Questions about the Xbox One’s DRM
I’m really confused about this stuff.
“Another piece of clarification around playing games at a friend’s house – 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,” Microsoft’s Major Nelson posted on his site.
So you can play your games on another system, but you must use your account. This is good news for households with multiple systems, or people who like to game with their friends. It also means you can’t “loan” a game to a friend anymore, as you’d have to give them access to your entire account. That’s not an appealing option for people who play often; giving up your entire account so a friend can borrow Tomb Raider isn’t the best solution to this problem.
So consider a sample scenario: my wife and I have two Xbox Ones, and we each have our own profile (because we each have our own save games, our own settings, our own gamer score, our own friends list, etc). I buy Forza 5 and install it on the living room Xbox One. I can play it on there, and my wife can too because the game is locked to that console.
I can also play Forza 5 on the office Xbox One, even though it’s not the console it was originally used with, because I am still signed in as me and I am allowed to play Forza. But I believe my wife cannot, because the content isn’t licensed to the console or to the account in use.
This is exactly how existing Xbox DRM for digital titles works — it’s licensed for all users on the console it’s bought on, and on all consoles for the profile it’s bought with. What’s new about Xbox One is that this also applies to disc releases. Previously, of course, the game would work in any console you put the disc in — the presence of the physical disc was the DRM, in effect.
If the upstairs console will allow my wife to play Forza 5 (perhaps because my account is installed on it but inactive?), how is that any different to the scenario Harrison outlines where I visit a friend’s house? He explicitly states that in that scenario the game only works under my account, not my friend’s. So I don’t see any way in which my wife can play Forza 5 on our office Xbox. This is a regression compared to the Xbox 360; she can play Forza 4 on either Xbox we own, simply by carrying the disc to the system of her choice.
This also affects families with kids who have more than one Xbox One in each of their bedrooms. They won’t be able to move games between consoles. And yet Microsoft are peddling the line that this isn’t substantially different from how the Xbox 360 works. Either Microsoft is lying, or I’m missing something.