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Xbox One family sharing feature still a possibility, pre-load functionality coming soon

Xbox One

When Microsoft revised its Xbox One shared games policy ahead of the launch of the console last year, one of the features that was left out was family sharing. However, it looks like the feature, which allows gamers to share titles with up to 10 family members, may be introduced in a future update, according to the head of Xbox Phil Spencer.

In a recent interview with Gamer Tag Radio, Spencer said that features such as family sharing were in the monthly update roadmap, but that there were DRM-related issues that needed to be addressed.

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.

Although it would be easier to allow family sharing for digital titles, Spencer said that if Microsoft were to offer the feature, it would be done "in the right way," meaning that individuals who buy physical discs will also be allowed to share games.

In addition, Spencer stated that Microsoft was working on enabling services which allow gamers to pre-order and pre-load digital copies of games, a feature that has already been implemented on Sony's PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.

Is family sharing a feature you were looking forward to? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Source: Gamer Tag Radio; Via: Gamespot

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Reader comments

Xbox One family sharing feature still a possibility, pre-load functionality coming soon

78 Comments

Same question here, I can use my steam account on 2 pcs but I can play Game in just one of them. (not family sharing)

I hope this becomes reality. I don't understand why they are concerned with physical disks, they are easy to share. I would be happy if this was just for downloaded versions. I have not purchased one disk yet for One, just digital versions. If anything, I feel like a second class citizen. No preorder deals, have to download bazillion GB on release day, can't be taken or played by my kids at their friends house. Skylanders is only physical, and that has prevented it from being in my house. No disks, that's my rule. So I'm happy with these announcements.

Family share with digital downloads, I'm cool with but I still prefer physical copies of games.If gives me the chance to trade, buy used, and other things nevermind the pretty case sitting on my shelf.

Keep physical like it is, allow digital to be family shared, it will show the advantage of a digital download and over time people will adjust for it. Everyone will have a different stance but if you change the value of a physical game, there will be an outrage just like when it was first announced.

With this being said, I am about 50/50 on digital vs physical...

Yep. Was so pissed to see the feature removed because of the stupid vocal minority. I want that feature back damn it, and I want pre-order today!! >_

Absolutely interested in family sharing on Xbox. I'd love to share games that I buy with my nephews and family members who live in a different city. Even vice versa.

Great, but i think they will have problems with it, because many friends will simply add themselves to a family and so the games will be shared out of family -> less games bought..

Agreed. Which is why I wonder how they are convincing the publishers. And DLC had to only be bought once? That's currently the bread and butter of the publishers.

I used to pay £45 in the 90s for a playstation 1 game. Over 15 years have passed and games still don't cost that much more. So personally I feel like games are cheaper than ever.

I don't think that. I remember when games were $30 at most. And they mostly were replay able. Now days games are so short and horrible story lines unless you do multi play which I don't do and they cost $60. Games have went down hill alot.

You are 100% delusional.  From Atari, NES, Master System, Turbo-Grafx 16, Genesis, SNES, Atari Jaguar,  PlayStation, PlayStation 2 to Xbox, EVERY console has $50 as the standard retail price for new releases (although many N64 games and a few SNES games like Chrono Trigger retailed for around $60 - $70 because of the huge amount of ROM required to store the game).  Starting with last generation (Wii, PS3, Xbox 360), citing higher development costs for HD games, prices went up to $60.  Visit your favorite search engine and do an image search for "1980s toys r us advertisements" if you want proof. 

Far from delusional actually. You also didn't reference game playability. Also graphics alone can't justify a price increase at all. I understand inflation an what not but produce a game that's worth it and then we can talk. Take the newer ryse and cod for instance. There so short on there main story its laughable. This is the main hindrance for the prices they require at launch.

It has NOTHING to do with inflation.  Actual, in-the-moment costs of video games have always been $50 or more. 

Right, because we all played games like Pitfall, Asteroids, Super Mario Bros., Contra, Ninja Gaiden, Castlevania, The Legend of Zelda, Fantasy Zone, Hang-On, R-Type, Sonic the Hedgehog, Star Fox, Golden Axe, Street Fighter II, Twisted Metal, Resident Evil, Goldeneye 64, Mario Party and Super Smash Bros. for the well constructed, expertly written plots.  Until recently, outside of RPGs, story has always taken a back seat to gameplay and graphics (given the latest excuses for Final Fantasy games - anything after FF IX, I'd argue that story and gameplay have both taken a back seat to graphics in RPGs as well). 

Personally, I found the campaign to Ryse to be quite fun to play and the COD 4: Modern Warfare campaign was an amazing experience when it first came out.  Sure the story was a bit of a mess, but it was still a fun, challenging experience. 

Replayability is completely subjective.  Some people dedicate their lives to mastery of games - new and old.  Just check out YouTube for videos of people doing speed runs of games.  With the introduction of Achievements / Trophies, developers can add new goals in addition to just finishing the game straight through to add incentive to play through more than once.  None of this even touches on advances in multiplayer technology.  On Xbox One, developers can now introduce limited timed challenges to encourage people to go back and try out new ways of playing.  DLC brings optional new content to extend the life of existing games. 

Gaming has always been an expensive hobby - a luxury.  However, to attempt to pretend that things were better and cheaper back in the day is laughable.  There are plenty of short, crappy games throughout the libraries of every system ever released that sold for $50 to $60 when they were new in the 80s, 90s and 00s.  I've played games since the Atari, worked in retail selling games in the 90s during the 16-bit and 32-bit eras, and have worked in the gaming industry as a whole since 2001.  Trust me ... maybe delusional was a bit strong, but you are absolutely viewing the past through rose-tinted glasses and a dense fog of nostalgia.  For every 10 games you remember fondly from the past, half of them are not as good as you remember them being. 

I'm not saying you have to accept that games are what they are and plunk down $60 for every game that comes out.  Do what people have always done since the dawn of gaming - read reviews, shop around for the best prices - and if you're uncertain, rent the game first before you go all in. 

Most the games you mentioned had longevity in single play type mode. That is replay ability right there. These games most now is mostly geared towards multi online. Even if a game is great for 5 hours and then it ends in my book is crap. (the time is whatever) DLC I feel like is put out because they rush these newer games to get something out then they saw hey lets release bug patches and some extra content to make more money instead of just finishing the product to begin with. And you can google or Bing that as well. Yes there's always gonna be people enjoying what these companies do now but look at all the back lash for instance EA gets for there half done games.? Maybe the store in PA where I lived sold them less then to fight competition. I dunno. But most games new I paid 29.99 to 39.99 before the 360 era. But more importantly the games had longer story lines or levels.

When I was buying PS1 games they were always £45, that's in the UK so prices could well have been different. It was only a few years after launch when Sony released the platinum ranges at £20 that you could get games for less. But lower cost games were always old games, if you wanted anything released that year it would cost £45. Adding on inflation £45 would be between £60 and £80 today, but new releases are still going on sale at £50.

Looking a prices of games now, it also seems that the price comes down a lot quicker. e.g. Titanfall is currently £32 and Xbox One launch titles that are still under a year old are between £20 - £30.

I don't know what kids get today, but when I was young we bought a lot more magazines with demo disk than actual games.

Games do seem shorter these days but I don't know how true it actually is. Back in the 90's games like Need for Speed had around 8 - 12 tracks and a similar number of cars. Forza has far more tracks and cars, so in theory it should be a longer game. Other types of games could also be quicker to complete because being older makes you natuarally cleverer and games with puzzles easer to solve. The fact games don't really change that much also makes them easier or it could just be that games are easier and you don't spend as long repeating the same bit over and over again.

Also the way games these days let you stop and start at any point makes them quicker. With the first Tomb Raider you had to get to a save becon, meaning you generally had to repeat part of the game every time you played. The concept of lives and game over also seems to have disapeared. It used to be that once you died you went back to the start of a level and repeatedly had to play through 10 - 20 mins of stuff before you got to the bit you were stuck at. Now getting killed on a FPS is meaningless and you only ever repeat the part where you were killed.

I believe only one person could play a particular game at a time. So it's not that different than lending a disc to someone.

correcto-mundo. 4K actualy presents a chance for MSFT to shorten this console generation's life span and recover from the total fiasco that was the XB1.

I say next E3, anounce the xbox 4K with specs to low past the PS4 and backwards compatibility with all XB1 games, release Halo 5 in 4K and basically put the XB1 in the same fire pit that windows 8 and RT will burn.

I say make it x86 like the one, DX12 ready and basically run anything the XB1 can. And if you want to really blow sony out of the water, make the GPU user swappable and invite all the GPU oems to come in and fight for the console dollars using stock PC-class GPUs which are already mass produced.

MSFT needs to take a page from google and start leveraging the OEMs to its advantage. This is what put android in the top, this is what put windows in the top. Notice how the more MSFT tries to divorce the OEMs the worse it does.

It's like they forgot how they got to where they are today and don't want to look at google's playbook which basically MSFT's own from the last decade.

not quite. a PC runs a bloated OS like windows 8, you have to have AV and you need much more hardware than it is required for just gaming.

you need to think steam-box like simplicity but with xbox OS. But instead of letting the OEMs make the entire hardware, leading to fragmentation, control enough core components and just let OEMs make parts of the modules. This will ensure the is no game fragmentation, yet people can opt for higher SKUs.

I'd go as far as saying MSFT can cave on the last one and basically take Steambox and call it just directX box. like the original. Made from PC OTS parts but without PC complexity and streamlined for gamepad gaming. Then all this nonsese about 720p vs 1080p wil basically dissapear because buying an xbox will be buying an upgradeable system which will far outlive the PS4-locked down nature.

valve gets it. so far MSFT doesn't.

