Microsoft releases details on Xbox One licensing and DRM and it's mostly good news unless you want to rent games

by: Chuck -
A few days ahead of E3 Microsoft has released a ton of information about some of the more confusing aspects of the Xbox One. The interesting part for gamers is found at the licensing portion of the news post where it covers how the system will treat used games.  Lots of big news but here's the breakdown:
  • Xbox One games will be released digitally the same date as the physical copy.  This is a huge win as now consumers won't have to go to the store to pick up games or wait in long, pointless midnight release parties.  Rather they can do what PC gamers have been doing for years and just wait for the game to download and unlock.  Of course people will still be able to buy physical goods (and there are a lot of good reasons for it) but I imagine you'll see a drop in the stocks of GameFly and big box retailers tomorrow on the news.
  • Everyone who has an account on your physical Xbox One box will be able to play all of the games without any restrictions.  Another nice win for families and those with multiple people in one house.
  • You will be able to give your games to people either by physically giving them the disc or transferring the license to that person digitally.  So yes, the system will allow for used games to be swapped back and forth.  The rub on this is that while Microsoft is not charging you any fees for it, the publishers of the games will have the option to enable this feature and all of the money will go to them.  This is where some confusion could develop as you could have one publisher allow a game to be given away freely while another require a fee.  I would imagine that publishers will be able to vary this charge by game and even eliminate it entirely as the backlog grows.  This seems like an equitable balance for everyone and takes Microsoft out of the equation.
  • The only bad news (at least for me) is that gamers will not be able to load or rent Xbox One games at launch.  They may add this later but for now renting games is off the table.  I can imagine a scenario where a company like  GameFly could essentially giving games to players and/or trade them back and forth but there are all kinds of sticky situations there.
That's the bulk of the news and honestly it's mostly good news unless you rent a lot of games or work for GameFly.  Hopefully we'll get more info from those companies next week at E3.
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