Xbox One licensing benefits and restrictions

Xbox One licensing benefits and restrictions

Microsoft have announced the specific details of how DRM on their new platform will handle game licenses, and it is not as bad as people feared, in fact its pretty damn good, we take a look at how it compares to Steam further down the page.

  • Buy the way you want–disc or digital–on the same day: You’ll be able to buy disc-based games at traditional retailers or online through Xbox Live, on day of release. Discs will continue to be a great way to install your games quickly.
  • Access your entire games library from any Xbox One–no discs required: After signing in and installing, you can play any of your games from any Xbox One because a digital copy of your game is stored on your console and in the cloud. So, for example, while you are logged in at your friend’s house, you can play your games.
  • Share access to your games with everyone inside your home: Your friends and family, your guests and acquaintances get unlimited access to all of your games. Anyone can play your games on your console--regardless of whether you are logged in or their relationship to you.
  • Give your family access to your entire games library anytime, anywhere: Xbox One will enable new forms of access for families. Up to ten members of your family can log in and play from your shared games library on any Xbox One. Just like today, a family member can play your copy of Forza Motorsport at a friend’s house. Only now, they will see not just Forza, but all of your shared games. You can always play your games, and any one of your family members can be playing from your shared library at a given time.
  • Trade-in and resell your disc-based games: Today, some gamers choose to sell their old disc-based games back for cash and credit. We designed Xbox One so game publishers can enable you to trade in your games at participating retailers. Microsoft does not charge a platform fee to retailers, publishers, or consumers for enabling transfer of these games.
  • Give your games to friends: Xbox One is designed so game publishers can enable you to give your disc-based games to your friends. There are no fees charged as part of these transfers. There are two requirements: you can only give them to people who have been on your friends list for at least 30 days and each game can only be given once.

What I'm most happy about is undoubtedly letting up to ten family members access your entire gaming collection on any Xbox One, at any time. That was a big area of concern, especially for households with multiple Xboxes, now its sorted. I can buy a game, my other half can play it and vice versa, don't even need to bother finding the discs, great for going away and using a friend's Xbox.

Microsoft also confirmed they wouldn't be taking any cut from second-hand sales, however they do give 3rd party publishers ability to setup specific terms with retailers. As we expected, hence EA dropping online passes lately, their ability to take a cut is now built into the system, so hopefully no more annoying codes to type in.

In exchange for you, your friends and family being able to access your gaming collection on any Xbox without bothering to find any discs, your primary Xbox One console must check licenses every 24 hours, and secondary consoles must check every hour. Presumably to make sure you're not all playing 10-person multiplayer from a single copy of the game.

Obviously the haters will continue to hate. But let's look at other online digital platforms, say Steam for example for leading digital distribution platform for the PC, others such as Origin are comparable.

Xbox One Steam
Access your entire library from any machine Yes Yes
Share access to your games to anyone in your house Yes Nope, your account only
Give your family access to your games library from any machine Yes Nope, your account only
Lend games to your friends Yes Nope, your account only
Resell disc-based games Yes Nope, stuck to your account forever

Makes Steam seem pretty primitive. How about it Gabe, can I lend games to friends, and access my families whole library?

What do you think? Leave a comment below.