The Xbox One-Eighty: Microsoft Drops Online Requirements, Used Game Restrictions, and Kills Family Sharing

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News Posted: Wed, Jun 19 2013 6:02 PM
Ever since Microsoft unveiled the Xbox One in May, the user community has raised holy hell about the 24-hour mandatory online check in, the loss of used game sales, and the onerous online requirements that prohibited game or console imports into countries where the Xbox One service hasn't officially launched. Microsoft's entire E3 demo was buried thanks to a $499 price tag and a crushing video from Sony. Throwing military users under a bus by insisting they just buy an Xbox 360 was apparently the final straw.

Today, Microsoft threw in the towel. The Xbox One will not require a 24-hour check in. It won't require an online check-in or verification system at all. Here's Don Mattrick with the details:

An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games – After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again. There is no 24 hour connection requirement and you can take your Xbox One anywhere you want and play your games, just like on Xbox 360.

Trade-in, lend, resell, gift, and rent disc based games just like you do today – There will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360.

In addition to buying a disc from a retailer, you can also download games from Xbox Live on day of release. If you choose to download your games, you will be able to play them offline just like you do today. Xbox One games will be playable on any Xbox One console — there will be no regional restrictions.
The Downside

There are two features going away as a result of this change. One, you'll still need to have the disc in the tray when you play a game you bought on-disc. That's a bit annoying, but not a big deal. More frustrating is the fact that the family sharing plan Microsoft had previously announced is also going away. According to the company, you'll no longer be able to share digital purchases with friends.

That's unfortunate, and ultimately unnecessary. The entire problem with the Xbox one's approach to being online is that the company took an all-or-nothing stance. There's no reason not to offer customers the option to validate online every 24 hours and, in return, be allowed to loan out purchased digital content to other friends. Microsoft has stressed that digital purchases can't be resold, so there's no reason to restrict them in this fashion.

I'm sad to see family sharing go because it was one of the only exciting features the Xbone offered. Killing it now, in the name of allowing offline play is disingenuous; it suggests that there was never any way to create an opt-in system for this kind of sharing. There is, of course -- Microsoft just didn't bother to do it.



Still, on the whole, this is great news. It's an unprecedented move for a company that, until yesterday, was doubling down on every mistake Sony ever made with the PlayStation 3. This doesn't solve all the Xbox One's problems -- you're still stuck buying a Kinect, paying an extra $100, and buying the dubious proposition that cloud computing is going to allow the console to deliver a superior experience to the PS3 -- but it removes the restrictions that kept those with poor Internet or in the military from joining the fun.

Microsoft is to be commended for actually listening to customers and responding to the situation, rather than continuing to trudge loudly towards oblivion. Patching the problem will require a Day One patch -- anyone who buys an Xbox off the shelf will still need Internet to actually apply these changes.
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That major nelson fella lied to my hero angry joe and said that he was being "bold" to assume its easy to remove the online requirements. Well this just proves he is bold to assume.

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Too bad it didnt kill the kinect always on thing.. sorry, but the NSA isnt spying on me in my own home through webcam bro.

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RyanBerry replied on Wed, Jun 19 2013 8:51 PM

Bummer. The trade off wasn't worth it.

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Joel H replied on Wed, Jun 19 2013 8:59 PM

Kinect can be turned off now. That was announced weeks ago.

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sevags replied on Wed, Jun 19 2013 9:14 PM

I think it is amazingly great news. Family sharing was a great idea but only interested people like me because borrowing and loaning discs wasn't an option but now that that option is back I probably would never have used family sharing any way. I am glad MS listened to everyone. Now we can actually compare the new consoles for what they are and not what they do and don't offer. I was never considering a PS4 because of MS's mistakes but I wasn't considering the One either, now I am.

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Johnny3D replied on Wed, Jun 19 2013 10:56 PM

ChrisCabrera: Hahaha! You're hilarious! You're hilarious because you're silly enough to believe that the NSA is going to spy on you through a Kinect you were likely never going to purchase anyway and because you believe that the camera and mic couldn't be disabled (they can). :)

I was actually looking forward to the lack of need to change disks. The once a day internet connection didn't bother me at all because I keep my gaming machines (PC or consoles) connected to the internet all the time. I was also looking forward to family game sharing. Oh well.. Microsoft listened to the haters.

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AKnudson replied on Thu, Jun 20 2013 12:42 AM

When i heard that Microsoft was requiring always on connection i was somewhat perplexed and not all happy. it didn't make any sense to me.

now, i am happy that Microsoft is listening, (grudgingly) to the consumers that are paying them to do their job.

It is kinda funny though how they have to take a parting shot at us when they took away game sharing capabilities of online titles, anyone else think Microsoft is acting childish?

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Joel H replied on Thu, Jun 20 2013 1:10 PM

The NSA has the power to force Microsoft to turn over consumer data now. The only way to keep Kinect out of that dragnet would be to build a camera that *can't* be activated remotely. Microsoft may have done just that.

But if the camera *can* be activated remotely, do you really think, after everything that's come out, that the NSA won't use that capability? And do you think you'd be told about it if they did?

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