Xbox One will let publishers decide on resale and sharing of games

Microsoft is apparently throwing ball back into the court of third-party game publishers when it comes to the resale and sharing of their Xbox One games. Microsoft is going on record that they will allow you to do it with their games at participating retailers with no fee.

"In our role as a game publisher, Microsoft Studios will enable you to give your games to friends or trade in your Xbox One games at participating retailers," the company said on the official Xbox One site. "Third party publishers may opt in or out of supporting game resale and may set up business terms or transfer fees with retailers. Microsoft does not receive any compensation as part of this. In addition, third party publishers can enable you to give games to friends."

So game publishers will be involved in whether you can sell your games back to a participating retailer, which will probably mean they get a cut of the resale pie.

As for sharing with friends, "game publishers can enable you to give your disc-based games to your friends." So the publishers again must approve. The key here is that the person you share the game with must have been on your friends list for 30 days, and each game can only be shared once.

Of course, it isn't clear if sharing "once" means you can give it to a friend, then he can give it to another friend and so on, or if sharing a second time means the game is actually removed from your library.

Either way, loaning or renting games won't be available when the Xbox One launches later this year, but Microsoft said it is "exploring the possibilities with our partners."

As for your own personal library, friends and family can access all your games off your console at any time. You don't have to be logged in. And up to 10 family members can log in and access your shared library from other Xbox One consoles elsewhere at any time.

Microsoft is getting this out there with the proviso that it "may change its policies, terms, products and services to reflect modifications and improvements to our services, feedback from customers and our business partners or changes in our business priorities and business models or for other reasons. We may also cease to offer certain services or products for similar reasons." So this could change next week, but at least we have a little more definition.