Xbox OneEighty

Ok, so this title has been a bit overused in recent months, but it’s quite fitting. Anyone who spent time on the Internet during this past E3 knows that the subject of next-gen consoles is a bit sensitive. Mostly it all revolved around several steps Microsoft was taking with their upcoming Xbox One that sounded (and actually were) extreme. Well, it’s been two months since the game conferences of E3 and the story of the X1 has changed quite a bit. I know that not everyone here has the time or inclination to follow every piece of news about the games industry, so I’ve put together this helpful list of policies MS has changed up since the last big game conference.


The X1 will require an internet connection once every 24-hours in order to function. The authorization check-in is measurable in kilobytes, but the lack of a connection will render the game/stream functionality of the console useless until a connection is made. While this allowed MS to introduce a new, interesting digital sharing plan, it also meant that users without an internet connection at all would be unable to use the console.

XBOX 180
The X1 no longer requires the internet in order to function regularly. The console WILL require an initial connection to the internet for a patch to disable the feature and add last-minute updates. After that patch is downloaded and installed, the console will never need to connect to the Internet to function again.

As physical games are treated as digital purchases and added to your permanent account, the ability to sell your game to another party is up to the developer of the game. If a developer so chooses, any physical game you purchase cannot be resold. If a developer so chooses, any physical games you purchase can be resold just like now. The developer can decide what route to take.

XBOX 180
With the X1 no longer needing an internet check-in, physical games are no longer treated as digital purchases. This means that you can resell or gift your physical discs just like you can on current systems. There is no longer a restriction on used games, whether decided by MS of third parties.

Current-gen headsets will not work with the X1. The X1 is switching from an analog port to a new digital port that delivers better quality sound in addition to stereo chat capabilities (for directional detection).

XBOX 180
MS announced that they are in fact working on an adapter for current-gen headsets to be used with the new X1 controller. While the expected cost of the adapter won’t mean much for those with the stock 360 headset, for those with expensive headsets (like my $350 Trittons), this reversal is a Godsend. For those using the headset that came with the 360…

The X1 will not ship with a headset. Users will instead use the new Kinect for their chatting needs. While the new Kinect’s voice detection is quite amazing (all audio processing is done on a separate chip so the Kinect knows exactly what sound to cancel out), it does not address the issue of users needing to sort out the voice chat from the rest of the game’s sound coming through their speakers. If gamers want, they can purchase a basic headset for $24.99 on launch day.

XBOX 180
Every X1 will ship with the $24.99 headset in the box at no additional fee. The headset is still available for separate purchase, but users are no longer required to spend more money to use one.

The X1 will not function without the Kinect being plugged in. Users have the ability to disable functionality of the Kinect in their settings (and even go so far as to turn the sensor off), but the sensor must still be plugged in for the system to work.

The X1 will function without the Kinect being plugged in. If users want, the X1 can function completely without the Kinect. Of course, features like voice commands and motion gestures will still require the Kinect to work. This also means that some games will be unplayable without the Kinect, however those games can be avoided. Users who do want to plug their sensor in will have a very detailed options list for what the Kinect can do. Users can set the Kinect to only detect the “Xbox On” command and sign into their accounts, or whatever combination they choose.

(Technically not a policy as MS never confirmed the policy when it was supposedly leaked)
Developers who want their games on the Xbox Digital Marketplace will still need a publisher to be sold. Independent developers will need to partner with Microsoft Studios or another publisher in order for their game to appear in the marketplace. Patches for games will still cost several thousand dollars to go through the MS certification process.

XBOX 180
(Technically not a 180 as MS never confirmed the policy when it was supposedly leaked)
MS stopped charging for update certification back in late March. All updates are free for all developers. While the X1 will not support self-publishing at launch, MS will enable it within the console’s first year. Independent developers will no longer need to partner with a publisher in order to sell their games on the X1 Marketplace. Self-publishing for the Xbox 360 will be enabled by September of this year.
Also, every X1 console has the ability to be turned into a devkit for developers. Instead of spending thousands of dollars to buy a single devkit, developers will only need $500 for an X1 console and a phone call to MS to have a working devkit to test their games on.

So those are the reversals announced so far. For those of you who were turned off by these former policies, does MS’s reversal change your mind any? Are you willing to come back, or is it too late for you?

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