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The Xbox One will run used games, but that means Microsoft had to drop some of its advanced game-sharing features that enabled gamers to share their purchased titles with friends. Today, Microsoft revealed that some remnants of that program remain.
First, digitally purchased games — that means everything from small indie games to full triple-A titles — are accessible to everyone who signs into that Xbox One regardless of who made the original purchase.
“Everyone in your home can share digital games with each other,” Xbox One lead architect Marc Whitten wrote in a blog post. “Your Xbox One can become your virtual game library filled with digital games that different people in the home bought. Anyone can pick any digital game on your Xbox One, sign in with their own gamertag and play – even if the owner is not signed in.”
The ghost of family sharing
Microsoft originally planned to have a family-sharing plan that enabled gamers to let personally authorized friends and family to play any of their games from anywhere. That’s gone.
Now, your games only work on other Xbox One consoles when you are signed in with your account.
The games will also work offline just like a physical game, but Whitten notes that most games will function better with Internet access.
Microsoft is also making it easy for gamers to bring their digital purchases with them to a friend’s house.
“Because your digital games go with you, you can also use and share digital games when you sign in to another console,” said Whitten. “And, if you happen to buy a digital game when you are signed in on your friend’s console, your game will also be available on your Home Xbox One console for anyone to use.”
These sharing features also extend to Xbox Live Gold, which is Microsoft’s premium subscription service for gaming. If one person on an Xbox One has Gold, they can set it up so that anyone that uses their console can also access multiplayer gaming and entertainment apps like Netflix.
“If you’re an Xbox Live Gold member, an unlimited number of people can enjoy many benefits of Xbox Live Gold while they are using your Home Xbox One console,” wrote Whitten. “Friends and family will simply create their own account and gamertag and be able to enjoy Xbox Live online multiplayer gaming and access to entertainment apps.”
This even works when a Gold subscriber visits a friend. If you visit your brother’s house and he doesn’t have Xbox Live Gold, you can sign in with your premium account and suddenly everyone on that console can access multiplayer and more.
The Xbox One is due out this fall for $500. It is going up directly against Sony’s PlayStation 4, which is also due out this fall but for $400.