Xbox One Family Sharing, Pre-Loading Still on Microsoft's Radar

Phil Spencer says, "I haven't given up on those ideas."

When Microsoft announced sweeping Xbox One policy changes last summer, the company did away with the ambitious Family Sharing plan that would have allowed users to share their games library with up to 10 family members on any Xbox One. This feature may be gone, but it's not forgotten. It could actually be implemented someday, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer said during a recent Gamertag Radio podcast.

"We looked at the digital features that we had talked about last year and as a gamer, there were a lot of those features that I think really resonated and were smart features for people who really have a lot of games and maybe play on a couple consoles or have bunch of people in the house or want to share with friends," Spencer said. "As I look at our monthly update roadmap, those kind of features are in our roadmap. There is a little bit of a challenge now that you've got DRM on a disc."

"I haven't given up on those ideas" -- Phil Spencer on Xbox One Family Sharing and other scuttled features

"I haven't given up on those ideas," he added. "There's some complexity now that you've got these discs that have DRM that you've got to figure out. But it's definitely part of our [roadmap] with the overall product."

Also during the podcast, the interviewer suggested that Microsoft could introduce a sharing plan for digital games only, but Spencer said this is also problematic. According to Spencer, it wouldn't exactly be fair for people who bought a physical copy of a game only to find out later that the digital version has an enhanced feature like digital sharing. "That's not an excuse for not doing it," Spencer admitted, adding that if this feature is ever implemented, it will be done "in the right way."

Spencer also said during the podcast that Microsoft still has its sights set on bolstering the Xbox One's digital features through new services like pre-loading functionality. Sony recently introduced this feature on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.

The Xbox One launched in November, and is currently being outsold by the rival PS4, but it may not be that way forever, according to Microsoft. The $399 Xbox One went on sale on June 9 and is "flying off the shelves" at GameStop. We'll have a better indication about sales when the NPD Group releases June figures early next month.

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

194 comments
TheWatcher000
TheWatcher000

We know you haven't  given up on your digital fascism schemes, Phil.


I am sure they will be along in one of those "midnight updates" soon enough.

I think it's time for gaming to give up on you and your company.



DVONvX
DVONvX

lot of sony fanboys here. i thought you all would be camped outside gamestop waiting for Uncharted 4 and the Last Guardian. 

LeoKRock
LeoKRock

"According to Spencer, it wouldn't exactly be fair for people who bought a physical copy of a game only to find out later that the digital version has an enhanced feature like digital sharing."


It´s not about the people, it´s about the retailers.. This would be really bad for GameStop! 

No used digital games, and I´m guessing the demand for retail discs would take a big hit as well.

GrenadeLauncher
GrenadeLauncher

Xbox shills Dannystaples, Sevenizz, Bunchanumbers, Jameston88, rasterror, sladakrobot and milleniaxender to the rescue!


lol family sharing. Dat DRM is coming back.

ahmazinskm
ahmazinskm

What ever implementation that comes of the family share plan, be prepared for a severely watered down version. Sharing 1 game with 9 other people? Can anyone say, profit loss? 10 people sharing 1 purchase, $60. That's $540 lost to publishers... Why is no one doing the math? It just doesn't make any sense. If I was a publisher, I certainly wouldn't allow Microsoft to let people share 1 copy of my game. Pfft... Please someone tell me how this would possibly work financially?

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

Green is my favourite colour, yet the green of Xbox genuinely annoys me to look at sometimes.


i think it's all the marketing.  That colour is everywhere :|

wallacom
wallacom

Family sharing was a great idea that people took the wrong way, same as the 24hr online connection. I understand not everyone wants to be connected all the time or their ISP just cant handle it yet. I hope they will revise their plans and bring back family sharing.

theredjoka
theredjoka

This doesn't really effect me cause I prefer to by physical copies of games

I mean its a cool feature but again doesn't effect me

I personally don't have any big issues with my Xbox One and the only way I ever buy digital games is if its Arcade titles or free games (like what the 360 dose)

bmart970
bmart970

This was actually a good feature, so I ain't even mad,

xblorder
xblorder

"According to Spencer, it wouldn't exactly be fair for people who bought a physical copy of a game only to find out later that the digital version has an enhanced feature like digital sharing.


