The Xbox One is the official name of Microsoft's next-generation games console. While it may do more than just play games, gamers are still curious about certain rumors that have been floating around about the new console. Will it play used games? Will it require an always online Internet connection? Microsoft finally answered those questions today... kind of.
The Xbox One will kind of block used games from being played on the console. Now, what does that mean? It means that every game must be installed on the system. The game disc you buy in the store is merely a means of getting that information installed on the hard drive. Of course, what's to stop from multiple friends all sharing the same disc, and getting the same game?
"...each disc would have to be tied to a unique Xbox Live account, else you could take a single disc and pass it between everyone you know and copy the game over and over. Since this is clearly not going to happen, each disc must then only install for a single owner.
Microsoft did say that if a disc was used with a second account, that owner would be given the option to pay a fee and install the game from the disc, which would then mean that the new account would also own the game and could play it without the disc."
Of course, it seems that Microsoft itself is confused as to the extent of its own used game policy. On the official Xbox site, a QA page (which has since been removed) says the following about used games on the Xbox One (courtesy of NeoGAF):
We are designing Xbox One to enable customers to trade in and resell games. We’ll have more details to share later.
Adding more layers to the confusion, John Hicks, Editor of Official Xbox 360 Magazine, tweeted out a few details regarding the policy:
On second hand games: you buy disc, it installs, you play from HD. Sell disc, it installs to new console and deactivates your install.
— Jon Hicks (@MrJonty) May 21, 2013
Again, at no point when I was talking to MS did they say there was a fee for used games. They said used games were important and supported.
— Jon Hicks (@MrJonty) May 21, 2013
So, what does this all mean? What we can pull from this mess of misinformation and confusing statements is that Microsoft will indeed have a policy regarding the use of used games on its console. It's not going to be as simple as buying a used game and popping it in.
Now, the statements from the Microsoft itself and Hicks suggest that the next Xbox won't be entirely anti-used games. Instead, the next Xbox may only charge a fee if you have no intention of sellin the game.
For example, you may be charged a small fee if you lend the disc to a friend and they install it on their system. You still get to play the game, but they get to as well after paying said fee. Now, that fee may not be present when buying used games because the person who sold the game previously forfeited the original license and had the game uninstalled from their system.
It should be noted that the above example is pure speculation based upon what we're seeing from a variety of sources. We won't know anything for sure until Microsoft clarifies the situation itself. The official QA said that we would hear more about Microsoft's used games policy soon, but it may want to address it sooner rather than later to dispel all the confusion surrounding the Xbox One and its used game policy.
UPDATE: And the plot thickens. An official Xbox Support twitter account is now saying that there are no fees associated with used games on the Xbox One.
@modronfixer No fee, correct - and they just got that information wrong. As soon as we saw, we contacted them to correct it. ^EM
— Xbox Support 3 (@XboxSupport3) May 21, 2013