In the wake of their decision to reverse all of their DRM-based policies on the Xbox One, Microsoft has also done away with some pretty useful features. Specifically, the console will no longer support a shared game library and physical discs will once again be required to play games.
Obviously, with the Xbox One now shifting from an “always-online” architecture to a more user friendly one, there were going to be some repercussions. Unfortunately, as it turns out, those repercussions include some of the more unique features Microsoft planned to introduce.
Since Microsoft can no longer guarantee who is using a console and what game is being played, they have nixed what they were calling their Shared Games Library. Originally, the idea was to allow up to 9 different people access to a single game library on an Xbox One console. So, as long as the game was installed on the family’s Xbox One, anyone could play it.
Microsoft had also outlined a feature whereby players could access their game library from a friend’s Xbox One by downloading their games from the cloud. That feature is also gone.
Instead, things are reverting back to the Xbox 360 style of play, where a disc is the be-all and end-all as far as gaming is concerned. Pop the disc into the Xbox One and everything is kosher, but misplace it and lose access.
At the same time, mandatory installs will still remain a part of the Xbox One infrastructure; only they will function like the 360’s installs do. Before the DRM reversal (“Xbox 180”), gamers could access their installs regardless of if the disc was in the tray, making the experience of switching from one title to the next that much easier. Not anymore.
As well, the idea of playing a game on a friend’s console has significantly changed. Gamers will no longer be able to download their install from the cloud and be off and gaming. Instead, they will have to bring their game disc along.
One good thing to come from this announcement, however, is the ease with which your friends can purchase games after you (and your disc) leave. Rather than re-download a game, friends can simply hop onto the Xbox Live Marketplace, purchase a new license, and be off and playing without needing to reinstall the game.
Yes, Microsoft reversed their DRM policies, but they also pulled some pretty useful features as a result. It’s funny how only after Microsoft abandons an Internet requirement that we start to see where that might have been useful.
However, having to get up and change discs is a small price to pay for a console that is more consumer and gamer friendly. Now if only Microsoft could offer a $399 Xbox One SKU that ships without a Kinect, then they might really have something.
Are you disappointed that Microsoft has also reversed their game sharing plans? Would you have kept your console online in order to more easily access your game library?
Microsoft’s Xbox One is slated for a November 2013 release date.