A litany of Xbox One news has recently transmitted through the ether of the internet, and finally we have some answers to many vexing questions which have been generating negative PR for Microsoft’s new console in the few weeks since its reveal. Fortunately, not all of the answers are bad, but some of our fears appear to have come to fruition to some extent. The following is a quick overview of the cavalcade of news Microsoft has released just a few days before their big E3 press event.
Will Xbox One Allow Used Games?
The short answer to this question is “yes.” Unfortunately, the detailed answer is not so succinct. Microsoft has opted to allow publishers to decide whether or not to charge a fee at retail for the resale of used games. They claim that they will receive no compensation should the publisher decide to charge said fee.
Furthermore, loaning and renting games will not be supported at launch. However, anyone can play your games on your console, regardless of their relationship to you or whether you are logged into Xbox Live; but you can’t give your game to someone unless they are on your friends list and have been so for at least 30 days. Microsoft did limit the number of family members allowed access through your account to 10. Also, the game gifted to the friend, which doesn’t require any additional charge, can only exchange hands once.
Does Xbox One Have To Be Always Online?
The answer to this question is still a little nebulous. The system will always be in a sort of “powered-on” state so that it can continually receive updates for games, check your game’s verification code, and hear your “Xbox On” voice command. Because the Xbox One has to “check in” from time to time, it needs to always be connected to a broadband connection (minimum 1.5 Mbps), but it doesn’t seem to require an always online status.
The Xbox One will allow gamers to play their games while offline, but only for 24 hour intervals on your primary console, and 1 hour intervals on any supplemental consoles you may have access to. When this time duration expires, the Xbox One will then need to reconnect with Microsoft’s servers for verification. In effect, Microsoft wants to make sure you are not pirating games, regardless of whether you deserve suspicion.
Will The Kinect Always Be Watching?
No. Microsoft has stated that a bevy of options will allow users to customize what the Kinect can see or hear. They also offer a “Pause” feature, to enable users to shut off the Kinect while performing activities that do not require the device. Because the system is always on to a small extent, the Kinect will only acknowledge the “Xbox On” voice command, unless this feature is turned off. Lastly, the Kinect will not record your conversations or record and upload any video without the user giving explicit consent.
What Does This All Mean In The End?
Well, we finally have answers to questions as to the plurality of controversies that Microsoft has allowed to fester over the past few weeks. Although many questions have been answered, the rumormongers haven’t been fully quashed. To some extent, they have been validated.
Unfortunately, Microsoft’s answers have begotten some new questions. For example, what happens when Xbox One users lose their connections for any reason (hacking, power outage, technical difficulties, etc.). Will they still be able to play their games without being kicked out? Will they lose access to their games and, consequently, be required to inconveniently beseech upon Microsoft to restore their status? Also, if publishers reserve the right to impose a fee on the exchange or resale of used games, then wouldn’t these policies be in effect on the PlayStation 4, as well?
Thankfully, there exists a few exciting features to be gleaned from these announcements. Upon boot up, Xbox One is designed to immediately connect you to your content, and annoying game uploads will be a thing of the past. Also, as a consequence to mandatory game installations, Xbox One users will have access to all of their games from any Xbox One without the need of the disc. This is made possible by the reported integration of the cloud service, which will store all installed data from your Xbox One, allowing user access from anywhere.
Microsoft seems to be forcing progress on the video game industry. Sadly, this comes at the expense of the age-old practice of video game collection, where game collectors expect to still be able to play their games 30 years down the road. This new generation of game consoles is the first palpable salvo fired by the major game developers, punctuating their promulgation that gamers no longer own the games they purchase, rather they are simply borrowing time to play them for a fee. Now this is firmly established, and gamers are becoming aware that having continued access to their games is dependent upon the viability and sustainability of the service that allows them that access.
In an effort to improve user to device interaction, Microsoft hopes their advancements in technology will translate to a more convenient entertainment experience. Despite the verbose objections of many, these new features delineated by Microsoft may become the industry standard. As Microsoft marches boldly forward into the future, let us hope in their effort to win space in the consumer’s living room that our cherished hobby doesn’t lose the charm that has appealed to and inspired so many over the last 4 decades.