Friday, June 7, 2013

Microsoft responds to licensing, privacy, and connectivity concerns

After the Microsoft press conference revealing the Xbox One, gamers took note that very few questions had been answered in regards to the rumors that had been circulating the internet for months. Disjointed interviews after that conference held no enlightenment as there were conflicting reports each time a new interview surfaced, even if the interview was with the same person. Even more concerning, were some of the rumors that began to surface because of the press conference. Rumors such as the Kinect being always on and able to detect voice and player movements might lead to recorded and uploaded conversations, and the invasion of privacy that implied. Ultimately the press and fans alike came away with more headaches than reliable facts. Yesterday, Microsoft addressed several of the more common rumors.

Rumor: Xbox One will not support used games.

Microsoft: The Xbox One was designed to work with game trade-ins, as this is such a common practice in today's world. There is no fee to be able to trade these games in, whether you are a consumer, retailer, or publisher.

Games can be shared on the main console with any gamer. Anyone inside your home has access to your stock of games, regardless if digital or disc-based and the system does not require you to be logged in, or even present at the time. Sharing to other consoles is allowed but only for up to ten family members. They will have access to your cloud storage system and will be able to play any of your games without the disc. With regards to loaning out discs or giving them to friends, Xbox One will allow you to grant access to a friend. Restrictions on this practice are two-fold; They must be on your friends list for at least 30 days, and you can only give out the game once.

Disc-based games are required only to install the game and upload it to the cloud. Once the game has been uploaded, you can access your cloud storage on any Xbox One and play your games from there. Gamers can also bypass disc requirements and download the game straight to your console on launch day.

Loaned or rented games will not be available at launch. Microsoft is currently working on an agreement with certain companies.

Rumor: Kinect will be able to record and upload anything it hears or sees to Microsoft.

Microsoft: Privacy is a main focus in regards to the Xbox One. The Kinect must always be connected to the Xbox One, however consumers are in control of what the Kinect sensor can see or hear. There are multiple settings in regards to privacy features in place to prevent any sort of recorded conversations without your express permission.

Customers can choose whether the Kinect sensor is on, off, or paused. If you wish to play a game without the Kinect sensor registering your movements or voice, you can pause the system. To turn it off, simply say "Xbox off" and the system will shut down and will only respond to "Xbox on". That feature can also be turned off allowing players to require a manual start up.

Some games and apps will require a functioning Kinect, however Microsoft assures that that data will never leave your system without your permission. Kinect also is not a requirement to navigate the Xbox One system. Controllers, remotes, or smart devices can be used in place of Kinect.

Rumor: Xbox One will be required to always be connected to the internet.

Microsoft: The Xbox One is designed to be used with a broadband connection. The system utilizes either a gigabyte Ethernet port or an 802.11n wireless connection. The Xbox One uses a 5GHz wireless band which reduces interference from common household devices. For optimal experience, players should have a broadband internet connection of at least 1.5 Mbps. In areas without Ethernet connection, a mobile broadband can be substituted.

The Xbox One does not require the console to be connected to the internet at all times. However, the console does need a connection to the internet at least once every 24 hours to verify if the system requires any updates to apps or games. These updates are automatically downloaded to your system when connected to the internet. The system also checks to see if you have purchased any new titles, or have resold, traded in, or given your games to friends. Any games that require cloud interaction to perform can only be played if the system is connected to the internet.

If the console goes more than 24 hours without an internet connection, the console shuts down the ability to play games until a connection can be re-established. Blu Ray and TV functionality will be accessible during the times when the console will not allow games to be played.

This story will be updated as further information is released.

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