Xbox One: always-on, used game questions remain unclear

Tuesday, 21 May 2013 19:24 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Xbox One was announced today, and despite rumors to the contrary, VG247 was told in Londo today it will not require an always-on connection. However, we have heard conflicting reports regarding the need for an online connection, and whether the console will allow for used games to be played – another heavy rumor for eons.

Get the skinny on what is clear and what isn’t below.

Second hand games

According to Wired, each gaming disc will be installed for a single owner, and if installed by a second account – say a used buyer – that owner will be given the option to pay a fee and install the game from the disc.

This way the new game owner would still have the game stored in the cloud, and able to play it, while the second hand owner could do the same as well.

“We have only confirmed that we designed Xbox One to enable our customers to trade-in and resell games at retail. Beyond that, we have not confirmed any specific scenarios.”

This will also work with letting friends borrow titles. They can play it, but if they don’t own the game, they will have to pay a fee to access it on the console.

However, while Microsoft would not elaborate on specifics, a representative told Sam Clay today in London that information regarding installed games and how this pertains to online will be released tomorrow.

Earlier we were told the system would support pre-owned games with “policies to be announced soon,” giving the assumption said restrictions on the used-end would be coming from a publisher standpoint.

Major Nelson took to his blog to try and clear things up a bit further.

“While there have been many potential scenarios discussed, today we have only confirmed that we designed Xbox One to enable our customers to trade-in and resell games at retail,” he said. “Beyond that, we have not confirmed any specific scenarios.”

He also clarified that should someone be playing their games at a friend’s house, “there is no fee to play that game while you are signed in to your profile.”

This is where the cloud comes in along with tying GamerTags to purchased titles, we’re guessing.

Always-online may still be the future

Users will also be able to continue to play games when offline if in single-player and will be able to watch a movie without being connected. So if you lose your Internet connection for some reason, you will still be able to watch or play. But the console will require users to at least log into the system at some point.

Further into the Wired piece referenced above, Xbox executive Marc Whitten said that Xbox One developers will be able to create games implementing the firm’s Azure cloud service, such as hosting part of the game in the cloud instead of being stored on the hard drive. Think SimCity basically. This would mean an online connection would be required to play the game online all the time.

While Whitten said Microsoft isn’t forcing any developer to do this, he hopes “they do” make use of the service in such a way. This means an always-online future is still in the cards for the system on a game-by-game basis at this point.

Microsoft corporate vice president Phil Harrison elaborated a bit further regarding the online component, stating that Xbox One is just one of “many devices in your life that require the Internet to function.”

“Xbox One is no different in that it requires, at some point in the beginning and at various times through its on state, to connect to our cloud and to our Internet.”

“Xbox One is no different in that it requires, at some point in the beginning and at various times through its on state, to connect to our cloud and to our Internet,” he said. “That is to deliver Xbox Live functionality, that is to deliver download content to you, that is to deliver some of the innovations around TV and entertainment that we showed today. But it doesn’t require it to be online all the time.”

Harrison also reiterated comments made by Whitten by stating that “single-player games that don’t require connectivity to Xbox Live,” and that they will be playable without interruption should your Internet connection go down. Same with Blu-ray movies and other downloaded entertainment.

“But the device is fundamentally designed to be expanded and extended by the Internet as many devices are today,” he said telling Kotaku that he “believes” a user would have to be connected at least once every 24 hours.

A Microsoft representative further tried to clarify matters to Kotaku by issuing a statement regarding Harrison’s comments, which reads almost exactly as Major Nelson’s above:

“While Phil [Harrison] discussed many potential scenarios around games on Xbox One, today we have only confirmed that we designed Xbox One to enable our customers to trade in and resell games at retail,” said the rep. “There have been reports of a specific time period — those were discussions of potential scenarios, but we have not confirmed any details today, nor will we be.”

