Microsoft on loaning and gifting digital Xbox One games -- "We totally believe in that future"

Xbox boss Phil Spencer says Microsoft is now "fully heads down" in working to introduce new marketplace functionality to the Xbox One.

Microsoft is committed to expanding the Xbox One's digital marketplace functionality with new features like loaning and gifting downloaded titles, Xbox boss Phil Spencer told GameSpot in a new interview. Speaking with us from the 2014 Game Developers Conference last week in San Francisco, Spencer made it clear that digital will be a focus going forward.

"We believe in a digital future on our box," Spencer said, making sure to point out that retail is important to the company as well. Spencer says Microsoft can maintain its business with traditional retailers while simultaneously beefing up its own digital initiatives.

"On the digital space, and the things that we've talked about, what that opens up...like we understand what games you own and who you are and how you move around and who you might want to loan rights to your games or gift your games to," Spencer said. "We totally believe in that future. And any other marketplace you play in, these kind of mechanisms are out there."

Indeed, Valve's Steam marketplace currently allows its 65 million users to gift games to friends. The company also recently introduced a Family Sharing program that lets users play one another's games and even earn their own achievements and save progress via the cloud.

"We are now fully heads down on thinking about and building out the future of our digital marketplace to enable what people would expect, and hopefully some things that will delight them beyond their expectations" -- Spencer

Microsoft originally planned to offer its own Family Sharing plan for Xbox One, which would have allowed users to share their titles with up to ten others from any console, but the company ditched this feature after it reversed a number of controversial Xbox One policies in June.

This functionality, and other new features, appear to be ready for a comeback.

"We are now fully heads down on thinking about and building out the future of our digital marketplace to enable what people would expect, and hopefully some things that will delight them beyond their expectations," Spencer said.

Finally, Spencer yet again addressed the controversial few months Microsoft endured following the Xbox One announcement in May and its the policy reversals a month later after E3 last June.

"I know when I say this I always get beat up, but I think some of what we were trying to say last summer was right," Spencer said. That said, Spencer made it clear that Microsoft could have done a better job in communicating the value of its since-reversed digital initiatives.

This isn't the first time Spencer has addressed last summer's Xbox One controversy. Speaking at SXSW this month, Spencer said, "when you're going to say something to a consumer that might put them off, it's better to just be direct and honest, rather than trying to sugar-coat something that might be controversial."

Also in our interview, Spencer talked about Microsoft's competition with Sony's PlayStation 4, saying "We are in this to win."

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Discussion

343 comments
niknokseyer
niknokseyer

I hope they'll come to the point that Microsoft / XBox will allow the users to have the option to opt-in to "daily checkins / always online" and just the regular old school one.

For myself, I'll go all in to go all digital. I'm looking forward to use my physical discs as installers and the game is just stored digitally and linked to my account. I don't get why people are complaining yet they use the same method in getting games with Steam.

daikkenaurora12
daikkenaurora12

Microsoft wants to do a xone model with no physical drive.

lostn
lostn

Yeah sure you are Microsoft. You tried to put always online DRM to prevent people from trading/selling/renting/lending their games. After the backlash you received, you did a U turn. You're only telling us now that you wanted to loan and gift digital games because the people already spoke and were against you, and you want to tell us what we missed out on, which is easy to say when you don't need to back up your claims.


I will loan and gift my physical discs thanks, and I don't need your help in doing so.


There is no way MS were ever going to let you loan out digital games. They didn't even want you being able to do that with physical disc games. Everyone complains about money lost due to used game sales and rentals. This would only exacerbate the problem. Microsoft endorsing it would just be making the problem even worse than it was. It was the reason why stakeholders wanted an all digital future in the first place, and why Microsoft jumped in early. They were going to bed with publishers in exchange for expected exclusives. Too bad the consumer shunned them and embraced Sony, hence forcing MS to backpedal. Nice try, but you're way too early. The world isn't ready for downloading 50GB games onto a 500GB (less than 400GB available after OS actually) HDD just yet.

ggregd
ggregd

Steam's family sharing is a mess.  It's hard to set up and when you do, other people can only play your games one at a time and only when you're not logged into Steam - so you can't play one game while someone else plays another. (And using offline mode doesn't circumvent this.)  You have to share ALL your games, you can't pick which ones you want to allow Junior to access.


