Microsoft had originally planned to let Xbox One users share any games digitally, but a backlash over the used games policies and online check forced the company to reverse most of its promising plans. Although disc-based games can no longer be converted into digitally shareable copies, Microsoft is outlining what can be shared this week, and it's very similar to how the Xbox 360 works today. The reversal of policies may have changed Microsoft's plans, but Xbox chief product officer Marc Whitten tells us that "most people will use this platform connected," and the company still plans to bring back some of the original Xbox One features.
Xbox One games purchased digitally can be used by all players in a household on an Xbox One. Just as discs can be played by any family member today, Microsoft will allow Xbox One owners to create a virtual game library that includes different games that family members have purchased digitally. Any family member will be able to pick a digital game and sign in with their account even if the original owner is not signed in. Xbox One owners will also be able to play digitally downloaded games without being online. Essentially, Xbox Live digital games are tied to your gamertag, but they're also tied to your primary console. Despite this, Microsoft is not commenting on when features like being able to resell digital games will become available, but Whitten says Xbox One's digital vision is "going to drive a lot of different business models over time."
Xbox One owners will be able to use a Microsoft Account as a type of digital passport to sign in and use games on another console. A key part of this sharing and cloud-powered Xbox Live is a new feature that Microsoft is calling Home Gold. Existing Xbox Live Gold members will be able to set up an Xbox One at home and anyone who uses the console will be able to access multiplayer gaming and the entertainment apps even if the main account holder is not signed in or at home. An Xbox One owner with an Xbox Live Gold subscription could also log in at a friend's house and everyone on that particular console would then be able to use multiplayer gaming and the entertainment apps while the Gold member is signed in. It sounds a little complicated, that's because it is, but in reality Microsoft is extending its Xbox Live Gold subscription so that you don't have to buy individual subscriptions for each family member.