So, there’s a bit a of a caveat – possibly. However, we expect Microsoft to clear this up a bit more tomorrow, as Sam Clay was told.

Other rumors debunked, confirmed

Achievements, GamerScore points and entertainment downloads will also transfer over and more on game streaming will be discussed at E3 next month where 90 minutes worth of games will be shown off.

Other rumors pointed to the system being backwards compatible, while others did not, but the later is the case: it is not backwards compatible and none of your digital titles will transfer over to the new system. This is according to our man on the ground, Sam Clay.

More rumors talked of a revamped friends list, allowing users to add more friends with less restrictions on numbers. Apparently this bit is true as well, because Marc Whitten told Polygon that number has been raised to 1,000. Lucky is the man with that many friends, I reckon.

“You’ll have your Gamertag, which will be semi-anonymous, and you’ll be able to use your real name with your friends,” he said. “You as a user will be able to say who on your friends list will see you as your real name.”

The system will also not function without Kinect connected – so there’s a bit of a rub for some of you.

But at least you can play your games offline when in single-player – for now.

Get caught up on all Xbox One news here.


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  1. The_Red

    Just saw that on GT.
    Don saying “Gamers can calm down” felt kinda funny.

    Also, no BC. Whitten confirmed it.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. pleasant_cabbage

    Also cvg saying fees for enabling preowned games to run is confirmed. Meh count rising.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Bill_E_Talent

    Not a good day for MG

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Dark

    @2 yep

    I know which system I won’t get.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. The_Red

    So that was the reason EA scrapped online passes. No wonder EA and MS felt so cozy today :)

    #5 2 years ago
  6. salarta

    @2,4: Wow. More self-driven nails in their coffin.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. pleasant_cabbage

    Hee hee. Well the up side is that you won’t need to swap discs once games are installed… Well, it’s something! ;)

    #7 2 years ago
  8. OwningXylophone

    @4 Flip-side of the argument (depending what the fee is of course), 1 friend buys the game full price and then passes it round their friends who install said game and pay the fee, assuming the fee is less than full retail price anyway.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Phoenixblight


    I doubt it will be like the Online pass which just restricted the MP and some features what this fee allows you to do is to play the game. It will be more than 10$, I can assure you that.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Dark

    “Xbox One will not function without Kinect connected”

    #10 2 years ago
  11. MegaGeek1

    Thats fucking scary.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Lord Gremlin

    It will be like Steam.
    So just buy PS4, like a reasonable person. Next gen will be essentially Steam and PC vs PS4.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Talkar

    Yeah, it is about as bad as Steam, i’ll give you that…

    #13 2 years ago
  14. TrickyAudio

    I hope the tracking is good on it.

    Does it have VideoPlus?

    #14 2 years ago
  15. polygem

    well it requires an always off brain, that´s for sure…

    #15 2 years ago
  16. dex3108

    If console doesn’t require always online feature how it would tell if game is preowned?

    #16 2 years ago
  17. monkeygourmet


    But… ‘Intelligent TV’ Polygem…! Intelligent X Factor, Intelligent Jersey Shore, Intelligent Big Brother! :)

    #17 2 years ago
  18. salarta

    @16: That’s a very good point. There are only two ways I can think of that issue being handled. One is that perhaps the fee is only in reference to being able to play the game online. The other is that Microsoft might require the person to register their game with an internet connection before the ability to play it is activated.

    @17: I’m afraid to find out what Intelligent Jersey Shore looks like. I need an adult.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. Fin

    Edge is saying “It does not have to be always connected, but Xbox One does require a connection to the Internet.”

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Buddy Dakota


    It will require you to be online when registering a new game. I assume the console will lock out any games that hasn’t been registered yet. I also assume it will be locked to console, not profile.