I can share my physical copies with my mates and family, can someone explain to me how giving this feature to more expensive digital games is unfair to the cheaper physical copies?

UnstoppableKARL
UnstoppableKARL

Phil Spencer says, "I haven't given up on those ideas."

It's all good, because I did.

Stevo_the_gamer
Stevo_the_gamer moderator moderator

Definitely should look into incentives for DD offerings such as lower prices, and preloading. 

rmiller365
rmiller365

Ugh. Eveytime Phil Spencer talks about the Xbox One Microsoft's shares take a hit. Please phil .... Just stop talking. Your statements no longer have any credibility.

Fatalv
Fatalv

@shinjuki Well… congrats Rip Van Winkle. Go take a nap cause it's going to be awhile!

CaptHowdy22
CaptHowdy22

@ahmazinskm Because you are looking at this like 10 people would be playing 1 shared game at the same time, which for obvious reasons would never be allowed. It is more like game loaning than sharing. You would 'share' your game with a friend but you could not play it until he returned it. People already do this with their physical discs, they let a friend borrow a game from their game library..this is the same idea just limited to 10 people that can borrow from your library. Allowing this for digital games will be good, not sure how they are going to pull off digitally sharing physical discs without bringing back DRM though.

ohara1974
ohara1974

too bad they never see 1080p

VenkmanPHD
VenkmanPHD

@Dissentioncc As long as I don't HAVE to be connected to the internet to play my games, who cares?

That was the only problem I ever had with the new console. If I take my console somewhere without internet access there is NO legitimate reason I shouldn't be able to play Dead Rising 3.

pspearman
pspearman

@xblorder  Giving your copy to your mate is not sharing, its lending it. Digital sharing is the ability for you to share your copy with your friends and family and you can all play it at the same time.

sladakrobot
sladakrobot

@xblorder Your friend is in another city,you need time to give it to him,you use your car and use fuel,

VenkmanPHD
VenkmanPHD

@Stevo_the_gamer Absolutely. I buy a lot of digital games, but 90% of them are games that I once had on disc, and now that they are down in price I want the digital copy just so I don't have to change discs to change games.

If they would offer the digital version for 10-15 bucks less, I would buy them up in a heartbeat.

rasterror
rasterror

@rmiller365 Wrong! For the past year MS shares have gained almost 10 points. They're definitely better than Sony's shares. Your fanboy distortion field is very very strong

NX75
NX75

@CaptHowdy22 @ahmazinskm 


Well, no, they were going to let two people play at the same time: you and one of your ten friends. And each of those ten friends could play the games of their ten friends, and vice versa, ad infinitum. http://news.xbox.com/2013/06/license


My cousin and I were thinking of trading off buying games all generation long, even those we wanted to play together, because we still could. It sounded great, but then I tried looking at it from Microsoft's perspective, or from the perspective of game publishers, and it didn't make any sense at all. Not unless the "family members" you're sharing with only had some kind of limited access, the way you can play Far Cry 4 with someone who doesn't own the game, where it's sort of like a demo. That's when it makes sense. Which, as you may recall, rumors were swirling about just before they called it all off. There were reports that the Family Sharing feature was really only going to be a couple of hours of access in total, or limited in a number of other ways, and not truly full, free access to the game. I'm sure those rumors were true, and that Microsoft, if they had stuck to their guns, would have had to announce those limitations and try to put a good spin on it. It's just that they were already failing to put a good enough spin on the DRM itself that they decided they couldn't afford to reveal another big disappointment like that so soon.


