Phil Spencer on Xbox One DRM: No Limits on Defining Who is in Your “Family Unit” (UPDATED)

Phil Spencer on Xbox One DRM: No Limits on Defining Who is in Your “Family Unit” (UPDATED)

Update: With the new policies officially announced today the game sharing feature described below is just as officially (and unfortunately) scrapped. You’ll still be able to share games with your family and friends, but you’ll just have to give them the disk, exactly as it’ll work on PS4 and as it works today on the Xbox 360.

Microsoft Studios Vice President Phil Spencer may have scored the first real point in the battle to persuade some of us of the validity of the Xbox One DRM policies, confirming a very interesting and important detail on the (until now) mysterious “family sharing” function of the upcoming console in an interview on Kotaku.

The interviewer Stephen Totilo asked a rather pointed question: “Can we be in the same family?” The answer was clear cut and surprising:


Totilo prssed on: “What would be the limitation on that?” Spencer encouraged him to check the policy published by Microsoft and continued:

I do think that sharing in a family group is an important part of the positives in our ecosystem today…You don’t have to send in your birth certificate. You define what a family unit is and the people who connect to you and how that library works.

The “Family Sharing” option allows ten members of a “family unit” to freely share their game library anywhere they are, even across different Xbox One consoles. here’s the relevant paragraph from the official policy:

Xbox One will enable new forms of access for families. Up to ten members of your family can log in and play from your shared games library on any Xbox One. Just like today, a family member can play your copy of Forza Motorsport at a friend’s house. Only now, they will see not just Forza, but all of your shared games.  You can always play your games, and any one of your family members can be playing from your shared library at a given time.

The only detail that remains somehow unexplained is how the system will handle people happening to appear in multiple “families”, or if being registered in multiple “family units” will be even possible. We reached out to Microsoft to ask for a clarification on this issue, and we’ll keep you posted if we receive anything relevant.

So, who wants to adopt me in his family?