Xbox One DRM Doesn't Care Where Your Family Members Are

Or, indeed, if they're actually members of your family. If you've named and linked them, and as long as you're not both trying to play the same game at once, they could be just about anywhere.

In an interview with Ars Technica, Microsoft Xbox Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer Yusuf Mehdi drops a lot more detail on how Xbox One's very controversial digital strategy will actually work. It's well worth reading in its entirety, but the critical section for those looking to share games is this:

"For another, they don't have to live in the primary owner's house—I could name a friend that lives 3,000 miles away as one of my "family members" Mehdi said. You'll be able to link other Xbox Live accounts as having shared access to your library when you first set up a system and will also be able to add them later on (though specific details of how you manage these relationships is still not being discussed). The only limitation, it seems, is that only one person can be playing the shared copy of a single game at any given time.

Thanks to Jarrard for the tip!

Microsoft defends the Xbox One’s licensing, used game policies [Ars Technica]


    Makes sense. Microsoft doesn't care where their gamers are.

      Unless you're in Eastern Europe or Asia, then they don't care about you full stop.

        well technically they said they're only launching in november in like 15 countries or something, so i'd say those "supported" countries are the ones with day 1 launch. Asia is getting it a year later so will have support a year later. why bother competing on launch in asia where PS4 will be the clear winner!

          You also have to take into consideration the amount of services we cannot use outside of the US that are one of main selling points of the Xbox One, as well as one of the reasons the price is so high. Outside of the US, we're forking extra money for services we can't use.

            yeah true, we cant use them yet but of course they'll add stuff like foxtel support later down the track, we already have it on xbox 360, they just need to work out how its going to work and then add it.

            you know PS4 has only confirmed launch release for Australia, US, Europe and Japan right?
            same boat.

              Not same boat. Imported PS4 would still work. Xbox1 transform to bricks in unsupported countries.

            So the games on both consoles won't work in Anarctica? What about the International Space Station?

        Are you fucking kidding? Consoles always have delayed launches in Asia. the PS3 didn't launch in South Korea, India, Ukraine/Russia or Mexico until almost a year after it launched in the US! Malaysia & Indonesia didn't get the PS3 until TWO YEARS after it launched in the US. The Philippines & Brazil didn't get the PS3 until 2010 - that's THREE years after the launch in the US. Yet I don't hear you saying "Sony doesn't care about you if you're in Eastern Europe, Asia, or latin America" though.

        Delayed launches like this are standard in the industry. Every single console in the past few generations has done this.

        Last edited 13/06/13 7:16 pm

          Yep indeed. They usually can't manufacture enough consoles at first and set up distribution deals that works with different countries economic levels etc.
          Sometimes the tech needs to just be cheaper to make before they can afford to sell it at insane prices like Brazil.
          I don't think it means any brand cares less or more.

      yea last i heard they support rape jokes at there conferences

      They actually want you to LIE and say that your friends are your family members just so that you can share games. Think about that...

    cheers. It feels like the first strong positive PR move they've made in a while regarding the X1.

    Helps clear things up with their vision.

    Last edited 13/06/13 11:51 am

    This is an interesting plus in a sea of minuses

      It's actually a HUGE plus.

      I mean, in all honestly, for anyone who lends/borrows games, how many people do you realistically lend/borrow with and how many games do you do so?

      The percentage of people who would partake in this practice with 10 people would be minscule.

        I have not lent or borrowed a game in years... (gta4 i think was the last one, and i already had a copy... I simply borrowed one so i could boost some online achievements by myself haha) . BUT! the ability to lend my games out to my xbox friend who've i've known online since the launch of x360 and lives on the other side of australia is crazy good in my opinion.

    What i'm curious about is how they'll manage it in its entirety to ensure that a group of 10 friends arent sharing a game library and just not playing games at the same time.

    Still, this is definitely good news compared to fees and not being able to loan games.

    Can imagine it goes down something like

    "can i borrow forza 5"
    "sure man hold on"
    - go to xbox friends list, open up said friend, click on "make family member"
    "there you go, you should be free to play it now"

      There has been a quote somewhere that they need to be on your family list for 30 days to enable sharing.... There is scope for abuse with this, but it makes single player 6-8h campaigns almost worth buying at full price, as you can then pass them through your "family".

