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So, uh. While using their console, it’ll be required to have a camera and mic pointed at you, as well as a net connection running? I’m not usually paranoid, but that does concern me somewhat.
It’s been kind of a rough day for Microsoft.
Regardless of how you felt about the presentation itself, I think we can all agree that the reveal of the Xbox One has been fraught with drama. From concerns about mandatory Kinect to used games and always-on internet, it’s been difficult to glean any solid information from the flurry of reports out of Redmond. Now that the day is over, I think this is a good time to step back and talk about exactly what we’ve learned today.
What we know:
We know that the Xbox One - not the Xbox Infinity or The Xbox or the XCube or whatever - has an 8-core processor, 8 gigs of RAM, and a controller that looks PRETTY MUCH like the 360 controller.
We know that Microsoft is pushing the concept of a single-box entertainment system pretty hard - not surprising, they’ve been doing this for years - because the XBO has HDMI-in for your cable box so the Kinect can pick up all those fancy voice commands.
Speaking of Kinect, we know that the Kinect comes packaged in the box, and is required for the XBO. There doesn’t appear to be an on/off switch for the thing - if it’s plugged in, it’s on and the mics are hot. Cue privacy concerns.
After several different interviews with several different media outlets that all seemed to contradict each other, we got the final word from Microsoft VP Phil Harrison about used game licences and always-on connectivity. From Eurogamer:
“So, think about how you use a disc that you own of an Xbox 360 game,” he began. “If I buy the disc from a store, I use that disc in my machine, I can give that disc to my son and he can play it on his 360 in his room. We both can’t play at the same time, but the disc is the key to playing. I can go round to your house and give you that disc and you can play on that game as well.
“What we’re doing with the digital permissions that we have for Xbox One is no different to that. If I am playing on that disc, which is installed to the hard drive on my Xbox One, everybody in my household who has permission to use my Xbox One can use that piece of content. [So] I can give that piece of content to my son and he can play it on the same system.”
Harrison then explained what happens when you want to take that game beyond the borders of your own home and into a friend’s place.
“I can come to your house and I can put the disc into your machine and I can sign in as me and we can play the game,” he explained.
“The bits are on your hard drive. At the end of the play session, when I take my disc home - or even if I leave it with you - if you want to continue to play that game [on your profile] then you have to pay for it. The bits are already on your hard drive, so it’s just a question of going to our [online] store and buying the game, and then it’s instantly available to play.
“The bits that are on the disc, I can give to anybody else, but if we both want to play it at the same time, we both have to own it. That’s no different to how discs operate today.”
That makes the issue of game ownership a lot clearer than it has been at any point so far. Once you install a game, it is tied to your Xbox login, and in this way Microsoft can avoid scenarios where you buy a game, install it, then just give the disc to all your friends so they can install and play it without paying for it.
The next issue is what happens when you finish with a game and want either to trade it in at a store or sell it on in another way.
“We will have a system where you can take that digital content and trade a previously played game at a retail store,” Harrison said. “We’re not announcing the details of that today, but we will have announced in due course.”
Harrison would not explain how this system worked for secondhand retail outlets like Gamestop - presumably because Microsoft doesn’t actually know yet. The impression that I get is that this “feature” is still very much in the works, so anything we learned today should be taken with a grain of salt. There’s really no unified message coming out of Microsoft.
We learned that the XBO requires an internet connection for some things, but not others. From the same interview with Phil Harrison:
“Some bits of the system will work offline,” he said. “I think the key point to make is that Xbox One requires an internet connection, but it does not need to be connected all the time. We think that most of the biggest games on Xbox One and most of the games and experiences and services you want to use will be internet-connected.”
“I don’t want to trivialise the issue because I know people are passionate about it, but I think most people will realise that the vast majority of content and experiences that they will want to enjoy on Xbox One will be the ones that have an online connectivity,” he continued.
“I think where people have anxiety understandably is what happens when the internet connection goes down for a few minutes or a few hours. On our side, with the infrastructure investments that we as Microsoft have made in Azure and Xbox Live dedicated servers that we will have for Xbox One, we are very confident that we have the infrastructure to support all of the players and all of the connections. And although it’s not directly an Xbox issue, it’s something Microsoft is proven to be really good at with Office 365.”
So: The XBO will definitely require an internet connection. This fact isn’t surprising. What we aren’t clear on is how outages and other offline scenarios will affect your ability to access the content that you buy. Microsoft’s answer is, as yet, forthcoming. Personally, I think Microsoft doesn’t really have much time to get its house in order. E3 is 18 days away, and you can bet that Sony is bringing their A game.
37 notes (via gamebreakingblog)
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