When the Xbox One was first introduced, the Family Sharing feature was one of the very positive ideas that many regret not having made it to the released console, but Xbox Division head Phil Spencer promises that it’s still on the roadmap, alongside others like digital pre-load.
We looked at the digital features that we talked about last year, and yeah, as a gamer there are a lot of those features that really resonated. They were smart features for people who have a lot of games and maybe play on a couple consoles and have a bunch of people in the house and want to share with friends. As I look at our monthly update roadmaps and other things, those kind of features are in our roadmap.
Spencer also explained that while the features are still being worked on, there are objective challenges that need to be overcome before they can see the light.
There’s a little bit of a challenge that you have DRM on the disk and how does that game play… We got hung up last year on kinda the enabling features, around when it has to connect to the internet and all of that, when in the end the feature that we really cared about, that people are like “I’ve got this collection of content that I can do family sharing, I can share with my friends…” There are a bunch of things we have ideas about. I haven’t given up on those ideas. There is some complexity now that you’ve got disks around that, you have DRM that you have to figure out, but it’s definitely part of our map with the overall product.
During the same podcast it was suggested that it could be done only with digital games, but Spencer mentioned that it wouldn’t be fair to those that bought the disk without knowing they wouldn’t benefit from the feature in the future. That’s why he want to be sure that the feature is done the right way. He also added that Microsoft is still looking at digital distribution improvements like pre-load. They just want to do it “at the right time and especially in the right way.”
If Family Sharing was one of your favorite dishes in the original Xbox One menu, there’s still hope. We’ll just have to wait and see if Spencer and his team will manage to overcome the DRM challenges that are holding the feature back.