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Microsoft Clarify Xbox One Privacy, Connectivity and DRM Issues

by on June 7, 2013

Microsoft have released three documents clarifying how their next-gen console Xbox One will work.

Statements on the Xbox website talk about the console’s connectivity to the web, it’s privacy in regard to the new Kinect and how games licensing will work.

They confirm that your console will have to be connected to the web once every 24 hours in order to play games, with the device having to be connected once ever hour if you are signed in on another console.

Xbox One will also not charge for using traded-in games. However, and this is the crucial part, whether you can trade in your games will be at the discretion of games publishers.

The release of these statements comes in the build-up to E3, which takes place in Los Angeles next week, and also with the news that Microsoft executives won’t be talking to the press at the event.

Whether this is to avoid the confusion that surrounded the Xbox One’s reveal or to avoid questions regarding the now clarified state of the console remains to be seen.

Regarding game licensing there were some positives. Your entire catalogue of Xbox One games will be available to anyone playing your console, and will be available on other devices when you or someone you know signs in with your account on a different console.

This is because “a digital copy of your game is stored on your console and in the cloud”, so says the official statement.

If you want to lend a friend a disc copy of your game, this is what Microsoft say:

“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.”

Regarding connectivity there are concerns, especially with Microsoft’s rather ignorant declaration that “every Xbox One owner has a broadband connection”.

The rest of that statement makes several mentions of “the cloud”, which behind the layers of BS is little more than a way for developers to offset parts of their game and make up for the console’s lack of power compared to the PS4 and obviously PCs.

They also confirm what has long been suspected, that all Xbox One releases will be available physically and digitally on the same day.

Finally there’s the Kinect. While it would have to be always listening for it to be able to turn on the console at your vocal request the very fact that it is “always listening” is a natural concern for many.

Microsoft have attempted to remedy these worries saying that while the console is off the Kinect device will only ever be listening out for the “Xbox On” command, and that even this feature can be switched off.

Front and centre of their privacy statement however are promises that the gamer will be in control, with the Kinect able to be on, off or paused.  The statement reads:

“By design, 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. “

Whether information gathered by the camera will leave the console will apparently be made clear – the examples of readings may be used were in a fitness game that reads your heart rate and a card game in which you can bluff over video chat.

Clarification was greatly needed and to Microsoft’s credit they have delivered it as clearly as possible following the calamitous reveal last month. There are still concerns however about the console – specifically regarding it’s online functionality and its DRM features which appear to be catering to publishers first and foremost, rather than consumers.

What do you make of the Xbox One now its features have been made clearer? Let us know below…

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