Xbox One Family Sharing Could Return Post-Launch Says MS Exec
Written Monday, July 15, 2013 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
Having been nixed from Xbox One's feature set following the about-turn on the console's DRM and used games policy, family sharing could be reinstated for Microsoft's next-gen console should the public want it enough. The feature would have enabled users to share games with 10 designated friends or family members.
"If it's something that people are really excited about and want, we're going to make sure that we find the right way to bring it back," Xbox One Chief Product Officer Marc Whitten told IGN.
As to when the family sharing feature might return to Xbox One, Whitten couldn't pin down an exact date or window. "A 'road map' sort of implies more like 'on date X it's back' than I think exists, but we believe really strongly in how you build a great experience on Xbox One for me as an individual, but also for my family," Whitten explained. "Family Sharing is a great example of how you do that with content."
As for the reason family sharing was stripped out of Xbox One at launch following the U-turn, Whitten revealed that it's down to the engineering time that Microsoft's change of plans would demand. "We had to make room, just from a pure engineering perspective, to be able to get that [U-turn] work done," said Whitten.
"So taking Family Sharing out of the launch window was not about 'we're going to take our toys and go home' or something like that. It was just sort of the logistics of 'how do we get this very, very clear request that people really want, that choice, and how do we make sure we can do an excellent job of that, get to launch, and then be able to build a bunch of great features?'"
Whitten now believes that Microsoft is back on the right track with Xbox One however, although he feels that its communication with gamers needs improvement, and furthermore feels that the platform holder hadn't "done as good of a job" as it could getting across Xbox One's strategy.
"I think it's pretty simple. We've got to just talk more, get people understanding what our system is. The thing that's really gratifying is that people are excited about the types of features that are possible, and it's sort of shame on us that we haven't done as good of a job as we can to make people feel like that's where we're headed."
A petition calling for Xbox One's family sharing features to return has managed to reach 25,376 signatures on Change.org. Xbox One is out in November.