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Microsoft answers some of the most asked questions about the Xbox One: Used games, always-on, and privacy

Xbox One Kinect
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Many questions dogged the Xbox One out of its May 21 reveal, questions that Microsoft continued to be cagey about answering directly… until now. A new post from Major Nelson points to three separate Xbox.com links, each of which runs through some of the more misunderstood policies that were hinted at when news of the console first hit.

Used, Borrowed, and Remote Play

How Games Licensing Works On The Xbox One” runs through the details on used games, borrowed games, remotely played games, and the like. It seems that the decision over allowing used games to be traded in is being left in the publishers’ hands – “publishers can enable you to trade your games in at participating retailers,” the site reads – and there is no fee charged to “retailers, publishers, or consumers” to activate used games.

What’s more, publishers also have the ability to “enable you to give your disc-based games to your friends” with no fee attached. This doesn’t work for lending out games, it seems, as each game can only be given once. It’s unclear if the game would then remain locked to your friend’s account, or if you could transfer it back once they are done. The only catch is that the friend receiving the game must have been on your friend list for at least 30 days.

Online Connectivity

Xbox One: A Modern, Connected Device” describes the console’s online connectivity needs. The console isn’t always-online, but it does require access to the Internet at least once every 24 hours when using digital content on your home console, and once every hour when using the same content remotely. Offline gaming isn’t possible once these windows expire, but you can still watch Blu-ray/DVDs and live TV. The page also recommends a minimum broadband connection speed of 1.5Mbps.

Privacy and the Kinect

The final page, “Privacy by Design: How Xbox One and the New Kinect Sensor Put You in Control,” describes the role of the Kinect and other privacy controls on the new console. The page states that “you are in control of what Kinect can see and hear,” with the details of how this work being defined by the way you set your privacy options. The sensor can be “paused” if you don’t want to use it while the console is running, but it seems that it will indeed have to always be plugged in.

Kinect only listens for a single commend – “Xbox On” – when the console is off, and it doesn’t record or uploaded any of what it’s picking up unless that happens to be a feature of the software that you are currently using. This won’t come as much of a consolation to those who would prefer to skip Kinect entirely and keep it unplugged – that doesn’t seem to be an option – but it does clear up some of the previously murky answers that the May 21 reveal left hanging.

There’s plenty more info to be gleaned from the Microsoft updates. If you’re curious about the console at all, we recommend that you take a close look at what’s posted at each link before forming any opinions. We’ll certainly be hearing more when E3 week for 2013 kicks off with Microsoft’s press conference, but the new details go a long way toward addressing those unanswered questions.

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Adam Rosenberg
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Previously, Adam worked in the games press as a freelance writer and critic for a range of outlets, including Digital Trends…
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