Tuesday, May 21, 2013

XBox One Reveal Concerningly Unrevealing

Update (6/19/13): Due to the public outcry against Microsoft's policies on XBox One, they have announced several changes. Reselling, renting, and lending games will function in the same way as 360 games and other retail disc based games currently does: without restriction. Offline games will also no longer require an internet connection. Further details are here.

Update (6/7/13): Microsoft has officially revealed most of the information concerning the questions below on their website.

We now know many details about the next XBox that we didn't know yesterday, but many of the console's most important aspects have yet to be revealed and the nasty rumors have yet to be dispelled. Here's what we don't know:

Does XBox One require a constant internet connection, even for offline games?
We don't know, but cloud-based gaming was mentioned multiple times during the press conference. This could just mean that new kinds of online gaming will be possible on the console, but discussion of the cloud was vague and unclear. It has been revealed that computations can be offloaded to the cloud to increase the console's abilities at a distance. It seems likely that any games that use this feature would require an internet connection to be played.
Update: XBox One requires an internet connection, but not a constant one. It seems likely that the internet connection will be required for first time installs of games as an anti-piracy and anti-pre-owned games measure. (source)

Does XBox One restrict playing pre-owned games?
We don't know, but the rumor saying so has grown more specific, asserting that all games must be installed to the hard drive before they can be played and that playing the game on another account will require a fee. 
Update: The rumor seems to be true. (source)
Update 2: Multiple users on a console will be able to play a game without additional fees, but if you want to play a game you own on a different console, you will need to pay for an entire new copy of the game. You will be able to play for free if you sign into your XBox Live account on the other console. There will be some form of trading used games online, but there are no details so far. (source)

Is XBox One backward compatible with 360 and original XBox games?
We don't know, but it's kind of a big deal. The 360's backward compatibility was limited at first, but expanded over time. The upcoming PS4 will not be compatible with games, retail or digital, from previous consoles. Wii U plays Wii games and digital downloads (limited to Wii mode), but not GameCube games. It's hard to say which trend One will follow.
Update: Microsoft has confirmed that One will not be compatible with 360 retail games or XBox Live Arcade games. (source)

Will XBox Live still require a paid subscription?
We don't know, but if people are paying for it now on 360, I see no reason why Microsoft would stop charging for it on One.

How much will it cost?
We don't know, but it isn't too abnormal not to reveal the price this early.

There is still plenty of time before launch for these details to be made available, and it's likely that we'll find out more at E3. Still, it's concerning that this big reveal failed to quiet any of the concerns and questions that gamers have been begging for answers to. Could Microsoft's silence on these hot topics be as good as confirmation? Only time will tell.
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