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Xbox One games will require internet 'spot checks', but Microsoft won't charge to authenticate used games

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xbox one controller
xbox one controller

Does the Xbox One actually require an internet connection? Will used game buyers or sellers have to pay an extra fee? Microsoft hasn't made it clear, but a report at Polygon now claims that the answers are "yes" and "no" respectively. According to the publication's sources, Xbox One games will phone home to Microsoft servers on a regular basis to verify that their users own the games. If you buy a used title, however, Polygon claims that you won't have to pay Microsoft for a fresh license to the game.

Simply popping in the game disc and installing it will reportedly establish lawful ownership as far as Microsoft's servers are concerned. When you install the game on your Xbox One, you'll be deauthenticating it on the previous owner's account, according to Polygon.

Despite Microsoft's recent attempts to walk back the discussion about the requirement for an internet connection and how the Xbox One will deal with used games, Polygon's report more or less fits with what Microsoft exec Phil Harrison already told reporters at the show. He suggested that the Xbox One would phone home once every 24 hours to make sure games were being played by their owners, and that friends could play a game for free as long as an authenticated owner was logged in with their account. Polygon's sources say the authentication might possibly be waived for certain groups that might have extreme difficulty authenticating, like active military personnel.

Questions linger

The recent confusion might stem from what Harrison said next: he told publications that if you left a game installed on a friend's Xbox One, that friend could only play the game if he paid Microsoft for a fresh license. That could still be correct: it'd be the same as buying a downloadable tile, only you don't need to download the game. But if so, it sounds like used game purchases wouldn't work the same way, and it's not clear how Microsoft will differentiate between a disc you let a friend borrow and one you resell. We're also still curious how (or if) the company will make money on used games if it's not charging buyers or sellers.