    The console doesn’t require you to always be online, but it requires you to have access to an online connection if you want to be able to use it. Much like Steam.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. CyberMarco

    Most probably will be like one-time activation or something.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. dex3108

    Ok console is not always online but it requires connection. Bad decision MS, bad decision.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. The_Red

    Fee for used-games, encouraged “always-online”, Sports / Kinect / SmartTV focus. Yes, this is the One console I’m not getting this gen.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. Fin

    I just had a thought – the way the system is, as we know at the moment, there’s nothing to stop someone buying several games on launch, installing them, trading them in immediately (when they’re worth most), disconnecting from Live, then playing them at their leisure.

    Wonder if there’ll be a check-on-boot or something.

    #24 2 years ago
  25. dizzygear

    How is that disk install thing supposed to work? CD keys tied to an account like retail STEAM games do? And that used games simply require the disk in the drive to play if you dont provide a cd key?

    Used and lending games are one of the few advantages consoles have over the PC these days.


    Retailers refuse to trade PC games for obvious reasons. I imagine they will do the same for XBO games if this crap is true.

    #25 2 years ago
  26. Phoenixblight


    Yes that would be one way and if the key is not provided when a second-hand user put it in they will have to pay a fee in order to access the game.

    #26 2 years ago
  27. ManuOtaku

    I dont have a problem with the used games issue, but i guess a fee is better than completly blocking the access to the second hand games, just add this fee to the overall cost of the game, now it will be interesting to see the amount of the fee nontheless.

    I was thinking on skiping this console, but if it not requires an always connected thing, i will get it especially for the unanounced exclusives games, altogheter with their usual IPS, of course

    #27 2 years ago
  28. Phoenixblight


    You can pretty much gauge who is doing the new IPs which MS has always lacked on exclusives besides Halo. MS has like 5 or 6 studios they own which are probably the ones doing the new IPs. Nothing to wag their stick at especially considering their studios. Remedy and Lionhead are the only ones worth anything outside of 343 studios but they aren’t anything to swing at compared to Sony’s studios.

    #28 2 years ago
  29. OlderGamer

    Long walk, short pier MS.

    My Kinect sits in a box for a reason. I don’t want to use it for games nor anything else. When the day comes that I can’t work a simple button to work my TV, then I won’t be able to hold or work a video game pad and thus will have zero reason to own a game system anyways.

    Xone is a game system…isn’t it?

    #29 2 years ago
  30. Gheritt White

    @29: I was waiting for you to show up, OG – yours is the only opinion here I truly care about. Would love to chat offline sometime – exchange Gamertags, maybe?

    #30 2 years ago
  31. polygem

    exchanging gamertags? you mean…on xbox :)

    #31 2 years ago
  32. NocturnalB

    My roomate and i have always shared a console. So if this is true, if i were to buy a used game not ONLY will M$ make me pay a fee to play a used game but then pay ANOTHER fee just so my roommate’s account can play the game too?

    IF this is in fact true (along with the forced Kinect always connected)… no way. I will not ever, not even down the road pay for this system. I haven’t played a PlayStation since PS2 but it’s looking like i am getting a PS4. FEES……Un-fucking-believable. All the years I’ve payed for XBL, even 1 or 2 “season passes” and they want to charge fees? Did i mention the Kinect HAS to be connected??!?!

    Edit: I’ll wait to see the other details releasing tomorrow to confirm and deny these things, then done.

    #32 2 years ago
  33. ManuOtaku

    #28 phoenix i understand, and to at some point i agree, the thing is that seeing their main focus is not gaming, revealing that they do have 15 exclusives, and 8 of them being new ones, was really surprising, and a very nice surprise, exclusives are the reasons why i do buy consoles, and i will be getting this one now, especially because it doenst require an always connected thing, but for the quality of the games we will see, i really hope they are good in the mean time i will get the fabbles, the halos, the forza, the banjos, the alan wakes and the viva pinatas, i mean their old ips,

    #33 2 years ago
  34. OlderGamer

    Yeah, I haven’t been online like I normaly am. My son is home on leave from USAF. So Ihave been enjoying his company. My GT for Live is Anoldergamer, WiiU is Oldergamer, and PSN is pracer. Steam is Oldergamer.

