Microsoft is still considering Xbox One digital game sharing

It's fair to say that Microsoft's E3 2013 conference did not go as well as the company had hoped, thanks to its focus on far more than gaming. In the months following the announcement, the Reddit community in particular took up a holy crusade against the console and that caused Microsoft to step back on some of its ambitions. 

One of the features killed was 'home sharing', this feature allowed you to share your entire digital library and as long as you were not playing the game, others could tap into your library to access the title with up to ten people. This feature sounded awesome for those who prefer digital content to discs but alas, the Internet revolted against the company's DRM policies, and Microsoft was forced to kill the feature.

While the feature does not currently exists for Xbox One users, in a new interview, Phil Spencer said that he hasn't "given up on those ideas". The current issue is that there is more complexity because of the discs but it's good to know that the company is still considering the feature as it would likely be welcomed by those who prefer digital downloads to physical media.

On the digital download front, Spencer also noted that they are looking into pre-loading capabilities too. The idea is that on the day of a release of a popular title, your console could download the game ahead of release, then at a specified time, it would be unlocked and you could play the game. As it is right now, on the day of a release, there is a huge rush to download the title and it puts a strain on the distribution server which causes slower download speeds for gamers.

Presently, there is no timetable for release as the features may never return. Knowing Microsoft, though, they will likely find a way to return these features, at least to some degree, because right now, for those that buy digital content, there is no way to share your purchases or re-sell them.

Source: Gamer Tag Radio | Image via Microsoft

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Razer to launch a "hardcore" gaming ‘micro-console' running Android TV

Next Story

Microsoft updates Microsoft Update

32 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

The only way I'd get fully behind digital downloads, is if they were cross platform, so say you bought it on XBox One, if that game was available for the PS4 and PC you could play it on those without rebuying the same damn game.

In the months following the announcement, the Reddit community in particular took up a holy crusade against the console and that caused Microsoft to step back on some of its ambitions.

Yeah, because MS only 180'd because of Reddit. Ok.

When this feature comes back, I'll buy an XboxOne. I was planning a day one purchase until they gave in to the idiots online. Until then I'll stick with steam.

if someone plans on selling a disc then they should continue to buy the disk, if someone does not care about selling the game then they should purchase the downloaded game. this should be very simple. the downloaded game would have the advantage playing the game no matter where you log in, because it would be tied to your ID and you could get games earlier
those that want dicc can bring a game to a buddies house and play it and sell the game when its completed.
they both should have plus and minuses

Knowing Microsoft, though, they will likely find a way to return these features, at least to some degree, because right now, for those that buy digital content, there is no way to share your purchases or re-sell them.

That's the most number of commas in one sentence that I've ever seen, lol.

You can share games nowadays. All you have to do is set a friend's xbox as your home device and vice-versa. this way, both get access to each other games and because games are linked to your gamertag you can access your own games at your xbox. Of course, this only works for digitally downloaded games, as disc based games require the disc to be in the machine.

sviola said,
You can share games nowadays. All you have to do is set a friend's xbox as your home device and vice-versa. this way, both get access to each other games and because games are linked to your gamertag you can access your own games at your xbox. Of course, this only works for digitally downloaded games, as disc based games require the disc to be in the machine.

from experience the owner of a game has to be signed into the console for someone else to play atm, this is fine for people you trust. I have my xbox account set to auto signin on 2 consoles (mine and my sons) so this works.

There is no way in hell I would do this with a mate of mine, all sorts of shenanigans would ensue!

All my games are digital as I simply hate disks. I'd like to be able to share and sell on but its not as important to me as not having to deal with disks and the issues inherent with them.

duddit2 said,
All my games are digital as I simply hate disks. I'd like to be able to share and sell on but its not as important to me as not having to deal with disks and the issues inherent with them.

I think Sharing will come sooner rather then later, selling or gifting could be a bit longer but I can see the option to re-sell your digital copy as a advantage to having Xbox Live Gold for example.

I expect all or most of the original game related features they had planned to make it back in, only going to take time.

George P said,
I expect all or most of the original game related features they had planned to make it back in, only going to take time.

The issue will be for folks on data capped services. The proposed method provided a way to have a 'digital' copy but use the disk for install.

duddit2 said,

The issue will be for folks on data capped services. The proposed method provided a way to have a 'digital' copy but use the disk for install.

Yeah well, taking a disc copy and making it into a digital copy is a bit more tricky because the disc protection they had in place was taken out. They could offer them again but marked as such on the disc so that they're not the same as the normal disc games everyone wants/wanted to have.

George P said,

Yeah well, taking a disc copy and making it into a digital copy is a bit more tricky because the disc protection they had in place was taken out. They could offer them again but marked as such on the disc so that they're not the same as the normal disc games everyone wants/wanted to have.

The only was I can see this working is for certain games coming with a onetime use code and/or barcode/tag for scanning with kinnect. All disks that use this method would only be used for installs and the user would need the code entered to be able to play the game.

Of course this system is up for abuse by third party's/owners selling on the disk and code as 'never used' when in fact it had been used. Anyone could still use the disk but would need to 'activate' the game to their account by buying a code. The normal disk games could still be sold.

The disks themselves would need to be clearly marked.