So with the decision to remove the DRM, they found they could sweep the Family Share feature under the rug, too, and they wouldn't have to ever reveal its disappointing true nature. Instead, they could now talk it up! Curiously, they waited until after they chose to remove it to shoot down all those rumors that it was a demo mode. "Of course it was full, free access to all of your friends' games!" And they used that to try to manipulate people into taking their side and on the DRM and become a sympathetic figure. "They made us take out the Family Share Plan!" they cried. "It was going to be everything you ever dreamed of! Free games for everyone!" Yeah, right. And they're STILL talking it up, even now, and teasing its return. It's not going to happen.


Then again, Steam ended up doing something similar. Of course there are more limitations than what Microsoft was proposing. It's not like you can just add people from your friends list--you have to share login information, and each library can only be used by one person at any given time, so it's really no different than logging into each other's accounts, which is not at all what Microsoft was saying they were going to do.

pspearman
pspearman

@VenkmanPHD @Dissentioncc  There was a legitimate reason for the 24hr check though and that was to enable the re-selling of games.


Originally all games whether bought digitally or at retail were going to be DRM'd, with your disk you would get a serial key etc. This took away the need for the disk once you installed your games etc.


The problem with this was people could buy a game, install it, go offline, trade it in and keep playing it. The 24hr check was there so people could only continue to play a game they had traded in for 24hr tops.


Sure its not ideal but its really the only way of getting both the benefits of physical ownership and digital ownership all in one.

console_war_vet
console_war_vet

@VenkmanPHD @Dissentioncc The legitimate reason was that Microsoft (and any company in the business of making profit) didn't want people to play games infinitely by selling their games and staying offline. Disc-less playback has it's drawbacks.

Dissentioncc
Dissentioncc

@sladakrobot @Dissentioncc Because anything headed back in that direction is not an improvement. If you really think they would give unfettered access between the libraries of 10 people, you are on crack. There is just no way it would happen. Something like Steam's family sharing is more likely what it would be. A system where you have to log onto an account on a specific system, enable access to that account on that system, and then the other person can play your games when you aren't playing. Basically, it's a waste of time. 

rmiller365
rmiller365

Wrong! At no point did I ever reference Sony at all. Phil Spencer is Microsoft's PR nightmare and You simply stating that it went up ten points at any given time does not support anything. Your fanboy defensiveness field is very strong.

TheWatcher000
TheWatcher000

@shinjuki 

Oh, s.hitjuggler how can you say that after all we've meant to each other.  :)


I see you're still vomiting up the junk psychological analysis.


And it's nice to see you've still retained all of your gender ignorance.  Or perhaps you just don't like getting beat up by a girl and having to admit it to yourself.

And you're adorable insults are just as sophomoric and ineffective as ever.  Although I DO detect a tad bit of bro aggression this time.   Are you getting coaching from deathstream? 


And, as I've told you a thousand times, there is absolutely nothing you can do to prevent me from responding to your sad, baiting drivel, and making you look like the confused, mama's boy with a latent Oedipus complex that you are.

There's a good tadpole. 

VenkmanPHD
VenkmanPHD

@pspearman @VenkmanPHD @Dissentioncc The concept of the trade-in is irrelevant here.

No matter what backwards justification you provide, requiring me to be on the internet to play my game is preposterous and draconian.

I understand the online requirement was a side-effect of allowing us to have all these versatile benefits...

But none of that matters, because if you have to be online to play the game... the rest is pointless.

Required to be online to play a physical disc I own is absolutely unjustifiably ridiculous.

ohara1974
ohara1974

the 10 member plan was there.....it would have been included with the 24hr check in......

surrealme
surrealme

@pound-u I disagree. Being able to still buy physical media but not having to have the disc in the console to play the game would have been great. It also would have enabled loaning your games to people anywhere in the world, without the need to hand them your physical disc. People are just so hung up on selling their games after they're done with them. You get so little back I've never understood that. If I bought it and got a good 40 hours of entertainment out of it I figure I've already gotten my money's worth. Why do I need to pawn it for a measly $5?

rmiller365
rmiller365

Your saying I'm lying and that Phil's bad unclear PR has NOT had a negative effect on Microsoft's shares? Wow. Please just think about that statement. Look at the Microsoft game division impact next time you try to get on a soapbox.

