After last week’s Xbox One reveal, Microsoft has been the center of a lot of hatred from gamers, and for good reason. Throughout the months leading up to the event, there were an enormous amount of rumors that surfaced about always-online connectivity, used game fees, and much more. While Microsoft had the chance to settle these rumors once and for all on stage, they failed to acknowledge any of them, leading to many fans being fearful for the future of the console.
Luckily, Microsoft has finally released some statements about the functionality and features of their upcoming console, though some of the news is a bit disconcerting.
On the subject of the dreaded always-online console rumors, Microsoft stated:
Xbox One is designed to run in a low-powered, connected state. This means your system, games and apps are always current and ready to play—no more waiting for updates. While a persistent connection is not required, Xbox One is designed to verify if system, application or game updates are needed and to see if you have acquired new games, or resold, traded in, or given your game to a friend. Games that are designed to take advantage of the cloud may require a connection.
With Xbox One you can game offline for up to 24 hours on your primary console, or one hour if you are logged on to a separate console accessing your library. Offline gaming is not possible after these prescribed times until you re-establish a connection, but you can still watch live TV and enjoy Blu-ray and DVD movies.
Unfortunately for gamers, this means that if your internet connection is down, you better hope that it is only for a single day. Microsoft is also assuming that all persons interested in the console already have an established broadband connection, which is not always the case as there are still many areas of the country where this service is unavailable for a reasonable price.
The subject of used games has also caused a lot of controversy, with many sources initially claiming that the next-gen console won’t be able to play them at all. More recent rumors, however, have suggested that due to the required installation of games and the constant verification, Microsoft would be charging users to play used games in the Xbox One. This isn’t exactly the case:
In our role as a game publisher, Microsoft Studios will enable you to give your games to friends or trade in your Xbox One games at participating retailers. Third party publishers may opt in or out of supporting game resale and may set up business terms or transfer fees with retailers. Microsoft does not receive any compensation as part of this. In addition, third party publishers can enable you to give games to friends.
We designed Xbox One so game publishers can enable you to trade in your games at participating retailers. Microsoft does not charge a platform fee to retailers, publishers, or consumers for enabling transfer of these games.
Your friends and family, your guests and acquaintances get unlimited access to all of your games. Anyone can play your games on your console–regardless of whether you are logged in or their relationship to you… Xbox One is designed so game publishers can enable you to give your disc-based games to your friends. There are no fees charged as part of these transfers. There are two requirements: you can only give them to people who have been on your friends list for at least 30 days and each game can only be given once.
It appears, then, that while used games can be played in another console, the games can only be transferred to a different account once, effectively limiting used game sales. Microsoft has also stated that users will not be able to rent or loan games as well because of the feature. On the plus side, it appears that family members will only need to buy one copy of a game in order to share it among systems, which could save certain families quite a bit of money.
The other big concern on everyone’s mind was the always-on Kinect. The device features an HD camera and a microphone, both of which will constantly be connect to your console, and thus, always connected to the internet with the possibility to send out data. While many feel this could be an invasion of privacy, Microsoft has assured us that no data will ever be uploaded from you console “without your explicit permission.” The company has also stated that when users can shut off the voice commands for when the system is not in use to further protect their privacy.
It’s great that Microsoft is trying hard to put all facts on the table, but some of the news is still causing a bit of an outrage among many gamers, including some long-time Xbox fans. E3 is right around the corner and we’ll finally to get to hear more about the Xbox One. ScienceFiction will have updates as they come.
What do you think of the news? Do you find the Xbox One disconcerting? Let us know in the comments below.