Xbox Is Actively Looking Into Digital Game Sharing Options

by Brian Shea on Mar 14, 2016 at 02:02 PM

When the Xbox One was unveiled in 2013, part of Microsoft's plans involved allowing family members and friends to share games purchased digitally. The backlash surrounding the DRM of the original Xbox One plan caused Microsoft to reverse many of the policies and features announced at that initial conference, including the ability to share digital games. We met with Xbox during its Spring Showcase last month and asked its head of programming Mike Ybarra about this seemingly forgotten feature.

According to Ybarra, the team is looking into it with regards to how it fits in with the Universal Windows Platform that touches both Xbox One and PC. "Steam has a great family plan right now," he says. "We’re looking at both from a Windows standpoint – well, what’s our policy of the Windows Store? How many people can play concurrent? How do you share? We’re going to merge those two topologies soon so that a whole new model for how you share games across that will be in place. We’re actively working on that now to try to figure [it out], but we want to get to a much simpler model and potentially one that lets you do more… have a little bit more freedom in what you can and can’t do."

For now, if you want to share your digital games with someone else, a slightly convoluted – but completely functional – workaround exists to allow you to share your digital library with one single other Xbox One owner. That way is to set your friend's Xbox One system as your home Xbox in the settings tab, and set your Xbox as your friend's home Xbox. When you set an Xbox as a your home Xbox, it enables any user signed into that console to play the games of that primary user. If both consoles are cross-set in that regard, it means that you're able to play any digital games on your profile, as well as any digital games on the profile of the person who's set that Xbox as their home Xbox.


Our Take
If Microsoft can figure out some way to make it so players can share games digitally, it would address one of the main criticisms to buying digitally. It doesn't sound like this is something that's at the top of Microsoft's priorities, but it does sound like something that is on the horizon if Microsoft can work out the details.