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Microsoft Xbox One: Five important things we still don't know

Ian Paul | May 23, 2013
For all the things we do know about Microsoft's Xbox One, there’s a lot of things we still don’t. For instance, how much will the console cost and when it will be released?

Microsoft will still allow you to take a disc to a friend's house, install the game on that Xbox One's hard drive and play it there, according to a blog post by Xbox Live's Major Nelson.

To play it for free, however, you will need to be signed in to your Xbox profile on your friend's machine. Once you sign out and go home, if your friend wants to continue playing Battlefield 4 (which is now installed on their machine), they will have to pay up.

The result is the era of borrowed (not to mention rented) games appears to be over, unless you are willing to hand over your Microsoft account credentials to your friends. And that's an extremely bad idea, to say the least.

As for reselling used games, it's not clear what's going on.

The Major Nelson post says Microsoft "designed Xbox One to enable ourcustomers to trade in and resell games at retail," but declined to go into details. Microsoft corporate vice president Phil Harrison reiterated that view to Eurogamer. "We will have a system where you can take that digital content and trade a previously played game at a retail store," Harrison said. "We're not announcing the details of that today." A Wired report also says Microsoft has a plan for how to handle used games, and that more details would be coming soon.

If I had to guess, I see this playing out in two ways.

Perhaps Microsoft will have a system to "reset" a gaming disc by thoroughly scrubbing your Xbox One hard drive of a game install. This would be similar to restoring a smartphone to factory condition, thereby allowing you to resell it.

However, this method would require some way for used game retailers like Gamestop and GameFly to confirm that a disc was ready for resale. This theoretical system would also encourage a whole lot of Xbox hacking to try and save the game while at the same time reselling it.

Another method would be the oft-cited scenario where you buy a disc, throw it in your Xbox One, and then have to pay another fee to the game maker to activate it.

How often do you have to be online?

As expected, the Xbox One will require a persistent connection to the Internet, but just how persistent is unclear. Microsoft says that while the Xbox One does require a connection to the Internet, it does not have to be connected at all times. That's good news for those times when your broadband connection goes out, and you'd still like to play a game or watch a movie on Blu-ray.

 

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