I am sure many potential Xbox One customers just breathed a sigh of relief after reading the above headline. Yes, it’s true, all the talk the last few days combined with the severe backlash appears to have been heard by someone…because used games for the Xbox One no longer require a fee. That is, assuming they ever did to begin with, since Microsoft has been fairly unclear on the matter. According to sources at Polygon:
The Xbox One will automatically authenticate a game using an encryption code built into a game’s disc, when it is installed on the machine. That authentication on the console’s hard drive tied to the game is then verified regularly through an internet connection.
When a person sells the game or it is installed and played on another system, the game is deauthenticated on the original machine until the disc is brought back and used to re-authenticate the installation.
This seems to make a lot more sense for consumers. The game doesn’t appear to uninstall from my system (leading to any re-install waiting when you get the game back), and it doesn’t cost my buddy who borrows the game to any money to play it. I just can’t play it while he has the disc – which is exactly how it works today. Thus, instead of authenticating and tying the game to an account, it just ties to the system and can be tied to another system just as easily.
The exact specifications for how this works isn’t detailed, but one would assume it’s mostly through the internet. The Xbox One does require internet, after all. While it’s not clear how often it needs to connect, there is still some wiggle room if your Xbox One is offline that you could play the game you borrowed your friend for a short time until it requires that server check-in. At that point, you can safely assume the console will simply not let you play anything until you connect to the internet so it can do a cross check on activations. This system seems to be the sole reason the Xbox One requires internet at all – so, while it may cut out some consumers, it’s not inherently a bad system. Especially if it’s a means to combat piracy, which those server checks should assuredly help with.
In the end this really should take some of the major heat off the console itself. Of course, there are still plenty of things to complain about, such as the requirement of not only having the Kinect 2.0 plugged in… but effectively on at all times. People naturally worry it could eventually be hacked (Microsoft says it’s not possible, which just means now hackers around the world will try to figure out a way so they can boast when they are the first to do it), which leads to a massive invasion of privacy: you could potentially record anything anyone is doing in their living rooms at all times. This may already occur anyways, but if you wade through legal mumbo jumbo it can never be released in any manner that you would know if it does happen (legally it probably can’t happen, but we can’t be foolish enough to think it doesn’t).
You can also still have a perfectly legit complaint about the fact it can’t stand upright, which…may be personal preference, but I think most can at agree it’s too big. Between requiring internet, always-on kinect, and the console itself, it looks there is still plenty to be upset about if you so choose (yes, some people don’t like the TV stuff, skype, and all that jazz… but it is a natural extension of what the 360 can already do and therefore pretty much expected). That being said, this move may have convinced me to give the Xbox One another chance to prove itself.