I can see not letting 2 people play the same copy of a game at the same time, or not letting poeple buy one copy of a multiplayer game and having a LAN party, but the restrictions are too much.

shindzz
shindzz

When you are forced to copy and install the entire contents of a game disk onto the XBOne hard drive, but still have to physically insert discs to play the games, a digitally downloaded game makes a lot of sense: it's much handier to avoid the physical switch over of discs. 

However, before we could even consider buying digital copies of games, their price should: 

A. Be no more expensive than their physical counterparts (digital game prices are ridiculous); 

B. Be cheaper, to reflect the cost savings due to game disk and package production, as well as the cost of transport and storage (which would be considerable). 

I don't see why local game merchants couldn't sell digital codes, which should keep everyone happy.

ravenglass1
ravenglass1

Digi is the way to go , no putting disk in or taking them out  , just say xbox goto titanfall and when your done xbox goto Ryse, so much faster i love it

assertive_user
assertive_user

Well Micro$oft, you can go right ahead and stick that future up your arse...

fillup0
fillup0

One of my favorite things to do with consoles is to bring a game, a controller and my memory stick round to a mates to play some split screen. It's the only reason I still own home consoles despite having a PC. If Microsoft can come up with a solution to still encourage local play where you bring a game round to a friends house, I'm all for a digital future.

berserker66666
berserker66666

Unfortunately......no one believes in the Xbone.

justinka777
justinka777

too bad the future totally doesn't believe in you.

teller76567
teller76567

DRM is just around the bend it seems like, i was considering to get the xbox one but now i don't know. I don't know if i can really trust Microsoft any more i'm glad that i didn't piss my money away. Sad to say that the future of AAA+ titles are going away. But when they have to depend on the "Cloud" that's when it will get really sketchy because when they decide to pull the plug down the road then what? It's something else to me that they just didn't put out something that would be able to push and make it's way for the console's life but needing to depend on out going servers to keep it fully up to speed...just chilling and cold is what it is.

Faye_Tallity
Faye_Tallity

OMG. That's it, I'm convinced! You X-be-idiots, are some of the most confused generation on the planet! It sounds like most of M$ fans are just following a sugar coated carrot on a stick. You guys really gotta be careful what you wish for. It will certainly be too late, to change the policy, they couldn't shove down your throat the first time. Now you're willing to deep throat M$. Then they talk about US being ponies! HAHAHAHA! 


No, but seriously, I'm very worried my gaming brothers, & a few sisters. Have they lost their FREAKIN MINDS?!?! o.O

Some interesting points to this policy.

Let's go over some of them, shall we?! 

*taps on blackboard with stick* 


#1! Xbox players will no longer be able to lend disc-based games to a friend; you can give them away, but only once, and only if you’ve been Xbox Live friends for more than 30 days, and YOU CAN NEVER GET IT BACK.


Who wants this?! Raise your hand. 


#2! A 24 hour online check (Ick!)


#3! “The thing is that DRM, media rights and how they intermingle with the law is a mess,” says Tomas Leaf. “IP law, Copyright law and Contract law, all apply to this issue and the manner in which this all moves is very fluid. The law changes only by an appellate court changing the common law or by legislature passing new laws, which is inherently cumbersome and slow.


“The facts of a 1996 case regarding EULA’s are so out of date we might as well be debating whether or not tyrannosaurs have a right to eat leftovers of a Stegosaurus left by a pack of velociraptors.”


When you realize you have NO RIGHTS to your games, why have even more restrictions, than before? 


What happens, when you don't want them anymore? How will you escape the tyranny, that is M$?!


http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/06/19/digging-into-xbox-ones-used-games-policy


This is SUCH a good article. I could've copied & pasted the whole thing. It's one of those "food for thought articles"


It really makes you think. Some really interesting points for you softies to consider. Good luck!  : )  

Kinguard73
Kinguard73

"We believe in a digital future on our box," Spencer said, making sure to point out that retail is important to the company as well. Spencer says Microsoft can maintain its business with traditional retailers while simultaneously beefing up its own digital initiatives.


Why do I feel bile collecting in my throat fearing the DRM thing form the past is about to resurface it's ugly head?

finalkain
finalkain

If I had a dollar for every MS PR announcement, I could buy a PS4 by now...

