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Microsoft lays down law on Xbox One used game policy

Microsoft has laid out the licensing framework for new and used games on its upcoming Xbox One console.

In a post on its Xbox news site, the software giant laid out its "platform policies and capabilities for game licensing," which include the right of purchasers of physical discs to resell them through retailers without being charged a platform fee.

The relevant passage should go some way towards satisfying gamers who have been worried about Microsoft's heretofore murky stance on the sale and transfer of used games for the Xbox One.

"Today, some gamers choose to sell their old disc-based games back for cash and credit. We designed Xbox One so game publishers can enable you to trade in your games at participating retailers. Microsoft does not charge a platform fee to retailers, publishers, or consumers for enabling transfer of these games."

But Microsoft also said that game publishers themselves would be able to disallow reselling of their games if they so choose.

"In our role as a game publisher, Microsoft Studios will enable you to give your games to friends or trade in your Xbox One games at participating retailers. Third-party publishers may opt in or out of supporting game resale and may set up business terms or transfer fees with retailers. Microsoft does not receive any compensation as part of this. In addition, third-party publishers can enable you to give games to friends. Loaning or renting games won't be available at launch, but we are exploring the possibilities with our partners."

Xbox One owners will also be able to give games they've purchased to friends and share access to games they've purchased with others, according to Microsoft. As the company previously revealed, games for the Xbox One will be made available both in physical disc form and as downloadable files accessible through Microsoft's Xbox Live store.

Both physical and digital copies of purchased games will be automatically stored for Xbox One users, locally on the console itself and in the cloud, Microsoft said.

Gamers will be able to acquire physical or digital copies of new games on the day of their release. Microsoft notes that some consumers will opt for physical discs as "a great way to install games quickly," an acknowledgement, perhaps, that the time it takes to download digital copies of games may be quite lengthy.

Naturally, any games installed on an Xbox One will be playable by anyone given access to the console by its owner. However, Xbox One owners will also be able to access any games they own on any other Xbox One they log onto, Microsoft said.

What's more, Xbox One owners will be able to give that same console-neutral full game library to up to ten family members. Microsoft said this service won't be disrupted if family members are playing shared games concurrently on different consoles.

Microsoft also reserved the right to change up its licensing policy at any time, concluding:

"As we move into this new generation of games and entertainment, from time to time, Microsoft may change its policies, terms, products and services to reflect modifications and improvements to our services, feedback from customers and our business partners or changes in our business priorities and business models or for other reasons. We may also cease to offer certain services or products for similar reasons."