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.

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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."

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Avatar image for TheNightMammoth
TheNightMammoth

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No they fucking don't, else we'd be able to do it right now with the Family Sharing plans they were going to implement before their catastrophic failure at E3 last year.


People need to remember that Microsoft didn't just reverse a few unpopular decisions after that debacle, they outright scrapped all their plans to control digital and used games, that included the ability to share, trade-in, and rent games digitally. They threw their dummy out of the proverbial pram when they discovered weren't going to get their way and took all the good stuff away too. And all it needed was a patch.

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toddx77

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<< LINK REMOVED >> I never understood why MS got rid of the sharing idea when they reversed their policy. There was no need to do that as they could have done family sharing without the once every 24 hours connection. It is almost like MS was saying "you don't like our policy then screw you, we are taking everything away" lol

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TaylorAP13

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>I don't blame them, I mean I don't think us as the customer necessarily have the big picture, right? What if they were able to do the 10 people share thing because of all the other policies. So together they all worked and Microsoft still made money and didn't crash and burn and people would get these game for a lot cheaper. I blame the community for screwing up the Xbox One policies not Microsoft, too much whining not enough listening on the consumers stand point.

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PlatinumPaladin

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> It was most likely all tied-up together in the same digital infrastructure. Probably easier to scrap the lot and start from scratch, even if it meant taking longer.

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psmithiv

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I am honestly amazed at the lack of intelligence of the people who post on this site. MS is talking very clearly about DIGITAL PURCHASES. Disk based games will work exactly as they do now.

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TheRealBigRich

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<< LINK REMOVED >> That's what it read like to me unless im missing something. It sounds easy enough to have both worlds where you pay 60 dollars for your disc from BB, or GameStop as well as having the option to buy digital.

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DrKill09

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Is that why you originally weren't going to allow users to share XBox one games?


You guys are more two faced than OBama.

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randomkidlol

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Here comes the always online again.

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sladakrobot

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Where and how?

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Redblaze27

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The Wii was the only console that allowed digital game gifting.

Seriously, why hasn't Microsoft or Sony added this as an option??

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Merseyak

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haha i said from the start they would bang them policy`s back up as soon as they sold so many YOU GOT XBONED!

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cantloginnow

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Except this is one people wanted and one Microsoft said would most likely return some time in the future.Think and know what youre talking about before you post.

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Kinguard73

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> yeah Cantlo but I see this manipulating people into a DRM without their knowing. Or least I fear it is.

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demon-returns

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hahahah lol.... this is very funny I'm reading. So they're thinking about reversing policy they had reversed? Only this time they have already gotten some suckas to buy the console already so they can't protest but just cry on the inside as they take it up the poop shoot

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AyatollaofRnR

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Nope.


People wanted that feature.


I imagine part of the reason they stripped back the whole digital layer was so that they could offer a familiar experience to consumers, like Sony was doing since there was a strong backlash to the abrupt digital shift.


If they can work in those features in a way that's more consumer friendly then that would be a good thing.

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PosiTVEMinD355

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Lol I know right! Its exactly like when Sony made you agree to the anti-suit policy after the PSN outage.

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Kinguard73

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> I never agreed to that policy =)

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demon-returns

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@PosiTVEMinD355


Lol........ NO but you might at least get a cookie for trying though. Just get a gaming PC like I do and you'll be fine

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sladakrobot

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<< LINK REMOVED >> No

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santinegrete

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All halo from 3 will go down the digital loaning route for me. Must be priced right.

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coaltango

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This is certainly good news for the gamers

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Chillock117

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I'll believe it when I see it!

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JDWolfie

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Would definitely buy an Xbox One if they bring back the Family Sharing plan.

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clr84651

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Yes they believe in it at a price. LOL!

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pino4545

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Microsoft just needs to worry about game quality bettering their console.

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sladakrobot

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Game quality is good


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GrenadeLauncher

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>lmao Ryse and Fighter Within

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northArrow

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>Not even close

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Martyr77

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> No it really isn't.

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deactivated-5ff9a77a36328

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Of course you realize to make this happen we have to reverse all the policies we previously reversed and since you already have the system you can accept the ToS or not as they already have your money. Set sail for always online.

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mb4prezident

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Don't care about the DRM. But find it funny that a company would try to defend itself by saying, "look we thought we had some good ideas" after other people they've talked to have clearly stated that MS had no idea what they were going to do with their online marketplace when they made that announcement.

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sammoth

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<< LINK REMOVED >> It wasn't a bad idea it's how they marketed it. IT was supposed to be something like Steam but, the PR was terrible.

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GrenadeLauncher

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>It was nothing like Steam.

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mb4prezident

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<< LINK REMOVED >> don't debate that PR was terrible and I should state, I don't think it was a bad idea long term, which is why I'm not surprised to see them talking about it again now. But there have been multiple people that MS has talked to, Boogie from YouTube most notably who Major Nelson talked to directly, where they say that they had no idea what the family sharing plan would even look like and the original idea was just sharing hourlong demos which is very different from the idea of buying a system and then being able to share entire games with over 10 people. The marketplace is also an idea that could be put in place, but is entirely dependent upon the ecosystem of gamers who are participating in it. This is the future of gaming. To be able to gift, buy, and sell all digitally through these digital storefronts, but it's also pretty clear when taking in everything (unclear messaging, later admission of unfinished ideas, and general quickness of a reversal of policies that were supposed to be steadfast) that MS was not nearly as ready to implement these things as they were putting forward to the public.


For the record, I'm certain Sony is headed this way too. Their PS Store deals, PS+, and oncoming services like PS Now point to them continually pushing their own digital storefront as the place to be as well. It's pretty clear they had idealistic notions about what they would be capable of with that and what they can't do. And even then, they are still in a testing period on these things and we still have no clear idea of what they will be and MS didn't even have that initially. So I'm certain these are good ideas and they will be implemented. I just don't think MS was nearly as close to delivering on a lot of these things as they led people to believe and that's why everything around that time period was so miserable for them when they came forward and presented it as haphazardly as they did. I don't doubt most of this stuff will be normalized in a couple years, but Sony and Microsoft haven't even implemented some of their less ambitious offerings all the way yet. So I'd rather receive something that is polished as an idea and I think they'll use this time to make it that way.

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sammoth

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It's amazing how many people don't know what DRM there is and how many types of DRM exists.

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Vodoo

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People only care about the invasive and restrictive DRM. When 99% of the gaming community mentions DRM, that's what they're referring to.

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origkillmachine

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Whatever! give me Halo 5.

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hardeddie

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I do believe Microsoft is bringing back DRM. Guess they are happy with the current sales of the xbone.

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sladakrobot

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<< LINK REMOVED >> What will you do when your PS4 HDD is full?

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enoughofthis

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> doubt that happen..probably move games to pc for ones i don't want to play anymore

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Flyincloud1116

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> What does that have to do with this?

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sladakrobot

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Are you tom?

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origkillmachine

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Then you'll use HIS body to get to the top! There's no stopping you! meheheheheeeeee

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Flyincloud1116

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> NO, I'm you and you are me.

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MAGIQ-MIKE

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The old bait and switch....smh

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