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Xbox One may allow loaning of digital games

Phil Spencer says Microsoft is open to players loaning digital rights to games or giving them as gifts

As digital games become a larger and larger part of the marketplace players expect to be able to do what they please with the games they've paid for. Already Valve allows its players on Steam to give games to friends, and the company also offers a Family Sharing plan to enable users to play each other's games. Microsoft may soon head in that direction too, if recent comments from Microsoft Studios boss Phil Spencer are to be believed.

Speaking with GameSpot, the Xbox executive made it clear that his company is fully embracing a digital future and he somewhat justified some of the policies that Microsoft had to reverse course on before launching Xbox One.

"We are now fully heads down on thinking about and building out the future of our digital marketplace to enable what people would expect, and hopefully some things that will delight them beyond their expectations," Spencer said. "I know when I say this I always get beat up, but I think some of what we were trying to say last summer was right."

Spencer made it clear that Microsoft would do a better job of communicating its digital message to players this time around, but it sounds like Microsoft is aiming to just give the audience what it wants.

"We believe in a digital future on our box... what that opens up... we understand what games you own and who you are and how you move around and who you might want to loan rights to your games or gift your games to," Spencer said. "We totally believe in that future. And any other marketplace you play in, these kind of mechanisms are out there."

The Family Sharing plan that Microsoft had envisioned before the company turned 180 degrees on Xbox One policy could be making a comeback soon. E3 will no doubt bring some interesting announcements.

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James Brightman avatar

James Brightman


James Brightman has been covering the games industry since 2003 and has been an avid gamer since the days of Atari and Intellivision. He was previously EIC and co-founder of IndustryGamers and spent several years leading GameDaily Biz at AOL prior to that.