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[Update] Game Sharing On Xbox One Is About Convenience

by Mike Futter on Aug 09, 2013 at 02:24 PM

Update: After we posted the original story, there was some confusion about how digital content works on the Xbox 360 and the Xbox One. We reached out to Microsoft for clarification.


"Xbox One makes it easy for everyone in your home to share digital games," a representative told us. "Your home's Xbox One console acts as a virtual game library filled with digital games that different people in the home bought. Anyone can sign in with their gamertag and play any digital game - even if the owner is not signed in and even if the console is not connected to the internet."

"Also, your digital games travel with you, so you can share games with friends when you sign into their console," the statement continues. "If you purchase a digital game when you are signed into your friend's console, your game will be available on your console at home for anyone to play. Once you sign out of your friend's console, they will no longer have access to the game you purchased."

"This is similar to how digital games work on Xbox 360 today. The difference is when you purchase a game on your friend's Xbox 360 console, the game is tied to that console you purchased it on, not your home console. When you go home, only you can play the game on your console, and no one else can play it on your console unless you sign in with your gamertag."


To be clear, when you purchase an Xbox 360 game remotely, anyone on the purchasing Xbox can use it (as was pointed out in the comments). However, use at home requires the purchasing Gamertag to be signed in. On the Xbox One, licenses are expressly tied to Gamertag only. This is a significant change, as our readers have pointed out that it is possible to get two copies from a single purchase on the Xbox 360. 

Original Story:

One of the big complaints when Microsoft reversed course on the DRM and online connection topics was that it put the brakes on game sharing. Today, Microsoft has revealed some new details about how you'll be able to use your consoles and games more conveniently.

The first thing that stands out in Xbox chief product officer Marc Whitten blog post is that users will need to assign their Gamertags to a "home console." Doing so will allow anyone using that console to access all of the games tied to the profile.

In turn, this allows a Gamertag to be signed in on both an Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Additionally, multiple gamertags can access the content on the home console. This includes multiplayer and entertainment. In other words, the Xbox Live family plan might be gone, but upon owning an Xbox One, it's obsolete (for the new console).

Everything else works like it does on the Xbox 360. You can log in and access your content from other Xbox One consoles, and as long as your profile is active, the games can be used.

This isn't the full package as originally intended, as the sharing of digital games across ten "family members" (that need not actually be family) is still not back. However, the door isn't closed on that making a return later on. 

[Source: Xbox Wire]


Our Take
The biggest news out of this is how Home Gold will work. Not having to share a gamertag with family members is great for me. I'm excited that when I get an Xbox One my son won't accidentally kick me offline when he wants to watch Netflix.