Xbox One, the Internet, and You

In wake of the Xbox One announcement many questions remained unanswered. As we now look back on yesterday’s event, the presentation Microsoft delivered is quickly being ripped apart.

Some conveniently unmentioned concerns of significance were brought to light post-conference and some of the answers to our questions are, for the lack of a better word, disturbing. In particular, the hot topics of used games and an “always online” console were blanked from the conference entirely, but that didn’t keep everyone from asking Microsoft what the deal was. Initially the answers were varied and unclear to the point where it was as if Microsoft executives were contradicting each other, but they seem to have found a rapport.

xbox one
The only thing agreed upon? The Price Is Right.

As far as we know, at least until another possible answer change comes about, the Xbox One is not technically always online, but it requires an internet connection. While you don’t need an internet connection to play your games, the initial game registration on the console is done by an online means. There is also a mandatory daily check-in that the Xbox One must complete, though there is no word on what happens if it doesn’t. When confronted about the relationship with the Xbox One has used games, Microsoft corporate vice president Phil Harrison responded with a few consumer-unfriendly answers.

Registration codes are used to install your game online for “permission to play that game” and is paired with both your console and user account. All accounts on the console may access the game but access from any other account is restricted. For example, each family members account on the console is granted access, but if you’re lending a game –unless signed into the buyers account– it will require a fee to play of up to the games full price.

“You can give [a game] to your friend and they can install it on an Xbox One. They would then have to purchase the right to play that game through Xbox Live,” says Harrison.

[Editor’s note: This sounds exactly like how installing and activating a game on PC works. You buy the physical box from the store, install it from the disc to your hard drive, and then it becomes tied to your Steam/Original/Battle.net account.]

xbox one
Borrowing: Free to play? No, fee to play.

This proves problematic in the used game market because, by association, a resold game would require a fee to register on the new account regardless. Used game vendors like GameStop, the world’s largest buyer and seller of used video games, will especially hurt under this new system as there is no depreciation post-purchase to bring in customers looking for deals. Microsoft does provide the option to resell over Xbox Live, but when asked if the price the second buyer would pay is less or the same Harrison responded by saying, “Let’s assume it’s a new game, so the answer is yes, it will be the same price.”

Regardless of how much we like these answers, a respect for journeying into unknown territory must be given.

When most of the gadgets we carry on us daily are tethered to the internet and the used game market can be so damaging to the gaming industry and its developers, its a wonder that these features haven’t happened sooner.

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