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Summary:

Microsoft has released a statement hoping to allay gamers’ fears about the Xbox One. But instead, the new details have only fueled gamers concerns about the console.

xbox one feature art

In the two weeks since Microsoft unveiled the  Xbox One, gamers have raised some questions about its latest-generation console: will the Xbox One remain “always” connected to the internet? Will the console work with used games? And how much information can the console glean on any one user at any given time?

Those concerns turned into anxiety, as Microsoft continued to be vague about its policies.It said these questions would be clarified “at a later time.”

Yesterday, the company set up a landing page to address the most important concerns gamers have with the console. But Microsoft’s announcement has only further incited gamers. One meme on Reddit likened the Xbox One to the maniacal AI Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The biggest blow many gamers believe Microsoft has dealt is with game ownership. Right now, you can bring your copy of a game to any buddy’s house, load it up and play on his console — and even bring along your game if you have it on a transportable memory card — with no extra interference. When you’re done, you can hand it off to him to play or trade it in at an outlet like GameStop.

Not so with the Xbox One, which will continue to sell discs in stores but, according to Microsoft, “after signing in and installing, you can play any of your games from any Xbox One because a digital copy of your game is stored on your console and in the cloud.”

In effect, Microsoft plans to use the cloud as a licensing system for games, verifying ownership via an internet connection every 24 hours of gameplay (or every hour on a friend’s console). Users can “share” their games with up to 10 people via Xbox Live, but the same game cannot be played simultaneously. Loaning and renting games will not be possible at launch, and game publishers get to decide if you can resell that license or even give it away to a friend.

While practically confirming gamers’ fears about Xbox One’s DRM system, Microsoft also laid bare the privacy limits of the system. Users will have a strict opt-in when the Kinect has the ability to read and store certain data — including automatic facial recognition and more abstract concepts like recognizing a player’s heart rate — but would withhold some gameplay features if they don’t opt in.

In short, it’s a small win for privacy in a major loss for ownership. Gamers are angry at Microsoft’s decision, which isn’t going to help the console’s image right before E3.

  1. Brian McKraken Friday, June 7, 2013

    You can’t loan apps out on your phone or tablet either. You have a legal way to do so on these new consoles, but the game publishers/developers don’t much care for what gamers really want: Free games from all their friends. Buy once, 20 people get it.

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    1. You’re wrong about loaning games.

      On any iPhone, I can login using my ID, download my purchased game, then log out.

      Sure the game won’t get upgrades without the iPhone owner knowing my password, nor can they make in-app purchases (I don’t give out my password), but they can play to their heart’s content, then delete the game when done (or keep using it, whatever).

      This is a well-known “flaw/feature” in Apple’s AppStore that they have left open since 2008 when the AppStore came out. It’s in Apple’s character and best interests (90%+ of their income is from hardware-related sales).

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    2. Ron McGrath Friday, June 7, 2013

      “Phone or tablet” games are 99 cents. 5.99 for a big one. Not the same.

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    3. You mean like movies, and music, and cars, and furniture, and every other fucking thing in existence ever? Yeah, that’s how ownership works, you twat. I buy it, it’s mine, I can share or sell it to whoever I fucking please. Or maybe I should start charging for people to use my goddamn couch.

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  2. No it is not come on man I am a gamer who cares about those things I care about the next great games the rest mesh I care less so don’t spread the lies

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  3. Forget used games and DRM!

    My biggest concern is that Microsoft/Skype is allowing the FBI and NSA to data mine information on their servers, and the Xbox One has a required camera and microphone tied directly to those servers. I don’t care what information the device supposedly shares, how can the federal government use that device? Are we supposed to believe, in light of recent revelations, that our government won’t bypass any alleged privacy rights?

    Even if you turn it off, as Microsoft says you’ll be able to, look what the feds did in 2006 with their “roving bug” program. Cell phones that were turned off were still used by the FBI to record AND PROSECUTE the Genovese crime family.

    People, you might as well have a telescreen installed in your home!

