Conflicting reports regarding used games and required internet connections for Xbox One

Coming out of the press event today in Redmond, we hoped to have confirmed reports of how Xbox One would function for used games and if it would require an internet connection at all times.  This unfortunately is still an incredible point of confusion for all who have been following the news.  To put it bluntly, I don’t even think Microsoft knows how each of these will work for the Xbox One.

According to an Microsoft’s own Q&A section regarding the Xbox One, the Xbox One does not require an “always-online” connection. “No, it does not have to be always connected, but Xbox One does require a connection to the Internet. We’re designing Xbox One to be your all-in-one entertainment system that is connected to the cloud and always ready. We are also designing it so you can play games and watch Blu-ray movies and live TV if you lose your connection.“.

In regards to used games the wire has the following to say “We are designing Xbox One to enable customers to trade in and resell games. We’ll have more details to share later.”

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Microsoft’s Vice President Phil Harrison

Both of these sounds great at first, but when coupled with other reports, things get a little hazy.  In an interview with Stephen Totilo, Microsoft Vice President Phil Harrison told Kotaku that the console would need to be connected to the internet every twenty fours hours.  He explained this by saying “There are many devices in your life that require the Internet to function.  Xbox One is no different in that it requires, at some point in the beginning and at various times through its on state, to connect to our cloud and to our Internet. That is to deliver Xbox Live functionality, that is to deliver download content to you, that is to deliver some of the innovations around TV and entertainment that we showed today. But it doesn’t require it to be online all the time.”  This is news is bound to make those who play Xbox on military bases or places without strong broadband quite angry.  I reached out to Microsoft for confirmation on this information, but they could not conduct the interview at this time.  Further compounding this confusion is a statement issued to Polygon, saying that what Spencer told Kotaku were “potential scenarios”

The used game question is even further up in the air.  With the earlier mention of Microsoft allowing customers to “trade in and resell games”, reports began to surface saying that any used or second-hand games would require an additional fee when installed to the new console (All games must be installed to play according to a fact sheet I received from Microsoft).  Microsoft’s support page on twitter went to dismiss this rumor at first, but conflicting tweets later on would suggest they are still not sure.   

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The Xbox One, with controller and Kinect

One would assume a fee is something simple like a $10 online pass, most notably connected with companies like EA (who recently discontinued them), but according to an additional interview Kotaku had with Phil Harrison this fee will be the full cost of the new game.  He also said that each title would come with a ” unique code that you enter when you install that game” (Think online pass for every game, even if it’s a completely single player title).  Assuming you paid $60 dollars for a new title and then wanted to play it at a friends, your friend then has to buy the new title for full price.  Spencer did mention that Microsoft is working on a solution that would allow user to trade previously played Xbox One games, but they weren’t giving any further details today.  Larry Hryb, aka Major Nelson, went on to issue a statement that seems to contradict the first one from Phil Harrison

“We know there is some confusion around used games on Xbox One and wanted to provide a bit of clarification on exactly what we’ve confirmed today. While there have been many potential scenarios discussed, today we have only confirmed that we designed Xbox One to enable our customers to trade in and resell games at retail.

Beyond that, we have not confirmed any specific scenarios.

Another piece of clarification around playing games at a friend’s house – should you choose to play your game at your friend’s house, there is no fee to play that game while you are signed in to your profile.”

It seems incredibly odd that a customer would have to bring their account to a friend’s house to play a game, but then be able to buy and resell the titles at retail.  The earlier statement on Polygon was also offered for used games and their potential resale. 

For additional information on today’s reveal of the Xbox One, take a look at our full recap article.  We will continue to reach out to Microsoft for any further information regard second hand games and the necessity of an internet connection for the console.

This reporter’s take: I think Microsoft is unsure of how these two items will ultimately work, or is back tracking after negative reaction to their decision.  I like the possibilities that a more cloud based console offers, but not when I have to be online even once every 24 hours.  If I want to unplugged my Ethernet cable from my PC I can still play games like FTL, Civilizations and many, many more.  The same should be said for Xbox, especially when the US is still in such poor shape for it’s broadband bandwidth compared to many other industrialized nations.  In terms of used games, I want to be able to take my title to a friends house and play, although I can understand from a business perspective why Microsoft would basically stop it.  Simply put, they and other game developers lose money.  At the end of the day though, all of this time for negative press and speculation could end up being to Microsoft’s detriment, as when people have no information they will quickly grasp at any straws they can.  Microsoft needs to come out quickly and give full details on how their console will require the internet (and if each requires gold for that matter) and how playing second-hand games will work.

By, Bobby Marquardt

 

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2 thoughts on “Conflicting reports regarding used games and required internet connections for Xbox One

  1. Pingback: New Xbox revealed, called Xbox One | League of Mediocre Gamers

  2. Pingback: Microsoft confims that the Xbox One will require you to check in online every 24 hours, but used games are allowed if publishers allows it | League of Mediocre Gamers

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