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

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

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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.

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