sense on a PC (insofar as EULAs make "sense"), is idiocy on a console. If Microsoft is really going this direction, they have just shot themselves in the foot.

Posted:A year ago

#5
@Andreas: That doesn't make sense to me.

Person 1 buys a game. They install it and play it. They give the disc to person 2 who installs it.

Here are the scenarios:
1/ Person 2 can't play the game at all. They need to buy a new activation code, which is the full game price.
2/ Person 2 can play the game straight off. This will never happen, as its unlimited piracy.
3/ Person 2 can play the game, but only after person 1 has "deregistered" the game. There is no fee (as there should be, i.e. lending a physical disc to someone else).
4/ Same as '3', but person 2 has to buy a "2nd-hand" activation fee.
5/ Same as '3', but person 1 gets some money credited.

Note that all of the above scenarios *require* an internet connection during installation and registration. If your console is offline - bad luck.

Posted:A year ago

#6

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,156 1,075 0.5
@Axel: Great point, but of course, given that Viva Pinata is a 360 title, it won't work at all on that Xbox One (hee hee). Anyway, yeah - this will be happy fun-fun time in some households if the wallet needs to keep coming out when a game needs to be played under certain conditions. That's probably one reason why backwards compatibility is a no-show. You can't charge someone to play a game they own already AND it's a great way of foisting another new business model going forward on consumers used to it on mobile and tablet devices who might buy into the One as their "only" entertainment solution...

Yeah, Microsoft wants people like me to dry up and blow away, but I'm not planning to...

Posted:A year ago

#7

Andreas Gschwari
Senior Games Designer

556 607 1.1
Do you guys honestly believe that a big corporation like MS would not have thought about these very issues?

@Axel: apart from the fact that i personally don't see a problem with people in the same household using the same account, i would expect MS to do something similar as most telephone providers: create a family account. link accounts together and (similar to what apple has done for years) allow content to be shared with a maxium of X accounts. Realistically how many Xbox accounts do you need to have in one household? 3, maybe 4 at the most?

Perhaps this could even be extended to have a few "close friends" - who i can lend games to. i.e. they can be added to the "authorized account" list. Apple allows what? 6 computers? and it allows me to burn a song 4 times? 5 maybe?

@Michael:

I don't see where the issue is. Personally i doubt someone activating a used copy will ever pay full price for activation, but we won't know till w see the price tags.
But requiring an online connection (temporarily) to activate a used copy certainly is not an issue. particularly not if that step is not required when buying new.
All this says is "Hey you are buying a used copy, which is ok, but we do charge a bit to activate and you do need to be online briefly. If you don't like that, you always have the option to buy a new copy." - where is the issue here?

I love the fact that so many people jump to conclusions and it is so easy to see money grabbing, and disregard of the core gamer everywhere. Every single statement that MS made yesterday can be taken and, depending on personal preference, can be either seen as a good or a bad thing.

The truth is, it does not really matter what any of us think. MS has chosen a path, some details are not yet know and at the end of the day it will come down to:

- pricing of the console at launch
- games and other products available on the console in the first year

If they get both of those right, the console will sell and if the console sells, nothing else matters.

If the console does not sell, many of you can make a gloating "i told you so post" :)

Posted:A year ago

#8

James Prendergast
Research Chemist

735 430 0.6
@ Andreas: Considering MS just rescinded their family Live! subscription plan I think we know the direction they are heading in.

Also pretty sure that, same as Origin and Steam, you're not allowed to let anyone else play on your account either. I'll have to check XBL terms of service but I'd be surprised if it wasn't there. This also tallies in with the need for once-per-24 hr activation/authentication checks to stop multiple people being able to play the game off the HDD on multiple xbox ones when offline.

As for the second copy - install from the disc - it's been confirmed that it will be full listed retail price. For resale of a licence (and thus removal of the original purchaser's ability to play the game) that's not been mentioned yet.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by James Prendergast on 22nd May 2013 1:44pm

Posted:A year ago

#9

Felix Leyendecker
Senior 3D Artist

181 200 1.1
@Andreas:

Based on the information released, let's look at how it could work in practice.
a) You want to lend a game to a friend. You can't.
b) You want to sell a game to a friend. He would normally pay you, say, 15 bucks, cause you're buddies, but now MS wants a 10$ cut too. Do you only take 5 bucks from your friend? Does he grudgingly pay 25$?
What if MS purposely makes activation fees so prohibitively high that they might as well ban used games altogether?

As much as I'd like to get a cut from second hand sales as a dev, I have trouble seeing how this wouldn't be blatantly anti-consumer. The only actual advantage is being able to play without the disc.

Posted:A year ago

#10
To be able to track these transactions requires a connected console - period.

Stop claiming it dose not need constantly connected, then say oh it needs partial connection!

This is a sham, and spells more of a problem for the industry than anyone wants to admit!

Posted:A year ago

#11

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