With just a few days left before E3 Microsoft finally announced how the Xbox One will handle used games and lending games, leaving many of the decisions up to publishers.
As Microsoft previously stated, the Xbox One will support used games, but not in the same way the Xbox 360 does. The company will give publishers like Activision, EA and Ubisoft the option to support used game resales or not. Those who do support resales will can set up “business terms or transfer fees” with stores so they get a cut of used game sales.
For gamers it means they can only trade or sell their games in approved “participating retailers.” There’s no word on which retailers will participate, but big stores like GameStop, Amazon and Best Buy seem likely. Unfortunately, gamers may not have the option to resell all of their games based entirely on the publisher’s decision.
Gamers who prefer to lend their games to friends instead of reselling them will also be able to do so, without a fee. Microsoft will let gamers share their games with any friend that’s on their Xbox Live friend list for more than 30 days, so they can’t just lend games to random strangers.
There’s also a limit on how often gamers can lend out their games. Microsoft will only let gamers lend each game once for as long as they have it, so gamers will have to choose the friends they lend games to wisely.
Unfortunately, while the console will support lending games at some point, it won’t support lending or renting games at launch.
There is another way to share games, however. Once a user installs a game on an Xbox One, anyone with access to the console can play the game. Microsoft will also let gamers share their entire games library with people in their family at any time.
Gamers can designate up to ten family members that can play games in their shared library at any time, regardless of their location or the console they’re using. It’s not clear how the “family” feature will work, but it may end up as a great work around for a close-knit group of friends who like to share games with each other.
As hinted before, gamers can buy games on day one on a disc or as a download. Either way, Microsoft will save a copy of the game to the cloud under that user’s account and installed on the console. After install, gamers no longer need to insert the disc to play a game. It also means that if they lose the disc, they can just reinstall the game from the cloud (assuming they didn’t resell the game).
The biggest downside is that if Microsoft ever shuts down its servers, gamers will lose access to all of their games. The console will phone home every 24 hours for authentication, which may ultimately give the console a finite lifecycle. The online requirement may also cut off gamer’s access to their games if their Internet goes down.