Microsoft has clarified what it’s doing in some of the most controversial issues surrounding the Xbox One. However, the problem is that this news is mostly bad or confusing news. So lets try to see exactly what Microsoft is on about and if they’ve screwed up.
Used Games and Trade-Ins
Microsoft will be allowing Xbox One owners to trade in used games and to buy used games. Once a game is installed on your harddrive you’ll get a digital copy of that game regardless. Once you have that game you’ll be free to sell it or give it to a friend. The Xbox One will allow you to share a used game with a buddy but that person will have to have been on your friends list for at least 30 days and you can only share it with them once.
Microsoft has also said how it won’t charge users to trade in games. Instead, (and this is where it gets ugly for those of you who love your trade-ins) it’ll be up to third-party publishers whether you can trade a game in at all or whether you’ll have to pay a fee. Seeing as publishers are getting a rough deal with used games with this generation of consoles, it’s unlikely they’ll nip it in the bud whilst they have the opportunity.
The Xbox One will require a constant Internet connection but as previous fears had indicated, it’s won’t be 24/7. However, you will need to have your system connected to the Internet at least once every 24 hours. This, says Microsoft, is because the Xbox One will need to check if you’ve shared a game, traded it in or are still playing it.
It’ll also need to check for updates. The problem here is that there are people who don’t have steady Internet connections. Microsoft is already aware these people (thanks Adam Orth!) but it has yet to further clarify how it’ll affect people living in rural areas, students or military personnel.
There’s also the “what-if” scenario of Microsoft’s servers crashing. What will happen to our consoles then? If Microsoft suffer a Sony-like hack where its servers are down for two weeks for example, then things are going to get hairy.
There have been worries on whether the always online Kinect will be spying on you. People are worried it’ll watch you in the shower, people are worried it’ll watch you when you’re walking the Dog and people are worried it’ll look into other private business. You ever see 2001 A Space Odyssey with the spaceship’s spying computer? People are afraid it’s that.
Microsoft has confirmed that users will be able to manage what information the Kinect stores. You’ll also be able to pause the Kinect if you don’t want it to look at you all the time. However, since the Kinect needs to be on all the time for you to give voice commands to the console, it’s always going to be on regardless. But fear not! Microsoft also said that you can actually turn it off.
However, the problem here is that you’ll have to turn it back on again to get the Xbox One back on. Hmm.
Are third-party publishers going to let us trade in their games? Probably, but not for free. Third-party publishers get none of the money from trade-ins. All of that money goes to the middleman. It goes to your CEX’s, it goes to your GameStops, it goes to your GAME’s. It’s due to this issue that studios close down and sequels get cancelled or never made so it looks like publishers like Activision, Ubisoft and EA are going to be be able to make some money which is great for them but for all of you who love your trade-ins, it’s probably not going to do you any favours.
Is the Xbox One going to be friendly to poor Internet connections? It doesn’t look like it will. The console won’t be constantly online but you’ll have to have it online at least once a day. Microsoft hasn’t said what will happen if people fail to get it online once a day however.
With Kinect, no matter what you do with it, it looks like it’s always going to be online. Sure you can pause it and control what it does and doesn’t see but there are mandatory functions for the Kinect such as games having to have it on so real question is how far we can assure our own privacy with the Kinect. The good news is that it won’t always be watching you. No murderous computers lying in wait for us then.
With all of this in mind and summarised it looks like the questions we were originally asking were answered but in their places are new questions, questions that may be answered at E3 and the following fallout of news but right now, we’re still scratching our heads.
So has Microsoft goofed? We’ll have to wait and see but right now, they’ve answered what needed answering but in turn have given us new questions to ask.
George Sinclair is an editor for Analog Addiction, the home of the latest news, reviews and previews. You can follow George on Twitter and IGN. Be sure to follow us on the OFFICIAL Analog Addiction Twitter.