Not too long after giving an extremely unconvincing argument on the consumer benefits of ‘DRM’ (digital rights management) features, Microsoft have offered a rare announcement of more positive features for the upcoming Xbox One console, although they will come as little consolation for what has already been heard.
The pre-E3 announcement fills the gap on some of the more mysterious elements of the DRM approach that Microsoft claimed they themselves had not yet figured out, but it appears now as though more of the policies they will implement are a lot clearer, and that for potential buyers a little more bearable than the previous ‘worst case scenario’ believed to be occurring.
For installed games assigned to a cloud, the installation process will ensure that they are available in a player’s ‘cloud’ at point it is registered, and is able to be ‘shared’ free of charge with ‘up to ten family members’. Meanwhile, no fee will be issued for allowing a friend to borrow a title, although that person is required to have been on the owner’s Xbox Live friend list for a minimum of 30 days beforehand.
Meanwhile, game owners will also be permitted to ‘trade, trade-in or resell’ discs through the previously-established Xbox One DRM methods, on the provision that the game’s publishers ‘allow it’.
Microsoft’s official ‘licence page’ for the console explains while perhaps missing the point somewhat: “We designed Xbox One so game publishers can enable you to trade in your games at participating retailers. Microsoft does not charge a platform fee to retailers, publishers, or consumers for enabling transfer of these games.”
In addition, it was confirmed that the console does allow offline gameplay, though only for a maximum 24-hour period on the ‘primary console’, while limited to 1 hour when accessing on a ‘secondary console’ via the cloud, with the game presumably shutting down after these points if it cannot access a connection for verification or update purposes. Generously, though, Microsoft claim all traditional viewable media-based services such as live TV, and DVD/Blu-ray watching will be available offline with no such restrictions.
The American company have also claimed that the ‘Kinect privacy concerns’ will not be as severe as many imagine, claiming that the voice and motion-sensor camera will be able to be ‘paused’, with the website noting: “If you don’t want the Kinect sensor on while playing games or enjoying your entertainment, you can pause Kinect. To turn off your Xbox One, just say ‘Xbox Off.’ When the system is off, it’s only listening for the single voice command — ‘Xbox On,’ and you can even turn that feature off too.”
So, the Xbox One will not be as much of an omnipotent media god in its customers’ homes as previously feared, each day leading up to the console’s release is making the end to this video below more and more prophetic: