In the aftermath of Microsoft's stunning reversal of its Xbox One game licensing plans, we talked to Xbox chief product officer Marc Whitten to find out exactly what will change about Redmond's next game box this November. Whitten thankfully assuaged our primary concern right off the bat: the company's (new) used game policy extends to third-party publishers as well as Microsoft first-party games.
Though gamers won't have to put up with requirements for an internet check-in every 24 hours, some lauded features we'd heard about will not be available as a result -- at least at launch. That includes the sharing between up to ten family members, and playing disc-based games without having the disc in the One. It also means new consoles will need a patch at launch to enable this future / past scenario of disc-based console gaming.
"There are some things -- the family sharing stuff is an example -- where as we move to this system, that functionality goes away," Whitten told us. Another such piece of functionality the console's losing: digitally accessible versions of disc-based games. "You're gonna see your online content but you won't see your physical discs," he said. Should you choose to purchase those games digitally, of course, they'll show up as part of your online persona.
There are some bizarre added benefits of the new system, as well. One disc can act as a copy for several people, at least on the install. "If I had a physical version of my game and I went to your house, we played, and then I left with my game, you could actually buy the game instantly with no download," he told us. Since the Xbox One automatically rips disc-based games to its HDD, it essentially installs games on any box you play them on.
Despite the changes, Whitten said he still believes most Xbox One buyers will use the various online functionality, and that the company's plans are mostly unchanged.
Richard Lawler contributed to this report.
"We think most people will be using the console in the connected state, they'll be taking advantage of all that functionality. Their games will all be up to date, they'll be switching between content, they'll be doing smart matches all the time, they'll be streaming content -- then they'll have the choice, if they're going on vacation or if they're in a place with low connectivity, to use the console in a different way. Candidly, I think we're adding functionality. I think we're adding choice into the console. I don't really see it as losing things."