Those new Xbox One policies – in plain English

Microsoft has provided a pretty robust set of answers today to questions about second hand games and online elements of Xbox One.

But we’ve boiled them down further – you can find them below.

You can read our original summary here.

We’ve also summed up some unanswered questions here.


  • Xbox One will introduce day and date digital/retail delivery of games.
  • Discs will "continue to be a great way to install your games quickly" – but you can also download them.
  • The games you buy are tied to your account.
  • That way, you can sign into any Xbox One device and play all your games.
  • Any games you assign to your owned device can be played by anyone who turns that device on, whether they are signed in as you, themselves, or a guest.
  • You can also allow up to ten friends or family log in to your library remotely from any Xbox One and play your games.
  • You can even be playing different games from your library at the same time from different locations.
  • Xbox One, again, is not built with anti-preowned measures.
  • But Microsoft has transferred the decision about preowned games to publishers.
  • Its up to them if you can trade their games in at retailers.
  • Microsoft is not charging a fee to retailers, publishers, or consumers for enabling transfer of these games – and has been clear it is not taking a slice of the cash.
  • Its first-party games can be traded in with no extra fees or stipulations or second user charges.
  • But it is allowing publishers to charge if they wish.
  • And it looks like trade-ins can only be done at ‘participating retailers’.
  • "Third party publishers may opt in or out of supporting game resale and may set up business terms or transfer fees with retailers" is how Microsoft describes it.
  • You can still lend your games to your friends, and it doesn’t cost money to transfer/lend the licence to them.
  • But there are stipulations: "you can only give games to people who have been on your friends list for at least 30 days and each game can only be given once."
  • So if you lend a game to a friend, get it back, and they ask to borrow it again, they will have to buy their own copy.
  • But in many ways a lot of this is moot – Microsoft says that ‘loaning and renting games’ isn’t a feature available at launch of Xbox One.
  • That suggests that this plan has been tweaked in the days since the Xbox One reveal.


  • Every Xbox One will need to be plugged into a broadband connection.
  • Microsoft jargon says this means ‘developers can create massive, persistent worlds that evolve even when you’re not playing’.
  • What that really means is that Xbox One is an always-on device,
  • It runs in a low-powered connected state which, as explained in May, means it background downloads patches, updates and your other content.
  • This is also the backbone supporting the licensing and ownership policies above.
  • Consoles can be offline for up to 24 hours without connecting to Xbox Live.
  • But it must connect after a day to "verify if system, application or game updates are needed and to see if you have acquired new games, or resold, traded in, or given your game to a friend".
  • You can play for one hour offline if you are logged into someone else’s Xbox One and are accessing your game library.
  • Offline gaming will not be possible at all if you don’t reconnect once during these specified time periods.
  • But you can have the device ‘offline’ from Xbox Live but still watch Live TV, or watch Blu-Rays or DVDs.


  • As explained at the Xbox One unveiling, Kinect is a compulsory element of the device.
  • It is always running so the device can be controlled by voice and gesture.
  • But Microsoft says the device doesn’t invade privacy.
  • Owners can decide, when setting up the device for the first time, how data is used.
  • Microsoft says Xbox One is not recording anything you say to send back to its data centres.
  • "When Xbox One is on and you’re simply having a conversation in your living room, your conversation is not being recorded or uploaded."
  • Kinect can be paused when games are running if you don’t want it intruding on gameplay.
  • When the Xbox is in standby mode, it is only listening for one command – Xbox On – to reactivate it, and isn’t ‘listening’ for anything else.
  • You can even turn that off, too.
  • "Data will not leave your Xbox One without your explicit permission" it has also added, to those concerned that heart rate monitors (possible with Kinect), or tracking of what photos/videos you look at can be monitored.

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