Xbox News: Internet Connection, Licensing and Privacy Concerns
6/8/2013 by: Denis Jelec
Just a few days ago, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) began detailing the information on their upcoming Xbox One gaming console, or rather, a home entertainment system. Whilst some will be relieved in a way as the console doesn’t require a permanent internet connectivity, many will still be cross at the company since the console still needs to connect online, even if one plays the offline game in single player mode or something similar. This is to ensure that the console works “optimally” and with all “features”, according to the company. “Xbox One is designed 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.” However, it is worth noting that the TV, Blu-ray and DVD movies will work without such limitations. For those interested, the Xbox One will connect online via gigabit Ethernet port or via dual antenna 802.11n wireless in 5GHz band. You can find more technical info here.
Games on optical discs are gradually being retired, though folks at Microsoft are still counting on physical media for distribution. Regardless, they claim that the user will be able to purchase the games on discs or in digital variant on the same day the game is released. The too-good-to-be-true part is found – and it concerns the game library sharing with the family. The company notes that “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,” and adding that “You can always play your games, and any one of your family members can be playing from your shared library at a given time.” If this turns out to be the case, it is simply amazing.
Additionally, the company decided to make it possible to perform trade-ins and give games to friends if need be. “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.” Apparently, it will be possible for a user to give the game to a friend, free of charge and if enabled by the game publisher. Microsoft did put some restrictions in this case as “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.” The company is even considering the option to loan or rent games, but it is still “being explored with partners.”
Even though the expected launch of Xbox One is sometime later this year, some communities have expressed their discontent with the always watching Kinect, which must be connected at all times. Microsoft directly noted that any conversations in the room are not recorded or uploaded anywhere, adding that the sensor listens only to a single command while the console is off (It awaits the Xbox on command). “You can play games or enjoy applications that use data, such as videos, photos, facial expressions, heart rate and more, but this data will not leave your Xbox One without your explicit permission,” they added. The company has certainly taken a steady position, given that regulations in some parts of the world (predominantly the EU – Data Protection Act, which fined Sony after the PSN hack in 2011) are very tight in regards to privacy.
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