Dissentioncc
Dissentioncc

@surrealme @pound-u The continued spread of the idea that M$ was going to let people completely share games with 10 other people, and that there would be no drawbacks is ridiculous. You can dream all you want, but that isn't how it would have been. They would have lost so much money if they had the DRM policies and gave people the ability to share games with 10 people. Each person would have just bought one game and everyone would have had 10 games in their library. Complete bs.

rasterror
rasterror

@rmiller365 Yes I am.  Seeing that their shares have gone up since the release I can honestly say that. And their game division, despite what you may believe, still brings in 40% of all gaming revenue. 

You can have your own opinions but never your own facts.

ohara1974
ohara1974

only one person could play the game out of the library......as for drawbacks i agree....but the plan was there from the beginning

surrealme
surrealme

@godslayer61  I've been gaming since before the Atari 2600. I play probably 10-20 hours a week still. I also have an always on internet connection and have for close to 20 years. The 24 hour check-in would have been absolutely no problem for me. The benefits gained from it would have far outweighed the cons. I sure as hell wasn't worried about losing the ability to sell games to GameStop or some other leach on the industry which I never do anyway. Shove your "real gamer" BS. You don't get to define who is and who isn't. Today's self-proclaimed real gamers have turned into a bunch of whining entitled paranoid twits.

rasterror
rasterror

@rmiller365 And what is the stock price today? Yeah.....And did you see how Sony's stock took a nose dive even after the success of the PS4?

rmiller365
rmiller365

Once again I never even said anything about Sony at all. And you can see the shares dive ON the effective dates. You can state what the shares are today but your not even listening, Your just attacking. My statement was on Phil Spencer and not the Xbox as a whole.

For the record I love my Xbox.

rasterror
rasterror

@rmiller365 You said every time he talks his shares take a hit. Now is that true or is that false?

rmiller365
rmiller365

*sigh* I'm pretty sure I provided a link for you showing dips in shares. (You know FACTS you where speaking of.) I had to emphasize the fact that my statement was aimed at Phil Spencer because for some reason you kept bringing up Sony like I was bashing on the xbox. You called me a liar even though I provided proof for my claims even though you obviously did not look at it because you are still asking the same question and completely dismissed those facts before moving back to the Sony thing again.

So next time you try and spout off nonsense like Snooki on a bender please just simply listen to what was said rather than just simply think of the new pop off you can throw out there. Otherwise (see above) it just looks like you never completely even read the comment before you threw out words like "fanboy" and call people liars.

You never even owned your own facts like you stated before because you never provided any and dismissed the facts in front of you before going on a tangent to bash the competiton. Oh, And you never provided those facts for that "Xbox is 40% of all gaming revenue" statement.

Have a nice day :-)

rasterror
rasterror

@rmiller365 Yes you did provide a link and you buried your own grave with it.  Their stock keeps rising while your credibility keeps falling. You exactly this in your own words: "Eveytime Phil Spencer talks about the Xbox One Microsoft's shares take a hit." If you paid attention to your own link you would see that their stock was at a low of 33.72 points around the release of the Xbox One and closed at 42.03 yesterday. Do you know that's the highest their stock has been in the past month, 6 months, year, and 5 years? Do you know that stocks also constantly fluctuate throughout the day? 

surrealme
surrealme

@rmiller365 What exactly is your problem with Phil Spencer? He's a huge improvement over Mattrick.

rmiller365
rmiller365

I honestly dont like him at all. Hes the head of the Xbox division and gives his misinformation that his other people in his division have to stand up and correct him on. Can you imagine having a boss like that , that you have to cover and keep his promises for? And he is a big reason the Xbox one got a late start in my opinion. I think Mattrick was terrible too but If Microsoft really had a excellent leader that would really be the tip of the spear for Microsoft to Pearce into the market.

It would be awesome.