Today, just before E3 begins, Microsoft have clarified a few of the more... controversial features of the Xbox One. Below is what Microsoft said with regards to different features of their new console:Online Requirements
When talking about the online side of the Xbox One, Microsoft said "Xbox One is designed to run in a low-powered, connected state. This means your system, games and apps are always current and ready to play—no more waiting for updates. While a persistent connection is not required, Xbox One is designed to verify if system, application or game updates are needed and to see if you have acquired new games, or resold, traded in, or given your game to a friend. Games that are designed to take advantage of the cloud may require a connection."
More crucially, Micorsoft confirmed that there would be a need to connect your next-generation console to the Internet every 24 hours, as previously suggested. "With Xbox One you can game offline for up to 24 hours on your primary console, or one hour if you are logged on to a separate console accessing your library. Offline gaming is not possible after these prescribed times until you re-establish a connection, but you can still watch live TV and enjoy Blu-ray and DVD movies."
So it would appear that, although Xbox One is not "always online", it does need to be online at least once a day if you want to play games.
One of the major problems for many regarding the Xbox One was the fact it would make you pay an additional fee if you wished to buy games pre-owned. But it doesn't seem quite that clear-cut:
"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. 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. We designed Xbox One so game publishers can enable you to trade in your games at participating retailers. Microsoft does not charge a platform fee to retailers, publishers, or consumers for enabling transfer of these games.”
In addition, Microsoft explained that "your friends and family, your guests and acquaintances get unlimited access to all of your games. Anyone can play your games on your console--regardless of whether you are logged in or their relationship to you." However, although you can "gift" games to friends, they can't borrow them in the conventional sense, as "loaning or renting games won’t be available at launch, but we are exploring the possibilities with our partners." So if you want to do a lot of sharing of your new Xbox One games, you may just have to wait a little while yet.
Fortunately, it doesn't look as though the humble game disc won't be going anywhere soon with the Xbox One. According to Microsoft "you’ll be able to buy disc-based games at traditional retailers or online through Xbox Live, on day of release. Discs will continue to be a great way to install your games quickly."
Another interesting feature is that you'll be able to access your library of games from another console. "After signing in and installing, you can play any of your games from any Xbox One because a digital copy of your game is stored on your console and in the cloud. So, for example, while you are logged in at your friend’s house, you can play your games." So although you can't let someone else borrow your games, you can at least play them elsewhere it would seem.
But perhaps the biggest issue for many- including myself- was the fact that Kinect would be connected at all times to the Xbox One, potentially watching and listening at all times. Fortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case:
"At Microsoft, we prioritize your privacy. We understand that your personal data and privacy are important. Xbox One and Kinect will provide tools to put you in control of your data. You are in control of what Kinect can see and hear. By design, you will determine how responsive and personalized your Xbox One is to you and your family during setup. The system will navigate you through key privacy options, like automatic or manual sign in, privacy settings, and clear notifications about how data is used. When Xbox One is on and you’re simply having a conversation in your living room, your conversation is not being recorded or uploaded." Microsoft also stressed that "you can play games or enjoy applications that use data, such as videos, photos, facial expressions, heart rate and more, but this data will not leave your Xbox One without your explicit permission." So that's one less thing to worry about, I suppose.
More information about Microsoft's new system will surely be revealed at E3, which begins in 3 days. However, you can get the latest on the Xbox One at the official site.