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Xbox One Follow-up: Always-on, Achievements & Used Games

Posted on May 22, 2013 9:30 AM by Rob Williams
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With the dust having settled from yesterday’s launch of Microsoft’s Xbox One, I thought I’d follow up on our initial post to talk about a couple of other things that didn’t immediately catch our eye; three in particular. These include some findings regarding persistent connection, how achievements work, and also whether or not selling used games would be possible.

Let’s take it from the top: Will Xbox One require an Internet connection to use? This was a hot topic in the months leading up to the console’s unveiling, with many fearing the worst – and for good reason. Look no further than Diablo III or SimCity for that. Thanks to a memo leaked to Ars Technica earlier this month, it seemed likely that we were all worried for nothing… but perhaps we still should have remained cautious.

After the unveiling, the folks at Kotaku approached Microsoft exec Phil Harrison to ask him about the Xbox One’s Internet requirements, as the official press site makes mention that, “it does not have to be always connected, but Xbox One does require a connection to the Internet” A little confusing, isn’t it?

Microsoft Xbox One

I’ll skip quoting the entire conversation, but Harrison goes on to mention that he believes that the console has a requirement to connect to the Internet once every 24 hours. If he’s correct, and we have little reason to believe otherwise, that means that those on military bases – or heck, people simply away from home – could have a potentially ruined evening simply because they aren’t able to let their console phone home.

Some might scoff at the idea of not being able to connect to the Internet at least once per day, but there are a billion scenarios where that might not be possible. I gave two above, but others could include your ISP router dying, moving and not having Internet hooked up right away (I say this as someone who at the start of the month put up with this), and so forth. Sure – some of these situations are rare, but does it matter? If people own the console and are holding a game in their hand, they should be able to play it wherever they are. “But Steam requires an Internet connection also.” Yes, yes it does – but it shouldn’t.

Geez, let’s get onto a happier subject. Achievements, love ‘em or hate ‘em, we can thank the Xbox 360 for making them popular. It’s no surprise, then, that the Xbox One is going to not only include them, but improve upon them. Although Microsoft is a bit cryptic at the moment, it seems like we might be able to earn achievements for things that have nothing to do with gaming, and should a developer choose to, more achievements can be added to a game as time passes (not just with DLC).

Xbox One Achievements

As seen in the above image, it looks like we might finally be able to see some percentages of everyone who’s played a certain game that has a specific achievement – something Steam, Raptr and I’m sure others have been able to do for a while.

Another nice related feature ties into the console’s DVR functionality. Here, the console has the capability to record your achievement as you get it, so that you could later use the footage to watch or to use in a walkthrough (YouTubers are going to love this).

Another subject that stood out after the unveiling regards used games – would it be possible? As it turns out, it is. When Kotaku talked to Phil Harrison about the persistent connection issue, they also asked him about used game sales. While details don’t seem to be finalized, it seems that once a game is sold and activated on a different console, it gets deactivated on yours (this is no doubt one of the major reasons behind the requirement to sign in once per day). This is fantastic, and something that Steam and other digital gaming platforms should have.

But not all is ideal. Has Juan won so many Halo 5 runs on his One, he can’t be outdone? Could he now loan the game to a friend? If he thinks so, he must have a screw loose, as it’s obvious that the Xbox Live account that the game is tied to would have to be logged into for access. While said friend would be able to install the game to their Xbox One, the console would ask them to purchase it before they could gain access to it. 

So let’s recap. The Xbox One can’t play Xbox 360 games, isn’t nearly as focused on gaming as the Xbox 360 was, requires an Internet connection at least once per day, prohibits you from loaning your games out, has a non-removable hard drive (something we haven’t talked about, but is self-explanatory), it looks like a VCR, and… am I forgetting something? I admit that I like a lot of what Xbox One offers, but damn, some of this is hard to ignore.


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