After weeks of issuing contradictory statements and telling people to wait for more details regarding the possibility of used game DRM on the Xbox One, Microsoft has finally issued a definitive statement on used games: it’s up to the publishers.
Microsoft issued a statement today saying that they will allow “participating retailers” to buy and sell used Xbox One games. However, this statement comes with a few major caveats: while Microsoft won’t enforce a console wide ban on used games, publishers are free to restrict their games from being resold or traded. Publishers will also be able to charge any additional fees they want for used games, on top of the price that retailers will charge for them.
Basically, yes, you can play used games on your Xbox One, provided you buy them from certain stores,the game’s publisher allows it, and you pay any extra fees that the publishers may require.
Users will be allowed to “give” their game to other users, provided they meet certain requirements: the person you’re giving your game to has to be on your Xbox Live friends list for at least 30 days, and each game can only be “gifted” once.
You won’t be able to let multiple friends borrow your games and you won’t be able to sell them over sites like eBay or Craigslist: you’ll need to sell them to a Microsoft licensed retailer who will then transfer the online ownership rights of the game away from your Xbox Live account. Microsoft says that it will be impossible to loan or rent Xbox One games when the console first launches, but they’re considering adding that functionality to the system later.
Microsoft also confirmed that the Xbox One will need to “check in” to Xbox Live at least once every 24 hours. If your system fails to check in every day, all of your games will be rendered unavailable until you reconnect. Microsoft says you’ll still be able to watch TV and disc-based movies offline.
I was hoping that the overwhelmingly negative reaction to the Xbox One reveal would have encouraged Microsoft to abandon their attempts to restrict used game sales, but this news today pretty much proves all of the previous negative rumors were true. I really like some things about the Xbox One — the controller looks nice, and games like Titanfall look interesting — but it’s really hard to get excited about the console when Microsoft and game publishers are going to force DRM like this down our throats. I understand that a lot of game companies are struggling to turn a profit nowadays, but used games aren’t the cause of the industry’s ills — it’s things like over-inflated budgets, increased competition from mobile and social games, the economy, etc. — that companies should be focusing on instead.