Xbox One Lets You Share Your Games With Up To 10 'Family' Members

Here's another interesting detail from the Xbox news that popped up this evening. Microsoft says that 10 of your "family" members can access your shared games library. Not just on your console. On any Xbox One.

Here's Microsoft:

Xbox One will enable new forms of access for families. Up to 10 members of your family can log in and play from your shared games library on any Xbox One. Just like today, a family member can play your copy of Forza Motorsport at a friend’s house. Only now, they will see not just Forza, but all of your shared games. You can always play your games, and any one of your family members can be playing from your shared library at a given time.

There's still some confusion here. Can Microsoft really distinguish between who is a cousin and who is just your old college roommate? Who knows. I imagine you could identify 10 "people" as your "family" members and get away with it. Kind of like how HBO Go and other premium streaming services work.

The other detail to note is the mention of a shared library. Presumably, you'd have a specific folder with specific games that people with access can play. Does that mean Microsoft can limit how many games you can physically include in that library? Probably. We don't know for sure just yet.


    So just get your best friends to label themselves as family and have a HUGE ass library.

    MS, fucking up the whole traded in games thing by giving out free games since 2013.

      What a grand idea!

      The common sense solution for Microsoft is that anyone playing who isn’t on the originally registered console needs the disk to play. This could merge with the “online once an hour” requirement for people playing games on non-registered consoles to ensure that two consoles aren’t playing the same game at the same time.

      Basically this would allow for the status quo. If you have the disk, and you aren’t playing at home, you can take the game to a mates place. The only additional impost is that you would have to state that they are “family” and be online once an hour.

        I've never really regarded having the disc in the console as a major inconvenience. How about they just keep that requirement and scrap this pointlessly convoluted system altogether? Then there will be no need to connect to the internet to play single player games, not need for activation codes or signing into servers or bizarre masonic handshakes simply to buy or sell a used game.

        Their solution to the problem is worse than the problem.

          I don't know about you but I have quite a few 360 games downloaded and living on my HDD and it's GREAT. I held off on buying games online right up until that big XBL sale a few months back and then bought about 12 games for the same reason as most people- I hate the idea of not owning a physical copy.

          Boy was i an idiot- they get a lot more use than other games because when i'm bored or I can't work out what to play they are just sitting there on my HDD in a list reminding me that they exist. I can't ever remember a time when I conciously decided it was too much effort to change discs, but I now know that there are plenty of times when I have something I would really like to play but i don't think of it because it's buried in a drawer somewhere and i'm too stupid to think of it.

            I have a lot of games on my HDD, too - and I don't have to connect to the internet to play them offline, either (except for Final Fight - f*** you, Capcom). But that's digital, and that convenience of having it all there on HDD is the trade off you get for giving up physical media and the flexibility that goes with it. And I'm absolutely fine if the give us that option - download it and have it installed entirely on your HDD and play it off there, and never have a disc to trade or sell etc. OR, alternately, buy a physical disc which you have to insert into the machine to be able to play but then gives you the option to sell/trade/lend it as you wish. What they're offering at the moment seems to be forcing us all onto the digital model even when we buy physical media.

            As a side note, I have problems finding my discs because they're all lined up on a bookshelf in my lounge room. Alphabetically ordered. No OCD here, sir, oh no.

      It'll likely work like the current family pack. One person is the main account holder of the family and is in control of what the other family members do. And to make someone a member of the family their gamertag has to be on your xbox. So I don't imagine you'll be able to just let 9 mates share all of your games that easily. But who knows how it'll work, I'm only guessing.

      We are all forgetting that Kinect will identify people who already have consoles registered in their names or who are on other 'family' lists. I think it might work but I wouldn't put it past MS to have a way of nixing it.

    As I said on one of the other posts (since Kotaku decided to break these stories up to make the individual posts misleading):

    Just to be clear, Microsoft have no policy at all on their website defining “family” and I’d bet you anything they won’t even go close to trying to define that.
    You think gamers are whiney, easily irritated nut cases? We’ve got nothing on the assortment of crazy interest groups who’ll be spoiling for a PC-shitfight if Microsoft try’s to tell someone that their love/ friendship/ gamesharing fetish doesn’t count as “family”.

    They aren’t the tax office, if you want to say your best mate is your boyfriend or that you’ve got 6 wives for religious reasons they aren’t going to be able to stop you. Once you declare those 10 people (and you can currently change who’s in an out of your family at any point) then you can exchange games as you want. It's not a perfect system but it's not the end of the world either.

      You can currently change people in and out of your family pack at will but it requires their gamertag to be on your xbox and it prevents them from purchasing any Microsoft points cause the main account holder has to distribute them. Also, it requires new family members to enter the main account holder's email password when you move the profile to another console. For the current system to be exploited for some random mate you have on XBL it requires you both to be sharing the passwords to your accounts with each other which opens either one of you to have your account stolen by the other. It puts you both at risk.

      And it's restrictive when it comes to making purchases. Let's say your mate that you've put on your family pack wants to buy an XBL game for 1200 MS points, but only you as the account holder can buy points. You have to give your mate your bank details, they transfer you cash, then you buy the 1200 MS points and then give those to your mates account.

      The whole thing works best with actual family members that you know and trust but it's really risky to use with random mates. I imagine the system for the Xbone will have really similar restrictions to avoid it being exploited.

      Last edited 07/06/13 2:48 pm

        Thanks for that. It does sound like a pain in the ass.

        At least if all the rumours are true (and common sense prevails) the XBL points system will be gone for this console. That might limit the issues.

