Xbox One sharing groups not restricted to family

Phil Spencer says that ten-strong groups can be composed of friends or family

The Xbox One's policies will allow users to share their game libraries with any ten people of their choosing - not just family members.

Before now, Microsoft had described its game-sharing policy as including up to ten "family members," but it appears that this was a turn of phrase, and not a literal description of the policy's requirements.

In an interview with Penny Arcade, Microsoft Game Studios boss Phil Spencer explained that, while Microsoft conceived of the strategy around a family group, there will be no restrictions on who can be included - friends, roommates, anybody.

"I think the policy makes sense," Spencer said. "It's not ten different people all playing the game concurrently, but when you think about a real usage scenario, and we thought about it around a family, and I know certain people will create a family group of people that aren't all part of the same family.

"And I do think that's an advantage, and people will use that. I saw it on NeoGAF instantly, the Xbox Family creation threads, where people said 'Hey be a part of my family'... I do think that's an advantage of the ecosystem that we have."

When it came to the specifics of concurrent use, Spencer seemed unsure of the details, referring Penny Arcade to Microsoft's official statement on the matter. The official wording reads:

"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."

Penny Arcade cited a separate report from Ars Technica, which revealed that only one person from a group can play each game from the user's library at a given time.

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Latest comments (14)

Christopher Thigpen Lead Producer, Kiz Studios4 years ago
I envision that you will be able to pay to increase that number from 10 to whatever.

Another consumer gouging "feature" that will dig Xbone own grave.

All of this ignorant and pompous attitudes coming from the execs is just hard to watch. It is disgusting.
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Jens Mogensen Game Reviewer, Geek Culture4 years ago
I don't get it.

"Lending won't be available at launch" they say. How is this not lending?
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At some point a key MS executive (board level) is going to kick open the XBone teams door and shout "enough" then take control of managing statements and directing operation. At that point they will look round the office and ask why they have so many 'chiefs' and start working out who is expendable - anyone fancy a game of executive bingo?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by kevin williams on 14th June 2013 10:34pm

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Show all comments (14)
Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd4 years ago
Oh phew, because we'd all assumed you'd need to pass a DNA test.
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This makes even less sense now to me. What defines this relationship? On your account do you define up to 10 other accounts in "your family"? What is to stop a group of 10 friends buying one game each, and having access to 10 games? I cant even see how they could stop people from playing concurrently, unless its an online game.

The *confusion* around their policies is becoming more of an issue than the policies themselves... :?
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MS needs to lock all its suits, PR and marketing folks in a room for 1 week and say ABSOLUTELY nothing. Let the flames die down and then, appoint ONE only one mouthpiece to clear up all this kerfuffle.

Its embarrassing. And all the strategies for damage limitation just comes out less than effective by disparate voices.

RIght about now, MS needs a Kevin Butler
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 4 years ago
@Dr. C. Welll... they already tried the silent treatment after the initial reveal, remember? Then it was

All will be revealed at E3. The Great Convergence will take place. The Revolution WILL Be Televised and all that stuff. I've read the license and all of the resulting addendum or six and too many interviews that say different things or enhance the worst parts and nope, if anything, it was lemming off a cliff with shovels to did deeper graves and wondering "why all the questions? We answered everything we wanted to know we thought you wanted to know, so what gives?"

Some say it's all about backwards compatibility anger issues amongst a select few, but that's a tiny part given that Mattrick lit that bomb first and threw it into the crowds:

probably thinking it would be met with giggles and nods and "Yeah!"s from anyone wanting a new Xbox as they thumbed their noses at the little people always swept under the rug during these big shifts and that would be that.

Since then, it's more about who can and can't use the new system/service/digital Slap Chop for games content and it's to the point that if they try walking anything back, I'd bet many wouldn't buy it thanks to the license that states they can and will change anything at any time.

All they need to do now is add a Darth Vader voice box to the Kinect that notifies "owners" of system updates with:

"I'm altering the deal... pray I don't alter it any further...."

and it's a wrap...
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John Bye Lead Designer, Future Games of London4 years ago
See, this actually sounds like it could be a really good deal, depending on the precise implementation. If anything it's massively open to abuse. I can let any ten friends play all my games without having to pay for them, as long as only one of them is playing each game at a time? Really? How did the publishers let that one through? Microsoft should be shouting about this from the roof tops if it's really that open.

The fact that it's got lost amongst all the furor about online activation and used game restrictions shows just how badly Microsoft have communicated what Xbox One actually does and why it might be good for you in some ways. I mean, the fact that even the boss of Microsoft Game Studios apparently doesn't fully understand how it works doesn't bode well.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by John Bye on 15th June 2013 11:02am

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Petter Solberg Freelance Writer & Artist, 4 years ago
I think this is actually a positive turn. I'm not a fan of all the other restrictions that are imposed on the XBOX One consumbers, but I think having an ecosystem that actually encourages people to share their game library rather than having the games sitting on the digital shelf collecting dust (pixels) is a way to add value for the consumer. I buy Forza and you can buy the next kinect-based fitness game and we can swap.

Overall, I do think Microsoft has gone too far with the new strategy. However, paying for a license is nothing new. Adobe is notoriously forcing people to pay unreasonable upgrade prices for their software suites because they're dropping support on their previous products. Software development costs money of course, but using these same strategies for a game is taking it too far I think. There are more ways than one to make a buck.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Petter Solberg on 15th June 2013 6:55pm

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Edward Buffery Head of LQA (UK), Testronic4 years ago
I've always enjoyed being able to play my housemates' games on their consoles but with my own user profile, looks like nothing's changing there then. A lot of people defending MS have stated 'It's no worse than Steam". Well this makes it BETTER than Steam. I'm a PC gamer primarily and would love to share my games library with my friends and housemates but without giving them control of my whole account. Fair enough only letting each game be played by 1 person at a time imo, it's not like the current model let's 5 people run a game off 1 disc simultaneously. Having said that, this is an outsider's perspective, I don't own any of the current generation of consoles and am not planning buy the Xbone or PS4 either.
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 4 years ago
It doesnt matter how much they suger coat it. None of these issues used to be a concern.Why does it have to be restricted to anyone in the first place?.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 17th June 2013 8:56pm

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Yiannis Koumoutzelis Founder & Creative Director, Neriad Games4 years ago
PS4 scenario: 1 Disc = 1 user on one machine. without the disc you can't play at all!

Xbox One Scenario: 1 Disc = 11 Users 2 of which can play simultaneously (the owner and one more) from ANY machine without a disc.
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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd4 years ago
@ Yiannis No one can play simultaneously, also any "family" has to be on your friends list for 1 month before they can share games with you.

PS: There is also a second shared library and it's not clear what the limits are on the games you can put in it (how long after release, how many games total, etc.).

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Nicholas Pantazis on 18th June 2013 12:55am

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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 4 years ago
I am just astonished at how badly MS has marketed all this. There's some really good stuff in what they're doing, and it seems that most of the downsides are consequences of the good stuff, but all everybody's focusing on is the bad, not the good, and that's in large part Microsoft's fault.
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