Rumors about Microsoft's Xbox One system have been floating around on the Internet for some time. Most concentrated on always-on requirements and used game sales. Microsoft up until now did not really confirm nor deny any of the rumors.
The always-on controversy cost Adam Oarth his job even though it seems that he was not too far off in regards to what he stated on Twitter.
The Xbox One does not require you to be permanently online, but you do need to connect once every 24h period if you are gaming on your main system or once every hour if you are using a separate console to access your game library.
If you do not, you cannot play games anymore unless you reconnect. What you can do however is watch TV or Blu-Ray and DVD movies.
The connection is used to "verify if system, application or game updates are needed and to see if you have acquired new games, or resold, traded in, or given your game to a friend".
This means first and foremost that you cannot play games before you connect the console at least once to the Internet.
While that is bad for people who live in areas with bad reception or none at all, it gets even worse for those who buy, sell or trade used games.
According to Microsoft, publishers can now decide whether you are allowed to trade-in games or not. And even if they allow it, you may only trade-in the games at participating retailers. While Microsoft does not charge extra fees for this, it is likely that game trading will come to a halt on the Xbox One.
As far as selling games online or handing them over to friends is concerned, this too is restricted. Again, game publishers can enable you to give your games to friends. Since they can enable you, it means that they can also disallow this just like they can disallow that you can trade-in your games at game retailers.
Even if they do, games may only be given to someone else once and that someone needs to have been on your friends list for at least 30 days.
This means that you cannot sell your used copy on eBay, Amazon or other online stores anymore unless you add the buyer to the friends list and you both wait 30 days before the deal is finalized.
Here is a list of things you cannot do with the Xbox One that you were able to do with the Xbox 360:
It is clear that Microsoft attempts to reduce the impact of the second hand market on publishers with these restrictions, and while publishers probably rejoice, it is limiting owners significantly.
Is there anything good that we can take from the two faqs? Microsoft is moving to the cloud and will make all games available as discs and digital copies on the same day. The entirely game library will be available in the cloud so that you do not need discs to play games. You can also log in on the system over at your friend's house and play your games there. It is likely that the one hour offline restriction applies to this scenario.
The system itself is not that different from how Steam operates. The major difference however is that Steam was designed to be this way from the very beginning, meaning that you knew that you were not able to trade or sell games that you activated on Steam. The Xbox and Xbox 360 on the other hand do not have that restriction. The end result is nearly identical though.
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