Marc Whitten has today revealed an impressive new sharing structure in Microsoft’s current campaign to re-vitalize the Xbox One’s features and policies–a campaign that was set into motion with the company shifting gears on its DRM policies.
The structure is centered on sharing and is formally known as Home Gold, and expands upon the Xbox One’s previous friends-and-family sharing policies.
“Our goal is for Xbox One to be the hub for games and entertainment in your living room. It’s a future where everyone in your home has a personalized account with all the content they love front and center.
To do that, we had to think about how the system would work and thrive in one of the busiest rooms in the house that many people share. We wanted to create a system that was highly personalized but also social.
It’s about celebrating your individual tastes but also making it welcoming and easy for people to share. Here’s what that looks like.”
The new update highlights the varied elements of Home Gold while giving brief examples of the policy’s social functionality and flexibility, which point to some exciting features for Xbox One gamers:
“Everyone in your home can share digital games with each other. Your Xbox One can become your virtual game library filled with digital games that different people in the home bought.
“Anyone can pick any digital game on your Xbox One, sign in with their own gamertag and play – even if the owner is not signed in.”
Essentially with Home Gold, the Xbox One console becomes a central hub for gaming, apps and media, allowing Xbox LIVE subscribers to share the benefits of a Gold sub with their friends–along with their digital games and apps.
“Sharing digital games is a great feature of Xbox One, and we’re also making it possible for Xbox Live Gold members to share some of the best benefits of Gold.”
Home Gold gives gamers access to subscriber-only gaming features including online multiplayer matches enhanced with the new SmartMatch integration, and even gives users access to the Xbox One’s Game DVR to capture their play sessions and upload them to their friends with Studio Upload.
Access to entertainment apps such as Skype and Internet Explorer will also be available, but Achievements that are earned by another user will not be applied to the owner’s account; you’ll still have to be signed in with the appropriate gamertag to earn ‘chievos.
In a recent interview with Polygon, Marc Whitten talks more about Home Gold’s sharing features:
“So how it works is, on your console, anybody else on the console–whether it’s a babysitter that’s come over or a friend or your family–can participate in all the experiences like they’re on Gold,” Whitten began.
“It’s with their gamertag so they’re not on your gamertag, you don’t even have to be there, they’re not messing up your gamerscore or your storage or your queues or anything like that.
“It’s their full account experience, but it really gets to take full advantage of many of the Gold features.”
Additionally the update reveals that gamers can sign in with their Xbox LIVE Gold account on a friend’s Xbox One and get access to all of the benefits of the subscription–online multiplayer, entertainment apps, etc.–even if their friend isn’t a Gold subscriber. In this instance, gamers can also share their Gold sub to give their non-Gold friends access to content even if they aren’t the owner of the console–a pretty snazzy feature.
While Microsoft has shed light on this new dynamic sharing feature for the Xbox One, it will be interesting to see how well it pans out when practically implemented when the console is released.
The company assuredly has gone lengths to redeem their next-gen console’s public image, and this new Home Gold structure will no-doubt reinforce their campaign–however there are some instances that seem a bit too good to be true.
In any case, the advantages of sharing your digital games and Xbox LIVE Gold subscription with friends and family are quite clear, and it will be interesting to see how (and if) Sony responds to Home Gold. There are likely to be snags and various limitations within Home Gold, which may be revealed over the course of time–such as hidden fees and whatnot.
Be sure to check out the original update on the Xbox Wire news site for a full run-down of all of the highlights and features–many of which seem to contradict Microsoft’s overall stance in the gaming world (an image they are trying to refine, however, and this structure may prove to be advantageous if it’s implemented properly).
The Xbox One is slated for a release sometime in November 2013 for a $499 price point. For more information or to pre-order your very own Day One edition, please visit the console’s official website.