Microsoft backtracks on Xbox One sharing policies

Microsoft backtracks on Xbox One sharing policies
Photo provided by CNN
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POSTED: Thursday, June 20, 2013 - 1:00am

UPDATED: Thursday, June 20, 2013 - 1:04am

Reacting to "feedback from the Xbox community," it appears Microsoft is reversing course and changing two key components to policies for its new Xbox One video game console.

All disc-based games can be played without ever connecting online, and the 24-hour connection requirement has been dropped, according to an update to a May post concerning questions about the new console.

Additionally, there will be no limitations to using and sharing games, Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business division, says in the post. People will be able to share, trade or resell their games in the same way they do for Xbox 360 games.

The changes indicate Microsoft is having second thoughts about some of its future plans with the Xbox One. The post read, "Update on June 19, 2013: As a result of feedback from the Xbox community, we have changed certain policies for Xbox One reflected in this blog. Some of this information is no longer accurate."

The company has been taking a public berating since it announced restrictions to used games and their requirement for an Internet connection. Consumers have been reacting with anger over the policies, but the tipping point may have been when Jimmy Fallon, host of "Late Night," pointed out that only the PlayStation 4 could freely play used games, which created more confusion.

The flogging became worse when Sony took to the stage at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) trade show and pointedly did not include such restrictions for the new PlayStation 4. A YouTube video produced by Sony made fun of the used-game restriction by showing how people could share games on the PlayStation 4 -- by just handing them to another person.

The new Xbox One used-games policy only affects disc-based games. Titles downloaded through Xbox Live cannot be shared or resold. Also, disc-based games must have the disc inside the console to play.

The changes being made also affect its proposed family sharing policy. Since Microsoft is allowing players to have the flexibility to use games offline, it will not be launching its family sharing plan, which would have allowed up to 10 family members to log in and play games from anywhere.

However, Marc Whitten, chief product officer for Xbox, told CNN the company still believes very deeply in its digital vision.

"So much of what we've built around our digital ecosystem still works," Whitten said. "It's what we building in how you can use your games. Our online vision and the Xbox One architecture really power the complete new experience in how the Cloud changes everything and we're massively invested in this."

He also said the flexibility the company added for physical-disc play will not change for the life of the Xbox One.

Whitten said there are no changes surrounding the addition of Kinect with the Xbox One. He said the company believes the motion sensor/controller is critical to building out the next generation experiences gamers are craving.

The Xbox One will cost about $100 more than Sony's PlayStation 4 ($499 versus $399), but officials at the Redmond, Washington-based company believe their console will be worth the value.

"While we believe that the majority of people will play games online and access the cloud for both games and entertainment, we will give consumers the choice of both physical and digital content," Whitten wrote in the blog post. "We have listened and we have heard loud and clear from your feedback that you want the best of both worlds." 

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