ALLoY1717
ALLoY1717

Microsoft is so far behind when it comes to digital content. Being over seas there is pretty much nothing that isn't blocked to me. 

nurnberg
nurnberg

Microsoft on loaning and gifting digital Xbox One games -- "We totally believe in that future  (Just forget the multiple instances we tried to screw you one year ago and act like it never happened.)"

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

So why haven't you implemented it yet?  What are you waiting for?


Steam already beat you to it.

pedrovnone
pedrovnone

Or the future is PS4! Let's see what microsoft have for us...

samalicious
samalicious

@lostn  "There is no way MS were ever going to let you loan out digital games."

You can already do this on the X1.  My brother lives across town and he can play my digital games with no issue. Whats more is that we can play the same game at the time on 2 different Xbox Ones.

ggregd
ggregd

@shindzz  "A. Be no more expensive than their physical counterparts (digital game prices are ridiculous); 

B. Be cheaper, to reflect the cost savings due to game disk and package production, as well as the cost of transport and storage (which would be considerable). "

Don't these two amount to one, digital should be cheaper?  If PC digital games are any indication, they're much cheaper.

"I don't see why local game merchants couldn't sell digital codes, which should keep everyone happy."

Who's going to make the trip to a retail store to buy a digital code when all they need to do is use their credit card online and start downloading?  Only people who have to pay with cash.

UNCStriker88
UNCStriker88

@shindzz Why would you go to a store and buy a digital code when you can just buy it without leaving your home? That's a big part of the point when buying digital

GrenadeLauncher
GrenadeLauncher

@ravenglass1 I'd rather have my ownership rights and peace of mind that it won't be gone forever when they turn the servers off.

WolfgarTheQuiet
WolfgarTheQuiet

@berserker66666  They are trying real hard to sell this thing. Its simple, all you need is PC and PS4, previous PS consoles, Game Cube, Dreamcast and few others and your gaming is set.

bdrtfm
bdrtfm

@TheExxorcist Wow, not only are you a troll but, you are a lazy one. Now you copy and paste your comments from one article comment to another? I think it's pretty sad that a person has to base their enjoyment on their console with the demise of another.

sleepyinmorning
sleepyinmorning

@teller76567 xbox one is 2014-15 and ps4 in 2016,that's the best thing,i wasted my money on a graphic card with os,cpu and playstaion logo,its like keeping it in a temple and praying in front of it everyday

TaylorAP13
TaylorAP13

@Faye_Tallity It's late where I am and so I have refrained from reading your article, however on your comment (which I did read) you seem to think that the microsoft fans did not what their original policies in the first place. However most of the really "hardcore" fans actually wanted their policies in the first place. So I would argue that the "true" fan base is not being tricked because it's exactly what we wanted in the first place. It was the Sony fans that had a heart attack, sadly they didn't actually have one (jking, jking). I'm guessing you're not a PC gamer since most people talking about consoles seem not to be, but if you've ever used Steam (I'm sure you know of it) then you should know that 99.99% of PC gamers love it and what Microsoft is trying to implement is really not that different from what Steam has going.


I think what is happening is that all the older gamers who have been playing since th 80's and 90's are afraid, or whatever you want to call it, of this whole "digital downloaded game" and what not. The younger gamers are much more accepting of it because well I know when I was younger and couldn't drive... Which was like a month or two ago... It would suck if I wanted a console game cause I'd have to wait for mommy or daddy to take me, but if I can just download it digitally I don't have to wait for mommy or daddy! YEAH!


Digital download will take over the gaming industry eventually, it's only a matter of time I give it... 10-20 year max. Either way I don't care, I just hate the argument that "Microsoft is evil and trying to scam people." Please shut up if your that person, if you don't like it FINE, but stop the whole scam crap (not pointing you out just everyone in general).


Lastly, I give you HUGE props for giving and opinion and linking an article, could do without the intro though. Overall much more civilized then most of the people commenting on here.

TaylorAP13
TaylorAP13

@ALLoY1717 I'm confused... How are they far behind? Nintendo is the only one who has gone REALLY in depth with digital content. Sony hasn't done much except thei indie game and Microsoft has those. Now if you're comparing it to PC's then yes, all 3 consoles probably are far behind (maybe not Nintendo, hard to say).

