After Microsoft backpedaled on Xbox One’s controversial DRM policy during the console’s E3 2013 reveal, the Xbox team are looking into digital game sharing options once again.
One of the biggest stories of E3 2013 was the reveal of the Xbox One, and the immediate backlash towards the console’s DRM policies and perceived limitations in game sharing. Amidst a massive wave of controversy, Microsoft quickly backpedaled on those Xbox One DRM policies, the always-online feature, and its family shared library feature. Despite doing a complete reversal on its original Xbox One digital game sharing plans, Microsoft did state at the time that the Xbox One digital shared library might return when the ‘time is right’. After three years of coming second to Sony’s PlayStation 4 in the sales race, it appears that the time may be soon, as the Xbox team are looking into digital game sharing once again.
During last month’s Xbox Spring Showcase, Xbox’s head of programming Mike Ybarra met with Game Informer and revealed that the team are looking into how digital game sharing fits into Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform currently used by Xbox One and PC. Ybarra stated that Steam “has a great family plan right now,” and the Xbox team are in the process of figuring out a digital game sharing model that works best for Microsoft.
“We’re looking at both from a Windows standpoint – well, what’s our policy of the Windows Store? How many people can play concurrent? How do you share? We’re going to merge those two topologies soon so that a whole new model for how you share games across that will be in place. We’re actively working on that now to try to figure [it out], but we want to get to a much simpler model and potentially one that lets you do more… have a little bit more freedom in what you can and can’t do.”
While Microsoft’s decision to ditch the always-online feature and the pre-owned DRM policy was a welcomed one, the nixed shared family library idea would have proved beneficial in solving the current issue of digital game sharing. Of course, hindsight is 20/20, and it was just unfortunate that Microsoft’s family shared library plan was communicated so poorly to fans. Seeing as how Sony’s PlayStation 4 Digital Library was eerily similar to the Xbox One’s shared library plan, there is always the question of “what if” Microsoft had managed to get its plans off the ground.
While it’s good to see Microsoft still tackling the digital game sharing issue, things are probably a bit more complicated than they were three years ago. Given that Microsoft is still heavily invested in PC gaming, and the company is seemingly trying to unify its Xbox One and PC businesses, the whole game sharing issue is probably not high up on Microsoft’s radar. If Microsoft does find a new solution to the digital game sharing issue, hopefully it can be communicated far better this time around.
Source: Game Informer