        I thought it was that they couldn't be changed more often than 30 days? So you can't just add people and remove them constantly.

        that was for "giving" games to your friends, not loaning them to people on your "family" list.

        i agree though, scope for abuse. but i guess their intention is theyre moving things online, alot of games will be played online, which means you cant play this game with your friends if your all sharing the same copy. single player campaign games though, definately curious what their intentions to moderate it will be.

        No, that's for giving a game to a friend (license transfer), not sharing with "family members". They need to be on your friends list for 30 days before you can do a license transfer.

      Think you might still have to wait 30 days

      Last edited 13/06/13 2:32 pm

      I think that the fact a lot of games are heavily multiplayer and the fact that only one person can play at a time will keep it down a bit. But hey, if you are 10 friends can time share a game more power to you.

    Alright; I know Microsoft "doesn't care about gamers" and their DRM is a terrible idea, but is this not a completely badass feature?

    This can completely change the playing field of social interactions with friends around the globe if you can share titles with them seamlessly, once your games are on the cloud. That's incredible - Friend has a game but can't bring the "disc" over? Just share your accounts with one another and presto, you have yourself a shared game. Whoever doesn't own it can try it, see if they like, buy it and there you have it, both people now own the game and can play simultaneously.

    I'm quite happy about this, actually.

      Just another 'new' feature that's available on current-gen consoles.

      You can already share games with multiple accounts on PS3, and even play the games at the same time. I've been told this is also possible with the 360, but I haven't tried myself.

        so youre saying, your friend in belfast can just go on PSN and play any of your games while you are playing them.

        want to back this up, 99% sure thats incorrect.

          Your friend needs to sign into your account on their PS3, then download and install the game. They can then sign out of your account, and the game is available to play from their account.

          I've done this with Wipeout HD and NBA Jam, and played online against my friend.

          I should have mentioned before that you can install the same game on up to 7 PS3's. It's mentioned somewhere on the PSN website.

            However, your account can only activate a games licence on two PS3 consoles at a time. You can sign in to as many as you want but game activation is limited to just the two (five consoles for older games).

            Not sure on the install limitation or this 7 PS3's you've mentioned

              I thought it was five - including Vitas?

                It used to be five, it was dropped to two a while back.

                  I tend to think that MS will be forced to do the same - its just too easy to exploit.

                  Fairly sure its still 5 on PS3 just cos I have it set up, 2 is for 360 or newly made PS3 accounts?

                @thom Definitely two.

            is this for Full games? seems like an exploit of a system to me.

      The games will be on your HDD, not in the cloud.
      I believe you'll need to share the disc to install the game then they can activate it if they're part of your "family". At least that's my understanding, like all these Microsoft announcements detail seems to be lacking.

        they install onto your HDD but the cloud knows what games it can download.

        so you'd have to drive 3,000 miles to drop the disc off? seems silly

    Well, this news sure would have been helpful at about the time they unveiled the console.

    "You can share your game with family members, of which you can have up to 10, who can actually just be your friends, regardless of where they live in the world, allowing you to grant access to your games library to other people"

    would likely have smoothed a small portion of butthurt the whole Microsoft fiasco has generated.

      It sounds similar to Sony's 5 install policy, except you can link accounts instead of just setting your account up on their machine to install games.

      I'd place a bet on that they hadn't actually come up with this until AFTER their unveiling sent them into damage-control.

      They did actually, people were too busy screaming to hear anything they said around the initial reveal.

    I'd be very interested to see how this is regulated or moderated. Seems like there's plenty of potential for exploitation.

      I agree with your statement in that it is straight up correct. But consider that the policy itself for always on DRM is after a fashion exploitative in the realms of the console (though necessary on the PC where piracy is far simpler)

      I find it funny that gamers as a collective have instantly jumped to "how can we best turn this to avoid the ridiculous restrictions that MS have put on us" we are all cyber-crims at heart it would appear :P

        you sound like a conspiracy theorest lol.

        the DRM is because theyre making things digital. the discs are purely there for faster installs and to save on your download usage.

      I think there is some time limit on how long you can play the games when you access them form another Xbone. Either read this on Destructoid or heard it from TotalBiscuit, not sure anymore.

        You might be thinking of when you login to another console with your own account to access your game library the online verification check is every hour instead of every 24 hours because its not your console.

        I was going to say that I'm reasonably confident that MS have said that family members can share games in an unrestricted manner (notwithstanding the fact that only one can play at a time), but I don't even want to commit to that kind of statement anymore! :P

    Should I eventually get an Xbone, this will be pretty neat!