TaylorAP13
TaylorAP13

@Thanatos2k Because when they first talked about it a year ago everyone just about died "OH NO DIGITAL DOWNLOAD NOT FOR CONSOLES NOOOOOOO!" I'm a PC gamer and I want this, Steam is the best thing to ever happen to the gaming industry. Haha

aozman
aozman

How do you do that???

aozman
aozman

How do u do that?

lostn
lostn

@samalicious Does he need to use your account? Can you sell him the game?

hina_ken
hina_ken

@ggregd  People who give games as gifts too, don't forget.


Also, to allow incentive for deals and sale as well.

shindzz
shindzz

@ggregd @shindzz  The point I was making was that: A. at the very least should be no more expensive; B. of course they should be cheaper; and as for the last point see my response above. 

Who said that the merchant sales would have to be in person. I was not saying that this method is essential, I'm only trying to find a solution to the extortionate price digital software is at the moment, as MS and Sony are afraid of alienating their main routes to market.

hina_ken
hina_ken

@UNCStriker88  Some people prefer to pay with cash rather than having their credit card online.  


Also, sometimes people buy gifts for their kids/grandkids/friends/etc.  This way they can pick it up from the store and gift it there after.


Also, this allows for retailers to offer deals like BOGO or other discounts.


There are many reasons why this makes sense, ya just have to think about it a little.

shindzz
shindzz

@UNCStriker88 @shindzz  Because: Xbox Live is so expensive, due to MS not wanting to alienate shops/distribution chains etc. However, if retailers could trade in the digital content, everyone wins. Customer=good value digital application, Retailer=Normal trade (same as physical copies), MS/Developers=Extra route for games to be sold (nobody pays for the expensive digital software).

By the way, there is no reason why these retailers couldn't sell the download codes on-line directly to customers.

ggregd
ggregd

@GrenadeLauncher @ravenglass1  Titanfall will still be useless if they turn their servers off.  And that's the general trend, so there will be more and more games that require a connection to play for one reason or another.

LeoKRock
LeoKRock

@lostn @feeblemind77 @force_user1975 @samalicious I have the same deal with my brother as samalicious.

I have to be online to download the games.


And I have to be online to play the games that I bought with my account because they are linked to my brothers console, 


But I don´t have to be online to play the games that my brother bought with his account because they are linked to my console.


So when you buy digital you get two copies of the game, one linked to the console and one linked to the account.


This works similarly (but not the same) for Xbox 360 and PS3

feeblemind77
feeblemind77

@lostn @force_user1975@samaliciousWhat they mean is Samalicous' brother owns an Xbox One and he owns an Xbox One. He sets his brothers Xbox One as Samalicious' home xbox console so he can download and play games on that Xbox One without being on the internet. Samalicious' Xbox One can also download and play the games but he has to be connected to online to do it. I haven't done it due to paranoia of Microsoft repercussions but it's a cool way to play your friends/families digital purchases. Make sense?

force_user1975
force_user1975

@lostn @samalicious  You don't need their account, just have to have your Xbox One as the main console and other people can play your game for free. How can you sell a digital game to someone? Although Microsoft is said to be working on this as well. 



TaylorAP13
TaylorAP13

I sure as hell hope that's not what they were saying considering the damn thing was coming with a CD-ROM no matter what. Pretty sure you could still buy hard copies, it would maybe be harder to get, but you could. Other wise there would be no reason for the ROM.

aozman
aozman

Sorry. Didn't see the replys. Does this work on more than two xbox one consoles??

LeoKRock
LeoKRock

@aozman  More or less, but maximum two simultaneously (the home console + anywhere where the account that bought the content is logged in).


There are two ways of sharing


1) - SHARE YOUR HOME CONSOLE


Anybody can play your games in your home console


So set the console where you want to share your games as your home console, so if you are the only gamer in the house and have constant and reliable internet access I recommend setting a console that it´s not your main as your home console.


I set my home console as the console at my mother´s house, so that my brother can play my games. Similarly my brother set his home console as the console at my apartment so that I can play his games. 


2) - SHARE YOUR ACCOUNT


Any console where your account is logged in can play your games. 


If I want to play my brothers games when I´m visiting him or my mother I have to log in with his account. This doesn´t mean that I have to play with his profile (I can use mine, with my progress, without interfering in his) but his profile have to be also "open". 


I wouldn´t recommend doing it this way outside your immediate family as this might involve sharing credit card information. Also, if my brother is not home and logged in at a friend´s house and I´m visiting my mother I don´t have access to his games, as his account can only be used in one Xbox One at a time.