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    1. @Jake, I agree.

      Privacy is going to be a huge concern with Xbox One. This device has the capability to be a gold mine of personal information if seized in a forensic investigation, or as you said, even the risk of being “mined by the FBI or NSA” (assuming there is a need).

      I will be very interested to sniff out inbound/outbound traffic on my home network and also look into the artifacts left behind locally on this console after I get one of these to play with. Only then, will I be able to see what is within my control to reduce my risk of privacy invasion/data theft/etc…

      Interesting to see how this plays out.

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      1. @ theblogofbryan: If it has this ability why support it by buying the console. Hold off for at least 6 months to a year until they get the picture. They are coming around a little bit on windows 8. Still have a long way to go, but they aren’t going to get the picture unless sales in all areas are hit hard.

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  4. @Brian McKraken

    Tablet and phone apps cost less than a dollar mostly. When people start paying $60 for a game they swap them between friends. Nothing wrong with that.

    “You have a legal way to do so on these new consoles”

    It is 100% legal for me to lend you any of my games or books or dvds or cds for as long as I want. Don’t get brainwashed.

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  5. every drug dealer is going to but the ps4 now. they sure don’t want kinect spying on them.

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    1. Frill Artist Friday, June 7, 2013

      Yes because only drug dealers care about their privacy…

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      1. Not true at all, where did this attitude come from that it is okay for anyone to monitor you or have in the terms of service agreement that they can? What is wrong with you people? Your privacy is a right, you should exercise it.

        I am not a drug deal, in fact I am a criminologist. The government has to go through a process to gather information. Since 9/11 those processes have been not just lightened but completely ignored. I do not want a microphone or camera in my home that collects data on me. Its ridiculous. This is the kind of crap that goes on in communist nations or you would expect. Its worse than anything Iran has with talking to someone from out of the country makes you a spy working with the enemy.

        This is ridiculous that you are all such doormats unwilling to realize that you don’t need this type of monitoring. It is unnecessary and only leads to oppression. Its also expensive and a waste of money. Why have all these servers running just to listen to what I am doing on Xbox.

        Can you imagine where this could go?

        Xbox has licensed you and one other user to watch a film you no longer own it. 3rd person enters the room. Pay for another license or don’t watch the film. You think you should be monitored on what you can do with something you purchased? I bought a DVD and stick in my xbox which has a digital rights management integrated. Oh you must register who can watch this before you watch the disc.

        A mature rated game in your home? Well Xbox has detected a child playing it. This is child abuse and Child services has been called.

        A decibel increase was noticed in your home, you and your wife were having an argument, police have been notified to check on the situation.

        Sounds crazy right? But these are things that have been proposed through other means already. There is no need for it.

        This level of monitoring is ridicuous. For what? Our safety? To stop pirating? for Marketing purposes. I don’t want to be monitored and recorded in any way shape or form. I will go technologyless if this is the trend.

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  6. Frill Artist Friday, June 7, 2013

    Microsoft can go f**k themselves for all I care. I’m done with Xbox. At this point, the PS4 looks more attractive to me. Used game fees, mandatory kinect, required internet connection. What a load of crap.

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  7. I really feel that Microsoft has gone too far with the DRM on the Xbox One. It checks once every 24 hours when you are playing at home and once every hour when you play at a friend’s place. I guess this means you can’t play without an Internet connection. I understand why publishers want Microsoft to go this route, but I don’t think it’s the way to go. There are just too many restrictions. It is so anti consumer. I wonder if Sony will implement something similar.

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  8. I’m getting Xbox one because all the whiney complainers will now be on ps4 so have fun playing on psn

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  9. This is outrageous. Mark this date on your calenders folks…because today marks the end of Microsoft’s dominance in Western markets. Such a shame…

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  10. Microsoft’s arrogance and complacency will eventually be their undoing. Windows 8 has floundered because MS tried to force Metro on their users. The same will happen with the One. MS flat out lied about used games.

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    1. Never lie to your consumers and treat them like children who don’t know whats good for them.

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