While Microsoft has already announced that anyone can share physical discs made for the Xbox One with anyone else with no restrictions, the company decided to discontinue earlier plans to have up to 10 family members share games from one Xbox One user. Now it appears Microsoft has had a partial change of heart and will allow Xbox One owners to share their digital games and apps with others.
In a post on the Xbox Wire site, Microsoft Xbox exec Marc Whitten wrote that anyone can start playing digital games loaded on an Xbox One console by signing in with their Xbox Live gamertag, even if the owner of that console is not signed in with his own Xbox Live account. He added:
Because your digital games go with you, you can also use and share digital games when you sign in to another console. And, if you happen to buy a digital game when you are signed in on your friend’s console, your game will also be available on your Home Xbox One console for anyone to use.
People who have a paid Xbox Live Gold account will also be able to share features made just for those subscribers, such as multiplayer online gaming and access to streaming video apps, with anyone who uses the console. Microsoft is calling the program Home Gold. Whitten writes:
If you’re an Xbox Live Gold member, an unlimited number of people can enjoy many benefits of Xbox Live Gold while they are using your Home Xbox One console. Friends and family will simply create their own account and gamertag and be able to enjoy Xbox Live online multiplayer gaming and access to entertainment apps.
Those benefits continue even if the Xbox One owner with the Xbox Live Gold account is not signed in. Also, those same Xbox Live Gold members can head to a friend's house and play co-op multiplayer on their friend's console even if that person is not an Xbox Live Gold member.
Finally, if you already are an Xbox Live Gold member on your Xbox 360, you can use that same account on the Xbox One. In fact, that account can be used to sign onto both consoles at the same time. In March, Microsoft decided to discontinue the Xbox Live Family Pack plan for the Xbox 360, which offered four Xbox Live Gold 12 month subscriptions for the price that was less than two single Xbox Live Gold accounts. In an interview with Polygon today, Whitten said there are still no plans to bring the Family Plan back nor are there plans to offer something similar to Home Gold on the Xbox One to the many Xbox 360 owners.
Update: Just for clarification, the "Family Share" plans for the Xbox One that was announced in June that would have let up to 10 family members share one person's Xbox One game library on any Xbox One console is still not coming back, but Microsoft's previous policy that claimed, "Downloaded titles cannot be shared", would seem to be at least partially restored with this new announcement.
Update 2: According to what a Microsoft spokesperson told Kotaku, "Gold features will stay active on your home Xbox One console even if you roam and login to use your Gold features elsewhere." That means if you are at a friend's house and log into a Gold account to play a game, other family members back at home can still use the Xbox Live Gold features enabled on the home Xbox One console.
Source: Microsoft | Image via Microsoft