Xbox One licensing puts you last

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 7, 2013
Updated • Jun 7, 2013

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.

Today the company published a licensing and a connection faq on the Xbox website that answer many questions that users have in this regard.

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:

You cannot

  • Lend or rent games.
  • Play games unless you connect to the Internet once every 24 hour period.
  • Trade games unless approved by the game publisher. If approved, you can only trade-in games at pre-approved retailers.
  • Sell games unless approved by the game publisher. If approved, a game may only be traded once and only to users who have been friends with you for over 30 days.

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.


Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. james braselton said on October 31, 2013 at 2:18 am

    hi there yes internet conection gose down wich means eather build better internet

  2. JoJo said on June 9, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Very nice, very nice indeed.

    1- More reason for me to keep and upgrade my PC (coop: never been a fan of)
    2- with all of this and the waiting for PS4, I hear a faint but growing sound: Torrent
    3- this is even better, Xbox 360 will get cheaper, that is if I ever decided to get a console since I was 14 (RIP my old SEGA Genesis)
    4- My Money, My Choices, End of discussion

    how Poor and sad AngryJoe seemed on you tube the day MS announced Xbox 1, I couldnt stop my self laughing.

    Long live the PC (and powerfull laptops)

  3. hoffmanlenses said on June 8, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    Fingers crossed the PS4 takes advantage of Microsofts blatant Xbox 1(984). How ever, I won’t be holding my breath seeing as peoples rights are not top of anybody’s agenda!

  4. rpwheeler said on June 7, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    I don’t use Steam, and I’m not going to use Xbox either. My rules are simple: if I buy something, I want be the one who decides what to do with it (like with my PC). Connect, not connect, play, trade, rent and so on. If I’m not the one who owns, — that means I’m not your type of customer.

  5. imu said on June 7, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Microsoft’s way to empty your pocket :)
    Mess with customers, make them talk and talk and talk all over internet about it and at the end they will buy the Xbox One anyway.


    1. anon said on June 7, 2013 at 9:48 pm

      Just like what happen to Windows 8 and RT blistering sales right? Oh wait…

  6. Rick said on June 7, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    I think I’m missing something on all of this. Yes being online for multiplayer is one thing; having to call home every 24 hours is to combat piracy.

    Thing is, if one teen has a pirated copy, I’m guessing that a chunk of his friends might actually buy it instead. Sales.

    Now if that one teen never grabbed a pirated copy – will his friends still buy it?

    Kind of like mp3 downloads – I might listen to a sample of an unknown artist (to me), and if I like what I hear, off to the online store. If I didn’t have the “listen before you buy” option, I’m not shelling out.

    Martin – your dream gave me a good chuckle as well :)

  7. otto gunter said on June 7, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Sorry haters, but I can hardly wait to get one. It will be a wonderful addition to my living room, as my 360 is now, but will offer even more ability by connecting my tv to the internet and other pieces of the MS ecosystem, like SmartGlass. I can only surmise that this is what Apple wants their much-vaunted, never seen, Apple TV to be. I suppose I’m not one of the hard-core, and vocal, gamers out there, but they are a tiny minority at best when it comes to living room entertainment. To those people, I say stay in your dark bedrooms late into the night playing your FPS games, MS knows you’ll grow up one day and move out of your parent’s house.

    1. hoffmanlenses said on June 8, 2013 at 4:41 pm
  8. Robert Brown said on June 7, 2013 at 11:30 am

    On this one issue alone would I switch to some other gaming platform, probably Sony.

    1. Rick said on June 7, 2013 at 2:35 pm

      Just wait for Sony’s take on this. They have traditionally been hard-core DRM with their policies and if there is an opening, I believe they will take it with similiar policies to the Microsoft one.

      Remember Sony installing root registry entries without consent of users on their mp3 software years back? I think the execs would welcome back vinyl and proprietary game cartridges :)

      Only time will tell.

      1. Martin Brinkmann said on June 7, 2013 at 2:36 pm

        Would be really funny if Nintendo turned out to the winner after all because of this. I know, I’m dreaming but still, the thought makes me chuckle.

  9. Rick said on June 7, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Say what you wish but:

    1. Watch people flock when they see the new titles that will undoubtedly have a huge WOW factor .. after all, this thing has been in the works forever.

    2. If this is what Microsoft has done, I can’t even start to imagine how bad Sony’s offering will be in this regard.

    3. We’ve already seen Nintendo’s offering and that one is dead this round of gaming consoles.

    4. Constant connection? If you’re a 20+ gamer, this isn’t probably an issue. In your teens? Don’t worry, mom and dad are paying. At the cottage without a net connection? What the heck are you doing playing games? Can’t afford internet? You don’t have this box because of the price of consoles and games.

    5. Good luck finding another company with the capital and courage to get into the boom or bust business of gaming.

    1. anon said on June 7, 2013 at 3:06 pm

      Shit happens, and when your internet connection is down just at that moment when you actually have time and will to play game, what then? $400+ paperweight.

      Sure, software license is strict, but company has never exerted this much control before and I didn’t see them bankrupting left and right (provided that they actually make GOOD games). I’m really curious how this generation will ensue.