The ultimate irony would be if this could be done basically making the original features available, and this method overtaking std disks dur to popularity. Then (if) we would see how stupid the hype train really was....

MikeChipshop said,
What i'm waiting for is no disc required for installed disc based games.

How would they deal with the issue of installing a game then selling on? The old method that was proposed dealt with this.

duddit2 said,

How would they deal with the issue of installing a game then selling on? The old method that was proposed dealt with this.

Which is why i was a fan of the original announcement. Although saying that, i'm sure each game has a separate ID so they'd be able to lock to that and periodically check. If there was no internet connection, then ask you to insert the disc.

What's actual worse is that disc based games require you to insert the disc to update, which is a pain in the arse.

MikeChipshop said,
What i'm waiting for is no disc required for installed disc based games.

Will never happen unless a unique serial number came with each game meaning you couldn't sell it on anyway.

They can deal with it the same say Steam retail discs do. Include a key and the disc can only be used to install, it can't play the game on its own. Of course this would require an internet connection for authentication, and people would complain.

Kravex said,

Will never happen unless a unique serial number came with each game meaning you couldn't sell it on anyway.

duddit2 said,

How would they deal with the issue of installing a game then selling on? The old method that was proposed dealt with this.

Each disc contains the same digital key setup as a digital copy. They can ban individual game discs from even booting with this generation.

Only one disc can be used online at a time as it can be verified - but without being 'always online' they wouldn't be able to check that another console has the game installed/running as well. Digital copies are impossible to share with your friends, so they are going to make it possible as they can completely control it.

Bigkaye said,

Each disc contains the same digital key setup as a digital copy. They can ban individual game discs from even booting with this generation.

Only one disc can be used online at a time as it can be verified - but without being 'always online' they wouldn't be able to check that another console has the game installed/running as well. Digital copies are impossible to share with your friends, so they are going to make it possible as they can completely control it.

I'm not disagreeing here, I just want yo make sure I understand what you said....

So all disks for xbox one contain the proposed digital id, meaning that if a game was bought on disk and MS added certain functionality to the system an owner could theoretically 'upgrade' the game (based in the digital id on disk) to be a digital copy. After that the disk would not work (only be usable for installs)?

I know this was proposed but I didn't think the disks actually had the ids on them since the change in policy.

If so, they need to be careful as someone could do this then try to sell on the game. With this not being all disks it could get confusing. I know 3rd party resellers could just have an xbox one ready to test games but someone would find ways to abuse it.

I'm all for it though, just trying to be the devils advocate here.

Kravex said,

Will never happen unless a unique serial number came with each game meaning you couldn't sell it on anyway.

Every disc does come with a unique ID, that's always been part of the manufacturing process.

Just make it a feature for online members only. So that the game ID is checked against the Xbox serial (Or Home Xbox seriel) when the game is started. Have the discs needed for game updates, that'll quell any unauthorised sell ons.

When you're done with the game, you can deauthorize it and flog it as per norm. Just like PC software.

duddit2 said,

How would they deal with the issue of installing a game then selling on? The old method that was proposed dealt with this.

I guess they could put serial numbers on this disc that are linked to your XBL account once the disk is installed. Then give you the option to remove the serial number from your account 1 time (because you sold or traded the disc). Once that serial number has be remove from an XBL account it can only be used once more on a different XBL account. After that, the disc is dead and can't be installed again.

duddit2 said,

How would they deal with the issue of installing a game then selling on? The old method that was proposed dealt with this.

Rather simple - Physical Disc is 1 game/license but not "locked" to your account.
Disc based games must have disc physically in the device to play. Physical copy does NOT give you a digital share able license.

Digital Only Purchase - Sharing accessible and the disc can act as a install media. No disc requirement to play.

Jason Stillion said,

Rather simple - Physical Disc is 1 game/license but not "locked" to your account.
Disc based games must have disc physically in the device to play. Physical copy does NOT give you a digital share able license.

Digital Only Purchase - Sharing accessible and the disc can act as a install media. No disc requirement to play.

Nice work on taking a quote out of context....

I was replying to someone asking for disk based games being able to be played without the disk, so I asked that question. You replied and totally ignored the question I was replying to.

Please in future read the whole thread as context is quite important!!!

This is off from my original point, but your post makes me want to add it anyway..

The whole concept of 'its simple, disk based is disk based and digital gets the benefits' misses the problem that MS and others have identified and tried to solve - that being a lot of people are on a capped connection to the internet and games this gen are going to be very large in size. The problem was overcome in the original concept by allowing the disk game to simply act as an install method like PC software (you get a license key, the disk is simply a way of installing faster than downloading - the internet caught up and most software now is downloaded, but it was always the license you paid for, not the disk).

Now we have the situation where (IMO) digital will have all the benefits but many will miss out on those benefits because they would have needed disk based installs to cut out the ISP cap killing huge downloads required for digital licesne games.

Now it doesn't effect me and on a personal level its not too bad, but the major benefits would have been all games being a digital based license as it would have sped up all the benefits, it would have caused market based need for competition and price drops and features. Now we have to be patient as things will take a while to pan out. I have no doubts at all though that it will go digital only at some point once people see the benefits and how that nasty DRM acronym isn't as bad as the dark side of the net made it out to be - just ask steam......

Edited by duddit2, Jun 26 2014, 9:13pm :