    You will find me on WiiU the most: Madden, CoD, VC, Netflix, Sonic and Mario mostly. I use Live for Netflix mostly. And right now my youngest sons best friend is barrowing my PS3.

    It is strange how seemingly out of love I have fallen with games recently. I still play, but most of it is with family. Mostly I watch TV, ironic really when you consider how I view the new Xone. I just have a really hard time getting excited about gaming the way I used to.

    #34 2 years ago
  35. Phoenixblight

    There will be no banjos or viva pinatas. You want those type of games you go Playstation, Media Molecule is what Rare could have been if MS didn’t corrupt and scare away what made Rare what it was.

    #35 2 years ago
  36. ManuOtaku

    #35 well i want both the ones on sony and microsoft, iam some compulsive gamer and buyer :) , the best of both worlds really, i think at some point they will come, they know they need games thats why they put some effort with the 15 exclusives on the first year.

    #36 2 years ago
  37. monkeygourmet


    To get you in the mood for Xbox ONE, here’s some British TV shows you should watch! :)

    Red Dwarf
    Mighty Boosh
    Nighty Night
    Any Alan Partridge stuff
    Black Mirror (Charlie Booker)
    Black Adder (after series 1)
    League of Gentlemen
    Peep Show

    Obviously, if British comedy isn’t your thing, these may be abhorrent to you! ;)

    #37 2 years ago
  38. Gheritt White

    @34: Just dropped you a message via

    @35: You don’t even know the half of it.

    #38 2 years ago
  39. polygem

    whut about the benny hill show?

    #39 2 years ago
  40. fearmonkey

    @38 – Great show list lol, missing Father Ted, Dave Allen at large, and Monty of course.

    #40 2 years ago
  41. monkeygourmet


    I have a feeling he’s going to be ‘outed’ as a pedophile … Every other 70′s British ‘comedian’ seems to be… :)

    #41 2 years ago
  42. monkeygourmet


    Here here! :) Especially Father Ted, my favourite!

    #42 2 years ago
  43. ManuOtaku

    #42 now that you are talking about funny shows, i do recommend on anime side of things chromatie high school and polar bear cafe those shows are funny.

    #43 2 years ago
  44. monkeygourmet


    Hi Manu! I have chromatie high school but haven’t watched it yet! :) will search for the polar bear cafe though, thanks!

    #44 2 years ago
  45. polygem

    @41: yeah i remember, that long haired guy – i forgot the name….ouch.

    #45 2 years ago
  46. speider

    There is no reason yet to believe that users on the same console would have to pay a fee. That would make every family owning an xbox one mad.

    The Kinect has to be connected, but it comes with the xbox. It’s the same as having the motion for the wii always connected.

    They never said that they aren’t focusing on games. The entertainment system reveal wasn’t game focused, but the gaming (and to me, the main) side of xbox will get one of its biggest showings on E3, with more exclusives shown than possibly on any E3 previously.

    #46 2 years ago
  47. Stephany Nunneley

    @42 Feck! Arse! Grils! Drink! (my beagle is named Dougal btw)

    #47 2 years ago
  48. monkeygourmet


    Amazing! :D

    btw, how did you feel about the reveal Steph? Nothing massive, just initial impressions, Bit too media focused? No worries if your busy! ;)

    #48 2 years ago
  49. Lewis247

    Seriously, It’s now all out in the open. Used games have been shafted. Codes for all games.

    Fuck, honestly, I’m done. Not paying a single penny. Plus the fact it’s now completely in the hands of publishers to do this for their games meaning it will no doubt be the same on ps4.

    I’ll just stick with my PS3 and 360 for the next 5 years.

    #49 2 years ago
  50. Stephany Nunneley

    @48 Honestly, I haven’t had much time for it all to sink in. Too much information floating around and some conflicting.