 

Family sharing might convince me to purchase a 2nd one (for my family of 6), but right now I would love it if they could bring more pricing parity between phyical and digital media. With younger kids swapping discs, you'll have bad things happen. I decided to go all digital this gen.

Perhaps, but looking up 'parity' I get:

noun

1. equality, as in amount, status, or character.

 

I would like equality in the pricing between the digitical version of the game and the purchased disc. Forza can be found for < $30 for the disc, but is still $60 for the downloadable version.

Mmm. I see what you mean. You mean after the physical copy had been reduced in price. I was thinking you meant about initial pricing because I believe the digital version should have never been 60$ to begin with. They really do it all backwards and the copy that should be getting the discount (digital), never does.

The very simple solution to this is to allow retailers to sell boxed download codes, possibly with a disc that allows an install  (not playable) to save doing a download. You know, like the one they made a big thing about the kinect being able to read. I've only every seen the day one acheivement, the rest of the codes I've baought have all been the type it in ones.

I don't understand why those of us paying MORE to buy digitally can't have this feature earlier than those buying on disc. You buy on disc because you want to trade or swap physically, you buy digitally because you want to keep.

who gives a rat. the problem MSFT faces is lack of games. fix that first. and BTW, MSFT, look at google tv and how they let any developer make apps for it, where is the xbox SDK for store apps? how can it be that this is not yet out even as google prepares to unleash the app revolution on set-top boxes?

You mean Android TV? Google TV is one of the long list of failures that Google have tried to get into peoples living rooms. I expect the same results from Android TV too.

Android TV will have android apps from the go, which IMO is a big difference from google tv which had no apps basically.

Lack of games? Have you looked in the store lately? Maybe lack of games you want, but for 7 months in, there are lots of games.

So, lack of games you want to play... not lack of games. I have plenty I am having a ton of fun with right now.

Edit: Not to say I am not looking forward to many games. But to say there is a lack right now is a bit of a stretch.

They had that on the 360 with the indie games. For every treasure like the Arcade Sim there were literally hundreds of terrible games. Opening up the garden increases quantity, but the quality takes a noise dive.

indie games isn't what we're talking about here. it is the xbox sdk for univeral apps which they showedcased at build and have yet to deliver. And yes, opening up the garden increases quantity, quality goes down, but tell that to apple and google who dominate mobile over microsoft only because of the app count. I say we already know what compromise wins: big appstore = big positive.

So what's the difference between this and just giving a family member the game disc, I actually have no idea what this is, not trying to be a smart arse.

It would be especially useful for those who purchase their games digitally. This way they can share their games, even though they don't have the disc.

Simply the owner will still be able to play the game too when it's on loan. You can't do that right now with a disc. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

Would love this feature!! Wish they had left it in when the console was launched! I hope they also enable a way for a physical disc to be used just like a digital download of a game. I want to be able to buy a physical copy of a game, but be able to install it to the hard drive and have it associated with my Microsoft ID, that way I don't have to have the disc physically in the Xbox. Because of this, I have been buying all my new games as digital downloads only. I'm just too lazy to get off the couch and change discs...LoL

That sounds great, but how would MS fight against piracy and those who buy a game, install it, and sell it without having to verify that they still own the game? There has to be a check to verify you still have the game.

I want this as well but they need to figure out a way to make this fair all around.  For example you buy your disk and install it.  What happens when/if your disk is stolen/lost/traded?  Should you still be able to play your game?  How does the sytem know you were the purchaser?

I hate to say it but maybe they should do the key thing & charge somewhere between 25 - 50% extra for copies of the game that will include a digital copy

I want to be able to buy the disk at retail, then install the entire thing to my Xbox and never use the disk again. I love consuming games digitally, but downloading them really kills my stingy data cap!

I wanted the family share bad. I'd love to have been able to share my game with friends and family without having to mail the disc. I feel that the majority that railed on it were never going to get an XB1 anyways. Their goal was to scare people away from getting an XB1 and getting a PS4. What I don't understand is why digital isn't cheaper than physical discs? Especially if you can't resell the digital copy. Buy physical and resell your heart out. Buy digital knowing you can't resell it but can share with friends but make it also cheaper since you can't resell it. Give people choices. Seems like a win win for everyone.

What I don't understand is why digital isn't cheaper than physical discs?

Because on a closed box there's no competition.

Not to mention the extortion coming from the big retail guys.

I'm thinking family sharing should be done like the original idea, BUT you can put the disk back in and uninstall the game so you can sell it

I've gone pretty much all digital with my One (the only disc I have is DR3, which I bought on launch day as insurance in case the servers melted). I'd love to see preorder/preload for digital titles. It took Titanfall over a day to download and install for me. I'd like to avoid that in future.