Microsoft defends Xbox One game policy, says industry is in 'transition'

By Andrew Yoon, Jun 14, 2013 3:45pm PDT

Microsoft's policies on game ownership on Xbox One have not been taken very well. However, while trading and sharing retail games may be more difficult on Microsoft's next-gen console, they argue that their new digital policies "look forward" to what consumers really want.

Microsoft Studios corporate vice president Phil Spencer said that the new policies are in place because gamers are going to "end up with consoles in multiple rooms in their home over time. Not everybody, but you see that happening today." Taking a page from Netflix, the company wants you to be able to access the same library across multiple devices, no matter how many systems you have in your home.

Spencer argues that physical media has inherent flaws, pointing out that it has "some kind of shelf life" and that discs "can be scratched."

It doesn't appear that Mirosoft will turn around on their controversial policy any time soon, telling Eurogamer that "we're going through a transition; you've seen this in other mediums... As you go through a transition it's definitely true that you're not going to be able to support every single thing. But as you look forward and you think about the benefits, we asked, what are the systems we have to put in place to support these benefits, and what are the features of the existing scenario that we want to make sure we want to support?"

While Xbox One may have restrictions on physical media, it does appear their digital strategy is more generous than Sony's. Microsoft says that you can have your library work on up to 10 systems. Sony, on the other hand, allows your digital library to work on two activated systems.

"Basically what we've said is you can install the bits to the hard-drive and then you have a license for that content in the cloud for you wherever you go, regardless of what happens to the disc. That content is yours, it will roam wherever you go, it will work, and we think there are distinct advantages of you having the content that you own associated with you and your identity," Spencer argued.

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