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Microsoft breaks silence on controversial Xbox One features

by William Schwartz

xbox-one-used-games-drm-kinect1

Microsoft has finally broken their silence on the many controversial question marks that had been enveloping the Xbox One. The company has cleared the air about online checks, kinect privacy issues, and used games, in one fell swoop on Xbox.com. The statements outline Microsoft’s entire philosophy about the next-generation, and things are going to be getting a lot different for console gamers in the coming years.

Online Connectivity

Offline gaming is not possible after 24 hours of no connection

The biggest news is the official confirmation that the Xbox One will require a connection to the internet at least once every 24 hours in most scenarios, or it will not be able to play games. It’ll still have its other features, like tv watching and Blu-Ray playback, but games will not play without this connection. Basically, DRM.

“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.”

“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.”

“Access your entire games library from any Xbox One—no discs required: After signing in and installing, you can play any of your games from any Xbox One because a digital copy of your game is stored on your console and in the cloud. So, for example, while you are logged in at your friend’s house, you can play your games.”

Microsoft claims that the Xbox One will use many features from the cloud, via a global network of more than 300,000 Xbox Live and Windows Azure servers. Using Wi-Fi Direct, Xbox One can speak with smart wireless devices and connect to them through the cloud. Microsoft’s recommended internet connection speed is 1.5MBps, and if an Ethernet connection is not available in your area, the company suggests that mobile broadband can be used as well.

Used Games

Game publishers can enable you to trade in your games

Microsoft says that games will be available by disc at retailers, or through Xbox Live as a digital download on the day of release. After signing in and installing these games, you can play any of your games from any Xbox One. A digital copy of your game is stored on your console and in the cloud. So this means that even when logged in at a friends house, you can play your games.

Access for games will be available for everyone within your home. Friends and family, guest and acquaintances will have access to all of your games. Games can also be shared in what sounds like a family plan across any Xbox One. Up to ten members of your family can log in and play from your shared games library on any Xbox One.

“Today, some gamers choose to sell their old disc-based games back for cash and credit. 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.”

“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. Loaning or renting games won’t be available at launch, but we are exploring the possibilities with our partners.”

Privacy Features

If you don’t want Kinect to be on, you can turn it off

The second generation of Kinect will be shipped with every console, and with the always online requirement, many have gotten worried about potential privacy concerns. Microsoft claims that user privacy is at the forefront of their concerns.

Microsoft says that you are in control of when Kinect sensing is On, Off or Paused. “If you don’t want the Kinect sensor on while playing games or enjoying your entertainment, you can pause Kinect. To turn off your Xbox One, just say “Xbox Off.” When the system is off, it’s only listening for the single voice command — “Xbox On,” and you can even turn that feature off too. Some apps and games may require Kinect functionality to operate, so you’ll need to turn it back on for these experiences.”

“You can play games or enjoy applications that use data, such as videos, photos, facial expressions, heart rate and more, but this data will not leave your Xbox One without your explicit permission.”

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