Some of the digital functionality stripped from Xbox One in the weeks after E3 2013 is currently scheduled to make a return.
"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,” Xbox boss Phil Spencer told Gamer Tag Radio, as reported by Polygon.
"As I look at our monthly update roadmap, those kind of features are in our roadmap. There is a little bit of a challenge now that you’ve got DRM on a disc."
Microsoft corporate vice president Marc Whitten then name-dropped the Family Sharing program specifically, describing it as "something people are really excited about and want”, adding:
"Taking Family Sharing out of the launch window was not about ‘we’re going to take our toys and go home’ or something like that. It was just sort of the logistics of ‘how do we get this very, very clear request that people really want, that choice, and how do we make sure we can do an excellent job of that, get to launch, and then be able to build a bunch of great features?’
In the future I think you’re going to see the ways that we change how you discover, how you consume, share, play."
This isn’t a new message from Microsoft, which as long ago as last September was suggesting that people should regard Xbox One’s digital plans as postponed as opposed to scrapped.
I think if you go back and you look at some of the things we said, that was one of the places that we were actually trying to pioneer,” Xbox strategy boss Albert Penello said.
We were trying to implement the ability to trade [and] loan digital games with your friends which is something that no one else was doing. I believe, in retrospect that people have calmed down and gone back and actually looked at what we said, people are starting to understand, ‘Wow, they did want actually to allow me to loan and trade’ which other digital ecosystems don’t want to do.
And so, yeah, I think we need to do that. That has to be part of the experience. Right now, we’re focused on launch and we switched the program back to discs, because that’s what customers wanted.
I get a lot of mails saying ‘god, please bring back the family sharing.’ We’d love to figure out how to bring that back. I still think it was a good idea. Maybe it was a little too soon for some people, but I still think there were a lot of good ideas in there.
And we’ll bring it back when the time is right.”