    Good and bad, sucks if you have two Xboxes in the house and wanted to play COD against a family member.

      you'd have to have 2 copies of the game no matter what console youre playing on in that situation?

      you could always split screen it on the 1 console though.

        It's funny how nobody split screens anymore, even though we all have 40" or bigger TV's, while everyone used to four player split screen back in the N64 days on their 32cm TV's :)

          Hahahaha goldeneye on a 30cm TV four player... It seems weird doing it on a 55inch TV now with xbox360 controllers... I wish Mario party didnt kill all my controllers haha

          I did split-screen CoD at a friend's house on their PS3 a couple years ago. They already knew the maps, though, and it took me forever to realize that they had enabled the ability to find each other on the radar. Honestly, it was more fun not knowing that.

          It'll be a while before I experience that same kind of joy of discovery from ducking away, ambushed at the bottom of some stairs and discovering that yes, actually... my casual 'I wonder' idea of shooting through the floors and walls DOES actually work. It's better when someone screams in panic and they're sitting right next to you.

          The thing I've found is that two player split screen really sucks on a widescreen TV. In theory you have more screen real estate than on a CRT, but if you do the split vertically you have a very narrow visual field, and if you split horizontally (which is what I've found works best) you lose all peripheral vision.

          If the consoles can achieve 4K (4x 1080p) resolutions, then split screen would be the same quality as four 25" screens but in a 50" screen.

      Pretty sure you can actually do this. In MS' own press, they say that any one (ie a max of one of the 10) of your family members can play the same game at the same time.

    Does 3,000 miles away still need to be in the same region?

      I was gonna say this exact same thing: I'm pretty sure MS *cares* about regions...

    This sounds really cool, but I'm worried it's only half a story for some positive PR. Hopefully there aren't too many stings attached later on.

      Your friend's Kinect needs to see you, the sharer, in front your friend's XBone once every 24 hours and it will know if you are cheating, because your own Kinect will be watching your own living room for confirmation.

    I had actually considered importing friends gamertags to my box then buying the "family" gold subscription which gives 4 accounts XBL gold for the price of less than 2. Never got around to it. But I guess this is a similar feature - I can have a friend be in my family remotely and bam, he can access my games I'm not playing anymore.

    There's still a downside that my wife and I can't get seperate boxes and TVs to co-op off one disc. That's a shame. But it's more than what we've had so far, so it's still an improvement.

    But the PS+ also does the same thing? If one account has a PS+, all other accounts attached to the console can access MP :/

      no, this is the case on X1 too

      quote: wiki
      Each subscription is tied to the console rather than the individual account - meaning multiple accounts on one console can play online multiplayer without having to purchase an individual subscription for each account

      BUT this is talking about linking accounts, not consoles. so people on your "family" list in another country that have never played on your console can access your "shared game library" over the cloud, download it to their machine and play the games themselves as long as youre not on the same game.

      completely different

      Last edited 13/06/13 12:21 pm

    Provided you have a stable, always on internet connection (and that's a BIG condition), this is far more convenient than loaning discs. You could have a friend in America playing your game one day and your mate in Perth playing it the next.

      That all sounds well and good.... Not sure if it's going to be as simple as that. I think they will more than likely have limitations on how many times you will be able share the same game with other "family" members. If not, I can see this feature being exploited and having more of an impact than used games on their sales.

        Well for multiplayer games you want to play with any of those people, or they want to play with each other it is useless so they would need their own copies. For single player games, you can still only have one person playing at a time so its the same as if they were at your house or borrowing your copy. Some will abuse it but it seems like a good thing to me for the most part.

    They could have a lot of fans a lot of heartbreak if they had of explained this in detail in their conference!

    I think there has to be more to this story. I just cannot believe that you can freely "share" your game with whoever is on your family list. Basically, coming from the publisher point of view, that means every copy sold equals ten copies sold. What was the top selling Xbox360 game, halo with 14 or so million copies sold?
    If this would happen on the Xbone with free family share, then that (theoretically) equals to only 1.4 million copies sold; I just can't believe that this will happen, publishers wont allow it.

      publishers don't get a choice, its a feature of the system and your maths is wrong because you cannot play the same copy at the same time.

        That is why it is theoretically, not practically. I thought I can save the time by not pointing that out but apparently this is not so.
        Even if it (the lost sales) equals to 1/3 or there about (of the total number of games sold), publishers will have to think about exclusive titles on that platform in the future.

          which is still just a number you have made up out of thin air. Who's to say this wont drive additional sales, because some random people will try a game on their 'family list' fall in love with it, and buy themselves a copy where they otherwise wouldn't have given it a second thought?! I mean, this could lead to an 85% increase in core sales to non-core gaming demographics!

