Xbox One second-hand games will charge a fee to play

UPDATE: Microsoft explains its fee/purchase/disc-sharing system, but remains cagey on its second-hand "solution."

Final update: Forget everything you have ever known and heard: Phil Harrison invited us back to the boardroom to explain how all of this stuff works once and for all.

Update 3: Xbox Support's Twitter has announced that there won't be a fee to share games with friends.

When asked if one could lend a game to a mate without them paying for it, Xbox Support confirmed, "You will not have to pay a *fee*. I can confirm that those reports are wrong."

This suggests that the purported "fee" is really just a game sale that you could happen to attain through a friend's disc, but you could just as well borrow a game without purchasing indefinite access to it.

Update 2: Our man on the ground Tom Bramwell was able to speak to corporate vice president of Microsoft Phil Harrison about this hot-button issue and was able to confirm that a second user can install a game from a friend's disc for a fee, though it's unclear how much this will be. Harrison also confirmed that several users sharing a console can access the same game at no additional charge, and Microsoft has "a solution" for the resale market, though it's staying mum on those for now.

The full interview regarding this issue is as follows:

EG: The big thing that everything is concerned about is the Xbox One's attitude to second-hand gaming. I really want to try to get to the bottom of this issue before we talk about anything else.

Harrison: Okay, so, I can understand where some of the confusion may have come from, so let me try to help out there. First of all, you can buy a game on a disc from a retail store, come home and install it to your Xbox One. The disc contains all the bits and data on that game, which you can then give to your friend, and they can then install it on their Xbox One. No restriction on that, except that the second person obviously has to pay for it.

You can purchase a game in two ways: you can purchase it from a retail store or you can download it. So the act of putting the bits on the hard drive - the Xbox One doesn't really know or care what method the bits got into the machine, if it was from a disc or downloaded from Xbox Live. But obviously the users will then have to purchase that content.

What I think people are now confusing is the purchasing of content in the first instance with the ability to trade and resell the previously played games. We have a solution for that and we will be announcing exactly how that works in due course.

EG: Why can't you talk about it today?

Harrison: Today is about introducing the platform and it's about introducing the big themes of what Xbox One is about as a new entertainment device that brings together games, TV and entertainment into one place. I think it's inappropriate for us to go into every avenue of tiny little detail today, but we will in due course, so...

EG: Okay. I mean, it's just funny having come from a panel where the amount of detail they were going into on the silicon and power-switching on that, to come in here and be told you can't talk about something that it sounds like you already know the answer to and would clear up a lot of people's suspicions and concerns.

Harrison: Well, let me say it again: we will have a solution that we will talk about in very short order about how previously played games can be traded between players.

EG: When you install a game on Xbox One, does it lock it to a single account on that system, and therefore if someone in your household has another account does it restrict them from playing?

Harrison: No.

EG: So they're able to play the game, Okay.

UPDATE: Microsoft has addressed the issue of Xbox One second-hand games... sort of. When asked about the possibility of trading or buying pre-owned games on the console's official FAQ, Microsoft said, "We are designing Xbox One to enable customers to trade in and resell games. We'll have more details to share later."

We're not sure what that means exactly, but we're following up with Microsoft and hope to find out more.

Elsewhere, Microsoft confirmed that your Xbox Live membership, Gamertag, Gamerscore and achievements will in fact transfer between the Xbox 360 and Xbox One, unlike the games.

When asked about if users would need a specific cable or satellite provider to watch TV through the Xbox One, Microsoft replied, "Our goal is to enable live TV through Xbox One in every way that it is delivered throughout the world, whether that's television service providers, over the air or over the Internet, or HDMI-in via a set top box (as is the case with many providers in the US). The delivery of TV is complex and we are working through the many technologies and policies around the world to make live TV available where Xbox One is available."

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Original story: Microsoft has confirmed that second-hand copies of Xbox One games will only be playable if the user pays a fee.

The console manufacturer confirmed this to Wired, where it strongly suggested that game installations would be mandatory. "On the new Xbox, all game discs are installed to the HDD to play," the Redmond-based company explained.

Because of this, each disc will be tied to a single account lest consumers simply pass a disc around and have all their friends install the game, then play it without the disc. This is why the second-hand fee is being implemented.

When asked what if a person just wanted to play a game from the disc without installing it, Microsoft didn't have a response, further suggesting that playing a game without fully installing it won't even be an option.

Elsewhere, Microsoft addressed the "always-online" rumours, stating that you'll be able to play games offline. "It does not have to be always connected, but Xbox One does require a connection to the Internet," Microsoft confusingly stated on its official site. "We're designing Xbox One to be your all-in-one entertainment system that is connected to the cloud and always ready. We are also designing it so you can play games and watch Blu-ray movies and live TV if you lose your connection."

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