"Loaning Or Renting Games Won’t Be Available At Launch"
Microsoft have finally stepped up to confirm a few of the rumours surrounding the Xbox One, and I really do mean "confirm." Two new posts from Xbox Wire contain some of the firm clarification that we've been yearning for over the last few months - namely that the Xbox One becomes a Blu-Ray player if you don't connect to the internet every 24 hours, and publishers will have final say when it comes to the pre-owned market and lending games.
Let's start with the big one. The Xbox One will require players to connect to the Xbox Live servers once every 24 hours to avoid all games being locked out. Here's the official line:
For an optimal experience, we recommend a broadband connection of 1.5Mbps. (For reference, the average global internet connection speed as measured recently by Akamai was 2.9 Mbps). In areas where an Ethernet connection is not available, you can connect using mobile broadband.
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.
It's worth noting that this system will have plenty of benefits. You'll be able to play any of your games from any Xbox One console, for example, and that's literally it. In fairness, mind, it's unlikely that the vast majority of consumers will have trouble connecting to the internet once per day (in all honesty, we tend to always run our Xbox 360s while connected to Xbox Live).
Microsoft's stance on pre-owned games regulation still isn't 100% clear, but we're getting there. Effectively, Xbox One is designed to give publishers the power to set up pre-owned arrangements with "participating" retailers, presumably backed up by system-wide DRM that can be opted into. Microsoft won't get a share of pre-owned profits, contrary to earlier reports.
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.
The phrase "participating retailer" has us slightly worried, and we have to wonder what some publishers will do with this newfound freedom. Of course, some will decide not to take advantage of the more draconian options open to them for fear of backlash.
You can loan a game to a friend, ONCE, so long as they have "been on your friends list for at least 30 days." Also, "loaning or renting games won’t be available at launch, but we are exploring the possibilities with our partners." That's nice.