    However, at this second, I am a bit underwhelmed. Not that it takes a lot to impress me or anything mind, it’s just I’m not sure I need an “all in one” anything at the moment and I am not fond of the idea of talking to my TV. :D

    I have a feeling I will be buying a new 360 pretty soon (it stopped reading discs last year) so I won’t be needing a next-gen system anytime in the near future much like @49 up there.

    I dunno, give me a few days and I will give you a better idea how I feel once the actual facts are in and the media isn’t all in a tizzy XD

    #50 2 years ago
  51. YoungZer0

    “For single-player games that don’t require connectivity to Xbox Live, you should be able to play those without interruption should your Internet connection go down. Blu-ray movies and other downloaded entertainment should be accessible when your Internet connection may be interrupted. But the device is fundamentally designed to be expanded and extended by the Internet as many devices are today.”

    And here’s the bombshell:

    Kotaku: If I’m playing a single player game, do I have to be online at least once per hour or something like that? Or can I go weeks and weeks?

    Harrison: I believe it’s 24 hours.

    Kotaku: I’d have to connect online once every day.

    Harrison: Correct.

    Oh boy.

    #51 2 years ago
  52. monkeygourmet


    Cool, thanks for the feedback, and for all the coverage! :)


    Oh wowser! :)

    #52 2 years ago
  53. Ireland Michael

    If the pre-owned thing is true, Microsoft can politely go fuck themselves.

    How the hell did this company manage to go from reinventing the hobby and being swamped with exclusive games to this clusterfuck of a out-of-touch mess?

    Their entire conference was nothing but them claiming how amazing and revolutionary they are, but showing NOTHING.

    #53 2 years ago
  54. Lewis247

    @51 Honestly it’s that last bit that kills me. They are doing absolutely nothing productive for us as gamers and consumers with the xbox one.

    Give me a console that does nothing but play games over this any day, when I want and no matter how I bought the game. Simple as.

    “The system will also not function without Kinect connected – so there’s a bit of a rub for some of you. ”


    #54 2 years ago
  55. JackTheFaux

    Major Nelson posted on his blog to clear some of this up.

    #55 2 years ago
  56. Ireland Michael

    “should you choose to play your game at your friend’s house, there is no fee to play that game while you are signed in to your profile.’

    God, you know, I’d like to think I’m not the aggressive type…

    …but Microsoft can go fuck themselves. Royally. Fuck this shit.

    #56 2 years ago
  57. Stephany Nunneley

    @55 Thanks! I will add that in now, and @51 – I wish they would make up their mind whether its online or not. I mean this is the third exec saying something slightly different.

    EDIT: both comment links from above added.

    #57 2 years ago
  58. Erthazus

    @51, More like a piracy protection and identification that you are the owner of the Xbox or else “BAN”

    something like Steam but in Steam case they don’t ask you to be online at least for one day.

    It’s like a Windows activation via Online but this time requirement here to be online so your system could continue to work.

    #58 2 years ago
  59. stretch215

    Wow, if the end of post #51 is correct I may have to rethink my primary purchase. I mean, I can’t remember the last time my internet went down, but if it does I want to be able to play my games. e3 will (hopefully) be telling…

    #59 2 years ago
  60. Ireland Michael

    It’s like they’re trying to dig themselves into as deep a hole as possible. Fucking hell.

    #60 2 years ago
  61. silverstorm

    Soooo let me get this straight.. I have to connect to the internet once a day, and i can’t for example borrow a game from a friend and play it without paying a fucking fee? I was unsure if was getting xbox this gen but now i’m completely sure i’m going with PS4.

    #61 2 years ago
  62. Beta

    What confusing bullcrap is this about borrowed game fees?

    Sort it out Microsoft, this reveal is embarrassing.