            And what is the difference to the current model then? Why bother alienating customers when all they needed to say was that we can share games with up to 10 ppl? Please, you sound like the film industry trying to justify their war on piracy with increased sales. Don't forget, you don't own the game in Microsoft's current model, you lease it.

              Sony's stance as well is when you buy a Disc you have the "rights" to play that game, theyve never said you own it. they just say you have the rights.
              same shit man.

              by the same token, you sound like the film industry trying to support their argument with made up numbers. Maybe I should have added an '/sarcasm' to my 85% comment.
              You can have your opinion about the model they are using, but until there is numbers and stats that are applicable, how about holding off on trying to quantize any effect it is going to have?

      As awesome as this would be, I just can't see this being maintained. It sounds like you could get a group of mates and share your entire library. It would kill sales.

      you cant play each other online with teh same copy though. theoretically incorrect.

        As much as that is true, a large proportion of the consumers don't play multiplayer on the console, Xbox or PS. Hence theoretically.
        There are titles where this is not true, CoD comes to mind, there are others, however, where this is most likely the case, GTA4 for example. I cannot see Rockstar allowing the above mentioned scenario to happen.

      People who play Halo do it primarily to play MP or Co-op with friends. You can't really do that with this system because only one person at a time can play. Won't hurt them as much as you think and you may still need to buy DLC separately.

    the fact that they are suddenly suggesting you freelypass games to friends under the name family just shows how poorly thought out the plan was

    I agree this is a cool feature, but it does generate a few questions.

    Can you control which games in your library can be shared?
    Can you select one game to be shared exclusively to just one "family member"?
    What happens when you want to play one of your games that a "family member" is currently playing?
    When you designate a user as a "family member", do they have to do the same to you to start sharing?
    What happens when you go offline for more than 24 hours, while a "family member" is playing one of your games?
    While playing one of your games, does the "family member" have to check in every 24 hours or 1 hour?

      I am going to assume you don't have to be online to let the game be shared as long as the person accessing it is in your "family" already, and that the other person will need to be have online checks done once per hour since they're coming in under your family umbrella - same as if you played the game from a different box under your own account.

      I would like to see controls over what games are shared and know what happens if I try to access a game one of my friends is currenly playing. I'm cool with letting my buddy use my copy of Halo 5 or whatever once I'm done with it, but I don't want to be cockblocked on launch day because he started playing while I was off taking a nap or something.

    If this is true, then it may turn a lot of people back to the possibility of buying the Xbone.

    Of course, this wouldn't affect any of the big titles. COD, Halo, BF, etc would still sell massive amounts because you'd still need your own copy of the game to play MP.

    And again, IF this is true.

    good to see they have confirmed that this is how it operates.
    my first though when the 10 people family was announced was that my "core" group of friends would all be in the family and we would be able to split purchases and get around the share restrictions for disc based games.
    fair enough you can only have 1 playing at a time. but my group would be 4 people. if you have 2 copies in that group it would be rare for 3 or more to be playing at the same time for smaller games.
    obviously a halo 5 or so would need 4 copies as we would all want to play.

    with my group i know that this would allow me access to games i wouldn't have purchased otherwise and vice versa.

    i still havent made my mind up yet. PS4 or Xboxone

    It's great as long as you only have 10 friends and family members combined and don't want to play multiplayer/co-op.

    Reminds me of WoW character transfers when they were limited between 'family' so everyone had accounts like Steven Surname, Stephan Surname and Stefano Surname.

    I imagine you'll have 10 contacts, and can share each game with between 1 and 10 people on that list, rather than all 10 having access to every one of your games.

    What an absolute riot. People would seriously swallow this? How long before Microsoft decides on a policy change and u can no longer share with anyone without paying?

      Why would people not "swallow this", this is an AWESOME FEATURE

        So you are 100% sure there will never be a change to this policy? What happens if they sell a million consoles with this "awesome" feature and then say stuff it we aren't making enough coin let's have a change in policy and scrap the whole idea.

          you're just being ridiculous.

          whats to say sony dont change their policy and say "nobody can play used games at all now".

          you seem to not think there can actually be good features for X1

          Last edited 14/06/13 9:58 am

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