Under The Right Circumstances, Xbox One’s Family Plan May Return


A recent change in policy at Microsoft pertaining to it’s upcoming Xbox One console saw a mixed reception. For the most part the change of plans benefited the everyday gamer, but some consumers were genuinely looking forward to being able to share digital licenses across consoles with Xbox One‘s Family Play feature. This is the proverbial double edged sword you face everyday when attempting to innovate and change the way people consume the media they love.

Many vocal gamers were decidedly against the all digital future of the Xbox One, but that’s not to say there weren’t firm supporters of the policies that Microsoft decided to do away with. Former Xbox boss Don Mattrick envisioned an all new, always connected social gaming experience before departing to Zynga. The benefit of Mattrick’s plan for digital media was the ability to actually share a purchased license with up to 10 other family members, something that’s by and large unheard of when it comes to software licensing.

Now Marc Whitten, Xbox One’s Chief Product Officer has stated it’s a possibility that type of functionality could make a return. Whitten was recently interviewed by IGN, and the family plan was just one of many topics covered during the Q&A. When it came to the family plan Whitten had this to say,

“If it’s something that people are really excited about and want, we’re going to make sure that we find the right way to bring it back.” 

However, with the change of plans there’d most likely be technical considerations to account for prior to the feature returning to the Xbox One, Whitten described the situation as,

 “more of an engineering reality time frame type-thing.” 

Which doesn’t sound overly confident the feature would be possible on the new used game, offline system architecture. I personally know several individuals that were excited for the shared use of digital licenses, so hopefully the engineers at Xbox can find a way for the functionality to co-exist with the compromises Microsoft has made. The Xbox brand is currently undergoing several changes that will split the hardware and OS divisions into separate, self contained silos. This fact tends to support the fact that bringing an axed feature back into the fold may be risky and time consuming.

We’ll keep our ear to the ground and update if we receive any further word on this issue. We’re you a fan of the all digital future that the Xbox One had first attempted to create, or are you relieved at the changes Microsoft has made to policy?

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Dylan Zellmer

Dylan splits time between games journalism, designing video games, and playing them. Outside of his deep involvement in the games industry, he enjoys It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Shameless, A Song of Ice and Fire, fitness, and family.
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