    2. Coyote said on June 7, 2013 at 2:14 pm

      #1, you’re probably right
      #2, Sony is playing it smart and not saying anything. Regardless all consoles are trying for a cloud based economy, no more boxes or discs at all.
      #3, Yup
      #4, You’re way off there. Unless you consider owning a xbox and the games to be a subscription then they have no right to prevent you from playing games offline whenever or wherever you want. In the case of cloud gaming see #2.
      #5, I’ve been very happy with my PC and looking forward android will likely be the game OS of choice, my phone already has HDMI out and I can play any game up to almost current console quality.

      1. Rick said on June 7, 2013 at 2:30 pm

        #4, You’re way off there. Unless you consider owning a xbox and the games to be a subscription then they have no right to prevent you from playing games offline whenever or wherever you want.

        I think you missed my thought on this one. I believe it’s not going to matter if you have to connect once a day to keep playing. Gamers will game.

        As for no right to require a connection, you have never owned them – the license states that you are permitted to use, and unfortunately, the companies can put any stipulations they want in this case.

        I’m not saying that I think it’s good business, but they have the legal right.

  10. Bill said on June 7, 2013 at 9:45 am

    This is why you have to vote with your dollars. I won’t be buying this thing and I encourage you not to either.

  11. Coyote said on June 7, 2013 at 9:23 am

    Steam however did start allowing games to be traded, somewhat.

    And the cloud gaming service is exactly where microsoft and sony and every other media giant for that matter want us to move to. There will be no more physical discs, which means they can make it so games are not a commodity but a channel. One that needs to have a constant subscription, and one they can treat like a TV station.

    Aside from no possibility to trade/sell or claim ownership of imagine playing a game and having it canceled 1/2 way through because it wasn’t getting the sales err ratings it should.

  12. Maou said on June 7, 2013 at 8:47 am

    Xbox one will be a total failure (I hope).

  13. LeslieM said on June 7, 2013 at 8:27 am

    And folks that is why I still have my Atari 2600 console (and a few spares) and hundreds of original games.

    Seriously, Microsoft are shooting themselves in the foot on this one and their competitors must be laughing their heads off.

    As I have mentioned before my only option here in country Australia is dialup and I certainly do not have a phone line near my TV set. I am not the exception to the rule here, in fact it is more common that the powers that be like to admit. So until the NBN gets up and running in the next decade (if at all), I am pretty sure that sales will be limited in this country, and having to connect what is essentially a TV game unit to the internet is simply stupid.

    1. Robert Brown said on June 7, 2013 at 11:35 am

      Would you really consider getting an always-on internet connection just so you could buy an XBox One?

  14. Yoav said on June 7, 2013 at 8:00 am

    This is depressing. Basically M$ is behaving like a drug dealer, and the gamers are the addicts. Addicts will sell their freedom for a fix, no question about that. It’s good business but I think not quite ethical…

  15. ikke said on June 7, 2013 at 7:20 am

    There is one fundamental difference between steam and console.
    As you said is Steam more PC based, which implies that I’m sitting alone for my pc, gaming against other players on their pc’s. Coop on one screen on PC is no longer a real and common option.
    Consoles on the other hand try to be a living room device and give the whole audience in your living room an experience, that includes playing Coop on on (big) TV screen.
    one screen coop games are more available and part of the reason why some people buy a console. therefore people want to move around with their games.
    And with the current Xbox implementation, this is no longer a valid option.

    imho a total bad move, like we came to expect from MS since W8. and W8.1 do not listen to your customers, but only to the big firms.
    It’s their choice, but it will not be mine.

  16. Shawn said on June 7, 2013 at 6:41 am

    Reminds me of the time game makers used to include a wheel of decoding to play the games “Ultima, Sierra, etc.”

    We all know how well thoses flopped.. heck I’m betting that someone will figure out on how to make a loopback server to do their own authentification just look how the movie industry drm is doing xD.

    This is one of thoses things that I am seriously going to enjoy the show.

  17. Nebulus said on June 7, 2013 at 3:53 am

    Another decision that limits the user’s choice. The problem is that all the corporations want is total control, so they can milk your money whenever they feel like it. And there is little to be done about it, because the competition is slim in numbers (in this case just 1, Sony PS4).

    As for Steam, I find them extremely annoying as well. I use to buy most of my games offline, from stores, and lately all DVDs are just Steam Backups. So even if I buy from a retailer, as soon as I want to play the game, I must “register” it to Steam, and my choice about what I do with it disappears. All I can do is to buy from DRM-free sources like GoG whenever I can, but that doesn’t work for newer games…

  18. ilev said on June 7, 2013 at 3:52 am

    There are other restrictions as well.

    You can’t replace, upgrade.. the internal hard disk.
    publishers can now decide via Kinect how many people are allowed in a room when playing and demand payment , otherwise the game will be blocked…

  19. Leon said on June 7, 2013 at 3:51 am

    all i can say is F YOU MICROSOFT

  20. Matt said on June 7, 2013 at 2:49 am

    Who the hell would spend money on this thing? So much about it is so overtly anti-consumer, it’s as if Microsoft is begging people NOT to buy it.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on June 7, 2013 at 2:53 am

      It is likely that the majority of Xbox 360 owners will buy one, and that most do not really know about those restrictions unless Microsoft makes it very clear on the packaging. Even then, it may not matter that much.

      Sure, the Internet is vocal and up in arms, but we are just a small part of the overall gaming community.

      1. EuroScept1C said on June 8, 2013 at 2:22 am

        That’s exactly the case, unfortunately.

        Though, it still does matter if the first day instead of 1.000.000 million sales, they now gonna sell 980.000 ’cause of this… Small difference, but I really hope so, at least.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.