Microsoft has stepped forth saying that it hasn't forgotten its original intentions of being strictly focused on digital gaming and that loaning/gifting out downloaded titles is still a possibility.
According to Gamespot, Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft Studios, has said that digital gaming will be a focus going forward for the Xbox One. This includes improved and expanded digital marketplace functionality, which could possibly include the ability to loan out downloaded titles to your friends temporarily or give them out entirely as a gift. At the Game Developers Conference, Spencer has reiterated the intentions of the Xbox One's focus on digitally downloading full titles and offering more incentives to this area of the marketplace.
"We are now fully heads down on thinking about and building out the future of our digital marketplace to enable what people would expect, and hopefully some things that will delight them beyond their expectations," Spencer said.
Spencer believes that his company can uphold doing amicable, ongoing business with physical retail stores while being able to concurrently build upon the digital marketplace. Expanding the digital market would be done through offering a variety of incentives and other abilities that would reflect the things you should be able to do with a physical copy of a game, such as letting someone else borrow one of your digital titles and being able to play it at their own leisure.
"We believe in a digital future on our box. On the digital space, and the things that we've talked about, what that opens up... like we understand what games you own and who you are and how you move around and who you might want to loan rights to your games or gift your games to," Spencer said. "We totally believe in that future. And any other marketplace you play in, these kind of mechanisms are out there."
While Valve's Steam marketplace allows its users to share titles among a player's family and also lets players buy out games and send them to friends as gifts, this seems to be a likely future for the Xbox One's digital experience. Before Microsoft reversed many of its controversial Xbox One policies this past Summer, it originally intended to include family sharing for their new system. This program would have let players share their titles with up to 10 others on their friends list.
At GDC, Spencer admitted that some of the original Xbox One announcements made about the system last May, which were reversed less than a month and a half later after E3, still hold up given the current state of the overall market. Spencer reflected upon Microsoft's announcements by saying that they should have been more direct than trying to sugar-coat something to the gaming masses they do not like. If they would have fully explored why they did what they did in a more public manner, the current Xbox One would have been more inline with its original design.
Also, the way Sony publicly parodied and ridiculed the Xbox One's policies only deferred from the effectiveness of Microsoft's original intentions and helped propel the PlayStation 4 as being regarded as the definitive next-gen system. Nevertheless, we can't wait to see what the future has in store for Microsoft's digital marketplace.