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.


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.

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  • reply
    June 6, 2013 4:10 PM

    John Keefer posted a new article, 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.

    • reply
      June 6, 2013 4:23 PM

      RIP gamefly's rental business

    • reply
      June 6, 2013 4:24 PM


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        June 6, 2013 4:25 PM

        I imagine they are writing the press release right now describing how they are going to

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          June 6, 2013 4:58 PM

          "We wish to free gamers from the hardship of attempting to get games back from friends in one piece, or at the very least inserted into the proper cases. For too long have gamers had to tolerate lost or ruined games that were lent out of kindness. EA has decided, graciously, to solve this problem once and for all, for you. You are no longer allowed to share EA games amongst your friends freely and to your own detriment. You're welcome."

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      June 6, 2013 4:45 PM

      I'm really on the fence about the One. I don't like it's anti consumer/ anti gamer policies. I guess that I'll wait and see how easy trade ins are at these "select retailers." I WILL NOT however support a publisher and purchase a game that doesn't allow trade ins.

      Publishers have NO RIGHT to a percentage of the secondary market. They made there money when I bought my disk and the license that comes with it. After that it's my property to do with as I please.

      I recommend that everyone that feels the way I do follow me on this one. If gamers simply lie down to get screwed then publishers will see that it's ok. Then it gets worse.

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        June 6, 2013 4:55 PM

        Note that Amazon's fairly successful eBook market uses the same system (publisher's decide whether you get to loan your eBook for up to 14 days)

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          June 6, 2013 4:59 PM

          Yes but in theory ebooks are cheaper than physical media, so that's the trade off. In theory.

          These Xbone games won't be any cheaper.

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            June 6, 2013 5:00 PM

            yeah, in practice, ebooks are rarely cheaper than the physical book. often they are significantly more expensive

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              June 6, 2013 5:08 PM

              Which is precisely why there is a DoJ investigation into the issue.

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                June 6, 2013 5:09 PM

                i hope it does turn out to be illegal collusion because ebook pricing is bullshit

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                June 6, 2013 5:35 PM

                no the price of eBooks vs their physical counterparts has nothing to do with the current DoJ trial. It's purely about the price of eBooks. The same situation being investigated is equally applicable to physical media.

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            June 6, 2013 5:01 PM

            that's not the trade off in theory, and it's not the case in practice

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        June 6, 2013 5:01 PM

        Well then you are going to be buying a lot less games I imagine, I have a pretty good feeling most major publishers will take advantage of this.

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        June 6, 2013 8:12 PM

        You can get all in a huff and make hyperbolic arguments about this, but all tis talk about "consumer hostility" and "consumer rights" is theoretical. In *reality* what happens is that the used games market means something like half of consumer spending is lost in essentially distribution cost. This is terrible for consumers and producers alike.

        Show me a single market where more that kind of overhead was better for the consumer. I can't think of any. Generally if the producer can deal directly with the consumer things get better for both parties.

        Games (and books, and movies) are different from many physical products (the facts that DVDs are physical is accidental - the value isn't in the materials or form of the object, it's in the intellectual property it grants you access to).

        It doesn't make sense to stick your head in the ground and pretend that what works great for one type of product is necessarily a good model for another kind of product.

        Point is, different kinds of products are different. You don't get in a huff that your theatre ticket is single-use, for example.

        Different products may need different models for distribution etc. Nobody gains from a model that doesn't fit the product, least of all the consumer. Inefficient markets with tons of middle men siphoning off money rarely leads to cheap products, or diversity, or progress.

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        June 6, 2013 8:38 PM

        If you truly think that the Xbox One is "anti-consumer/anti-gamer", I can't see why you'd still be considering it...

        I agree with you that publishers should support trade-ins, and I'm pretty sure they all will, but I think it's silly to say that publishers shouldn't have a right to a percentage of the secondary market. I'm not going to go into why, as it's totally debatable, but the system that currently exists is not going to be sustainable forever, and I would rather see a system that benefits all parties (i.e. the gamer, the game developer, the publisher, and the retailer) if it means that the gaming industry will continue to thrive and grow.

        If the gamer is satisfied with the price of the used game he or she is buying or the resell value of the game he or she just sold, and everyone makes a profit, then what does it matter to you if the developer or publisher makes a profit too? And why should only a retailer such as Gamestop, or even your local Mom and Pop shop, reap all the profits from a product that they had absolutely no involvement in making? Where's the fairness in that?

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      June 6, 2013 5:10 PM

      I don't have a huge problem with this AS LONG AS this means cheaper games on the outset - chances of that happening 0.0%

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        June 6, 2013 5:31 PM

        Why should it? You have been getting cheaper games in real dollars year after year for two decades even as the average cost of development has skyrocketed. I wouldn't expect cheaper games but I would expect more price variation, probably driven from the bottom up than the top down.