    #62 2 years ago
  63. Stephany Nunneley

    @59 Same here, but my Internet goes out quite a bit where I live (as I have bitched and complained about many times on here to you guys) – but I agree “e3 will (hopefully) be telling” and hopefully things will be cleared up more before then. Too much confusion as there are too many explanations from too many sources on the matter.

    It honestly sounds like not everyone there is on the same page. Oh well, hopefully it will all be clear soon.

    #63 2 years ago
  64. hitnrun

    @62: They are sorting it out. They’re floating trial balloons and seeing if they can get away with it, much like they did a couple months ago with the always on thing.

    My reaction? Let them get away with it all they want. Fuck that shit, it’s not my problem anymore. I only bought a 360 this gen (console-wise, anyway) for a whole host of reasons that we’ve all rehashed before. By the time the PS3 became a reasonable 2nd purchase, I couldn’t justify buying another console with an enormous Pile of Shame and no time to play any of it (a problem that remains).

    But this gen, when I do eventually buy a console I have little doubt it will be a PS4. I mean seriously, who the fuck would buy this MS system? Are they hoping to just skip the whole “early adopter” and “game console” phases and hope that Ms. Casual will just plop down $400 on a glorified DVR player with some 7-years-late control gimmicks?

    #64 2 years ago
  65. Cobra951

    @51: So the story’s headline here is basically false. The device requires the internet. Without it, you lose functionality inside of a day.

    Edit: Oh, but site changed the headline, probably to reflect this bombshell.

    #65 2 years ago
  66. SplatteredHouse

    Go-go gadget (Xbox) mind control! A bit of a funny story up on Kotaku, warning us today of what a nuisance Kinect can be once it starts getting other people’s funny ideas into its head.
    Twitter reports emerged during the presentation posted by viewers on a Kinect-enabled 360 of the stage demonstrator’s commands causing all manner of irritating and disruptive effects to their LIVE viewing experience! – mighty header there, too.

    #66 2 years ago
  67. Stephany Nunneley

    @65 The headline changed because more information became available after my shift ended, and I came back on here to do things after my “household” chores and food (yay food!) were concluded – plus as you see, I am still on here doing things regarding today’s news at 10:15 pm when I should be in bed. :p

    #67 2 years ago
  68. SplatteredHouse

    edit: covered already!

    #68 2 years ago

    Really couldn’t care less about having to connect to the internet once a day.

    I already own Office 365, and that pretty much has to be connected to the internet at all times.

    Don’t care about second hand games or lending games to anyone else, either.

    I’m interested in the games, and although they’ve shown nothing that interests me so far (even CoD), it’s not all bad news.

    #69 2 years ago
  70. livewired500

    I’m concerned by the fact they have said that games will be tied to a single profile. I pay for a Family Gold membership and have 4 people playing on the same system. Will I have to pay a fee for each of my kids and wife to play a game we bought even though I already pay for a Family membership? If that is the case, no Xbox One for me.

    #70 2 years ago
  71. redwood

    am thinking that if EA adds this sort of net-check functionality on X1.. there is a high chance that this will also make it’s way to the ps4 versions too :\ ps4 will have it’s cloud save too (it already has that) ..

    #71 2 years ago
  72. Bomba Luigi

    Its easy: no blocking of used Games and no always online is a good Thing. You can scream it out loud to make People happy.

    If the Question not even can be answered clear, they don’t want you to know. Thats not good…

    #72 2 years ago
  73. NinjaHart

    I kind of feel like they were trying to sell us all a oversized voice commanded TV remote control… I use my TV to watch TV, my gaming consol should concentrate on GAMING, not TV.

    #73 2 years ago
  74. silkvg247

    So what happens if you *don’t* connect once per 24hr?

    Does it stop working? Does it refuse to turn on?
    Does it starve because it didn’t have any internets?

    #74 2 years ago
  75. Phoenixblight


    You don’t pass go, you don’t collect 200$ ie the system will not work at least the main features won’t work.

    #75 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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