          It's a pain in the ass if you wanna exploit the system with online friends you don't know in real life. But if they're actual family members it's great. I use the family pack for myself and my wife plus my best friend (in real life) and my son. For $119 a year for 4 gold memberships which is a steal. If my wife and kids wanna buy something I purchase the points and distribute them. It's a bit of a pain if my best friend wants to buy something cause she's gotta transfer me money to my bank account first. but like I said if it's people who you know personally and trust it's really great.

      My initial reaction was that either they have to sign in on your console and you elect them as a "family member" from there, or they use XBL's existing family pass. The latter would require "families" to all be gold subscribers, and the former could be exploited wonderfully. The only other option I could think of was restricting based on external IP - most home internet connections are NATed, so if they're accessing from the same connection, they're at least co-habitators.
      Of course, I'm the exception to this - I share an internet connection with 8 other apartments.
      One thing I'm pretty sure they won't do is let you pick and choose ten people from your friends list and call them "family". Publishers wouldn't let that happen - sales would plummet as a direct result or people exploiting it.

      As I mentioned in another post, these press releases are filled with wonderfully ambiguous terminology, and while giving some idea about what's going to happen, actually raise more questions than they answer. They remind me of Windows error messages in that sense.

    Sweet. Here's to Xbone game sales being cut by 90%

      Gotta love the irony here.

      "Man, FUCK the Xbox if I can't borrow and lend games between my friends"

      "Lol, Microsoft are letting me and my friends split the cost of buying games, lol Microsoft".

      Do you guys even know what you're complaining about anymore?

        it's the internet, do we need a reason?

        But for one of the biggest multinationals in the world Microsoft are getting really good at sending out mixed signals about what the Xbox can do and what gamers will/won't be able to do with it

    Lol, this is going from one extreme to the other. And because games don't run from the discs, does that mean all 9 other Xbones you share your game with can play it at the same time? If so, that would be the one thing that would make me and my "bros" go with Xbone instead of PS4: we each take turns in buying the next game we want and share it with the rest. Good one Microsoft.

      I think that if one person was logged into a game, it would exclude all other systems - so multiplayer games dont mean 1 game for 10 boxes running at the same time.... This would make single player games more shareable and would simplify things greatly... it is open to abuse but I bet they will be watching for that too.... like once you have listed someone, you cant change them....

      I imagine there'll be one account in charge of the library. I don't think 10 people will just have an open library into which they can just add games. It's too exploitable.

    You know, one of the things holding me back from setting up a second TV/Xbox so my wife and I can play co-op/multi in games that don't support split screen is that I don't want to have to buy a second copy of every single game.

    If I can have her in my "xbox family" and we can play from two copies installed from one disc in separate rooms, I'll be pretty happy.

      I don't think that's what their offering:

      "and any one of your family members can be playing from your shared library at a given time"

      Note that they said ANY ONE, not ANYONE. I think their saying that one individual machine can access a game at the same time or possibly only one person for the whole library simultaneously.

        that's the wording I've been reading over and over again trying to figure out their exact meaning. As it is now my wife and I have an xbox each and our kids play on both. If I want to play co-op with the wife I buy two copies of a game (I can't stand split-screen). Either they're saying that "any person in your family can be accessing your library at a given time" or "only a single person may access the shared library at a time". Who knows. I really want clarification. I don't mind buying a second copy for the wife but it could possibly mean that I don't have to.

          Most people are missing a point that is said before "and any one of your family members can be playing from your shared library at a given time." It says, "You can always play your games" So it is possible that it will be you (the main game holder) AND Any one of your family members. If this is the case, this will be very awesome.

      For games downloaded from XBLA or GonD, you can do this right now. For example: your wife's account/gamertag buys Dungeon Defender on your xbox and downloads it to your xbox first. Now, you can play that game without your wife's account on your xbox. She can move over to her own xbox and play that game there at the same time that you are playing on your own xbox.

        That's what I do when buying on XBL. I always download the game to the wife's xbox so her xbox holds the license but I can still play it on my xbox as long as I'm signed in and online. It just sucks however when it comes to buying games on discs. I've had to buy two copies of most of the main FPS games, Halo, CoD etc so we can both play.

    I'm assuming that the "Family" will just be the people that have made an account on your Xbone. So you can't exactly share it around with you friends, you just don't need to buy a new copy for everybody that uses your Xbone.

    Last edited 07/06/13 2:21 pm

      It's bad enough when everybody wants to assume the worst case scenario, it's even worse when the information is right there in the article.

      "Just like today, a family member can play your copy of Forza Motorsport at a friend’s house."

      Retracted my comment - Read reply and face palmed myself.

      Damn I should read articles carefully too.

      Last edited 07/06/13 2:57 pm

    You can already do something similar on PS3. You can install a game you've downloaded from PSN on up to 7 other PS3's, after logging into them with your account. Your mate then logs back in with their account and can play the game. I've done that with NBA Jam and Wipeout HD. Even played them at the same time.

    I don't think Xbones similar function will affect their sales much.

      I do that with XBL. I traded gamertags with my mate, downloaded his DLC, booted up the game and signed out and then signed in as me. Then he recovered his gamertag and we played DLC maps together despite the fact the only he bought them. Ah, the days of being poor, I'm glad they're over.

    "any one of your family members can be playing from your shared library at a given time"

    Does this mean that if my brother goes to a friend's place to play our copy of Call of Duty or whatever, I can't be at home playing any of the games that we own? Because, uh, yeah. Not a fan.

    I remember this time where I could stick a cartridge or CD into my console, press power and play the game. I could lend games to friends and in return borrow their games

    I like to think I am not that old....

      One day you'll tell your kids that story and they won't believe you.

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