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        June 6, 2013 8:22 PM

        I don't think new games will get cheaper, but with no used games market to monopolize the "value segment" I'd be wiling to bet that prices will drop faster (or there will be sales, or coupons, or low-budget indie games) in order to cater too all those gamers who would love to spend tons of money, but won't do it at the $60 price point per game.

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      June 6, 2013 5:55 PM

      Looks like we'll have another generation of used games. Gamestop CEO's breathe a sigh of relief.

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      June 6, 2013 6:44 PM

      My guess is that Microsoft makes some or all of these features "Gold Only" and XBL is sure to cost more next gen. Up to $15 a month.

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      June 6, 2013 6:56 PM

      "And up to 10 family members can log in and access your shared library from other Xbox One consoles elsewhere at any time."

      So... I buy a game on my home console. It's tied to my account. I set up my brother as one of my family members and he can play the game I paid for on his console at any time.. As in, we can both be playing at the same time?

      That's quite interesting if true. I wonder what sort of checks they make on that.. Could I set up my close friends as family to share titles...

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        June 6, 2013 7:00 PM

        "Regardless, to be clear, only one family member can actually be playing the game at a time (in addition to you, of course). The others will have to wait their turn."

        From the Kotaku article.

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          June 6, 2013 8:25 PM


          Note that Tina Amini, the writer of the Kotaku article, did not quote a source or MS rep for that part of her article that she's supposedly quoting. I called her out on it in the comments, and I'm waiting to see if she actually corrects herself or provides the source or quote that confirms it. But as far as I can see, it looks like she read the official article and just interpreted it her way and ran with it. Here is the official line from the article on Xbox Wire:

          "You can always play your games, and any one of your family members can be playing from your shared library at a given time."

          Certainly, "any one of your family a given time" could be interpreted as "any ONE of your family A given time", but the article does not explicitly say this. Just pointing that out. It seems that everyone is jumping to sensationalize this whole thing, but in the process people are getting caught up in rhetoric and not checking their words or their facts, much like Mr. Keefer, who also misquoted the original article (see my direct reply below).

          I recommend to everyone that they 1) take a deep breath, 2) go and read all three articles in detail (there are links to each one on Major Nelson's website) and 3) think about what you just read before you take to the forums and embroil yourselves in arguments based on misinformation and assumptions.

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            June 6, 2013 8:42 PM

            I'm not complaining or sensationalizing anything. I really think that is a solid feature. If even one of my "family" can be playing the game at the same time as me, that's great.

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            June 6, 2013 8:56 PM

            Weird, made a reply on iPad that I can search for, but not see..

            Anyway, not trying to incite anything, I think it's a very cool feature, even if it is limited to one person at a time.

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              June 6, 2013 8:56 PM

              Sigh... and of course the other reply appears the instant I make the second reply. /facepalm

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              June 6, 2013 9:34 PM

              Sorry, I meant Ms. Amini, and other folks in general, not you. After I posted I realized you were also responding to another post, which gave me some more context as well.

              I understand that people in the forums are going to get emotional and conversations are going to get heated, but I feel like many of the sites (e.g. Kotaku, IGN) are sensationalizing everything just to get a rise out of us. Mr. Keefer simply made an error that I pointed out, but Ms. Amini made a gross assumption without backing her statement up, and that's what shocked me most...when I read your quote, I couldn't fathom how someone from Kotaku could have come to that conclusion based on the Xbox Wire article I read, and when I checked her article and realized she had not provided a source, I got pretty concerned, especially since her comment had found its way over here...

              I like it here at Shacknews....I really hope this place doesn't become another Kotaku.

              Oh, and I agree with you, even one family member in addition to myself seems pretty fair. If you want to play with four of your friends online using only one game license but on four separate consoles at once, that's asking a bit much. At least two people should buy their own damn copy of the game.

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      June 6, 2013 6:58 PM

      Anyone remember Circuit City's DiVX player fiasco? Basically, a DVD player built around studio control of the media.

      I am getting the same vibe.

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      June 6, 2013 8:01 PM

      Mr. Keefer,

      You made an error in the paragraph explaining how giving used games to friends works. Here is the original paragraph taken from Xbox Wire: "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."

      You state in your version of this paragraph that and "each game can only be shared once." As you can guess, this would be wholly impractical. The idea that MS is trying to get across here is that you can only "give away" a game to someone once.

      On a subject that is this touchy and easily lends itself to controversy, you should make sure that your information is correct.

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