Microsoft Officially Admits What We Suspected About One
Microsoft released a lot of information yesterday on the Xbox One, must of which had been swirling around as rumors since the reveal, but we now have confirmation straight from the source. Sort of. Most of it is still vague, PR bullshit but it’s better than what we had.
Perhaps they’re just trying to get out in front of E3 and take all the bad press now so they can focus on games, because most of these aren’t going to be popular. Ever since the original release Aaron Greenberg’s twitter account has basically been a loop of “don’t worry gamers, we’ll tell you all about how the Xbox is for at E3!” Honestly, I think saying all this before Sony’s E3 press conference is a big risk. If I’m Sony I don’t care if we planned the PS4 to have all this exact same shit in it, I would spend all of E3 saying “we won’t do any of this!” and then just remove any feature that was built in. We won’t have a verdict on Microsoft’s gamble by releasing this stuff now until long after E3, though.
Anyway, what’s been confirmed by Microsoft so far:
- You can put up to 10 people onto an Xbox One “family,” and they can share any content you have regardless of which console you’re using. This could be really cool, except that Microsoft was extremely vague on what this meant; all they said is people will have access to a “shared games” folder. Will it be like the Xbox Live family plan? Can I just add 9 other people to an account? Will everyone on the account have access to the main account (i.e., the associated credit card)? I presume this was announced before everything was ironed out to soften the blow of another bit discussed below.
- Responding to fear of privacy concerns, Microsoft has now said the Kinect must always be plugged in but it can be turned off. And while it must be on while the system is on, you can “pause” it during games. So… it is still on. And… it’s actually still on when you turn it “off”, but it’s totally only listening for if you say “Xbox On.” Trust us, guys.
- Limitations on giving and loaning games. Again, Microsoft is being extremely vague here but it appears you can’t simply give your games to someone. According to the press release you can only give a game to someone who has been on your friends list for at least 30 days and “a game can only be given once.” What that entails exactly Microsoft refused to specify. If I give a game to someone, can they then give that game from their account or is that game permanently stamped with a “given” label and is no longer accessible to any Xbox One but the second person’s? To make matters worse, it appears that Microsoft plans to allow for loaning games but you won’t be able to loan games at launch. Yes, the ability to let a friend try out a game, which has been available since Atari, is something Microsoft will have to patch later. But Maybe the Xbox Family will take care of this problem. Unless you decide to loan a game to someone outside of the 10 people on your account.
- Used game sales will be allowed at “participating retailers” but only if the game’s publishers allow it. Yes, you know, the people who in absolutely no way want you to be able to buy used games? They’ll be making the call. I’m sure Game Stop can convince these corporations not to try and make extra money by letting us continue to buy used games though, guys. No fears.
- 24 hour check in rule confirmed again, still no talk of exceptions to the policy. This remains a hard no-sale for me if the Xbox One is released with this feature as is. I’ve mentioned before that the Xbox One shares some of its processing power with the cloud, which means server outages will make even some single player games unplayable a la Sim City. And if you’re playing on your account on someone else’s Xbox One (presumably this would include people in the Xbox Family network), you must check in every hour. This is still a gigantic middle finger to the 22% of North America without internet, or the 37% of Europe without internet… or the 65% of the world’s population that doesn’t have regular internet access.
But hey, at least it has a dog, right?