Train2Game News: More Xbox One Details

Xbox OneMicrosoft has released a website detailing how the Xbox One will handle its online connection, second-hand games, and the all-new Kinect.

Microsoft calls the Xbox One a “modern, connected device,” and means every word of it: the console needs an online connection every 24 hours.

“With Xbox One you can game offline for up to 24 hours on your primary console, or one hour if you are logged on to a separate console accessing your library. Offline gaming is not possible after these prescribed times until you re-establish a connection, but you can still watch live TV and enjoy Blu-ray and DVD movies,” reads the page explaining the console’s online features.

“While a persistent connection is not required, Xbox One is designed to verify if system, application or game updates are needed and to see if you have acquired new games, or resold, traded in, or given your game to a friend. Games that are designed to take advantage of the cloud may require a connection.”

Once games are installed from either a retail disc or Xbox Live purchase, that game will be available at any time in the cloud. Microsoft says that “discs will continue to be a great way to install your games quickly,” pointing to the retail disc as merely a delivery system for the game license and code. Xbox One lets up to ten family members log in and play a shared library of games on the console, so specific family members won’t need their own game license. The system will allow trade, trade-in, and resell Xbox One games, but only if game publishers allow it.

“We designed Xbox One so game publishers can enable you to trade in your games at participating retailers. Microsoft does not charge a platform fee to retailers, publishers, or consumers for enabling transfer of these games,” says the game license page.

“Xbox One is designed so game publishers can enable you to give your disc-based games to your friends. There are no fees charged as part of these transfers. There are two requirements: you can only give them to people who have been on your friends list for at least 30 days and each game can only be given once.”

Finally, Microsoft tackles the updated Kinect, which has led to privacy concerns in some consumers. Though some games may require Kinect functionality, the peripheral can be turned off, even in the Xbox One’s standby mode.

“If you don’t want the Kinect sensor on while playing games or enjoying your entertainment, you can pause Kinect. To turn off your Xbox One, just say ‘Xbox Off.’ When the system is off, it’s only listening for the single voice command — ‘Xbox On,’ and you can even turn that feature off too,” says the Kinect portion of the site.

“You will determine how responsive and personalized your Xbox One is to you and your family during setup. The system will navigate you through key privacy options, like automatic or manual sign in, privacy settings, and clear notifications about how data is used. When Xbox One is on and you’re simply having a conversation in your living room, your conversation is not being recorded or uploaded.”

Microsoft has answered a ton of questions for consumers and the media, but those answers may not be the ones we were hoping to hear.

Discs vs. Digital – Round 3

Almost two thirds of us prefer to buy our games boxed up and on a disc over downloading them online.  Research by Ipsos Media CT – which appeared on MCV – revealed that 64% of gamers preferred to buy titles on disc over downloading a digital copy.

This is compared to only 45% of music consumers preferring discs, and perhaps surprisingly, just 51% of film buyers preferring physical copies of their purchases. Who knew that downloadable films were so popular?

So why are we still so keen on buying our games in a box? Well, Ipsos Media CT Director Ian Bramley says it’s down to trade-ins and second hand sales.

“I believe the preference for physical discs amongst next gen gamers reflects the potential value they derive from the pre-owned market, which is holding up the preference for physical – this is unlike the music and film markets,”

“Physical games discs have a long and well-established history, which is a deep mindset to change – particularly when gamers build a physical collection as they fear losing digital versions. And in-store browsing is also important to buyers.”

So, Train2Game students, as the Games Designers, Games Developers and Games Artists & Animators of the future, what form of distribution would you prefer to release your games with? Or is the format not important, with it being more a matter of getting your games out there.

As usual, feel free to leave your comments either here or on the Train2Game forum.

You can also check out blogs about both Round 1 and Round 2 of the Discs vs. Digital debate for more information and other thoughts on the issue.