Here’s How That Whole “Game Fee” Works On Xbox One

Overnight there was considerable confusion, backtracking and badly managed PR from Microsoft, fresh after revealing its brand new Xbox One console. The main source of confusion revolved around whether or not you could lend or sell on Xbox One game disks, something glossed over until after the show, when Microsoft execs were let loose among the press.

Whilst Sony’s carefully managed, carefully selected post-show resulted in a little vagueness, it was nothing compared to the hugely negative PR Microsoft attracted last night.

But the facts seem to be that you can trade-in Xbox One games, but there’s a price to pay for whoever picks up that game, and that price appears to be the full price of the game. Yep, whilst it’s technically possible to sell on your bought games, chances are there won’t be a retailer out there that’ll let you, because nobody will buy them off them.

Here’s how it works, from what I can gather.

When you buy a game for the Xbox One, you’ll need to install it. This is a requirement, and there’s no getting around it. If you then play the game with the disk in, all will be fine. If you want to play the game without the disk in, the console will ping Xbox Live and ensure that you’re the registered owner. It’ll do this once every twenty four hours, as a minimum.

The game will play on that registered console for any user of that console, locally.

If you then lend or sell on that game, or take it around to a friends’ house, only your profile will be allowed to play on it. It’ll run (with the disk in, of course) and you (and only you) can play it. If anyone else wants to play it, they’ll need to pay a fee which – according to Phil Harrison – is the full cost of the game. Once that fee is paid, everyone on the console can use it, as before.

That twenty-four hour thing works back the other way too, with Xbox Live constantly checking which console you’re logging into to ensure that the licenses are always up to date. Basically it seems that if you have the disk and you’re the one supposed to be using it you can use that disk anywhere, but you’ll need to ensure that the original console is also connected to Live on a regular basis (with your credentials) or you’ll get locked out after a day.

This obviously stops you lending a game to someone and them signing out of Live to play it indefinitely – after 24 hours it simply won’t work: they either pay the full fee or it just locks.

Is that right? I think so.



  1. So in addition to this (frankly odd) system, you have to install EVERY game? So you’ll have to wait a while before you can play your new games (waiting for the install), and you’ll quickly fill your hard drive?

    • But at least this once in a 24-hour period check isn’t needed if you have the game disc and are somewhere where there is no internet connection.

      • No. As far as I can tell it still needs to check if you are the current license holder every 24 hours. It’s unnecessarily complicated for the sake of DRM.

      • Oh blimey that’s not how I read it:

        “When you buy a game for the Xbox One, you’ll need to install it. This is a requirement, and there’s no getting around it. If you then play the game with the disk in, all will be fine. If you want to play the game without the disk in, the console will ping Xbox Live and ensure that you’re the registered owner”

      • Hmm… They should really make that clear. I’m not sure anymore. :P

      • Not that it matters much, I won’t be buying the XBoxOne! ;)

      • So you’ve paid full price for the game, then let a mate borrow it for a couple of weeks (they also pay the full price) then you want it back… …they probably charge you again… ..right?

    • And you can’t even lend games to friends – they have to try them on your profiles, on their XBox effectively? At least we know why it’s called XBoxOne then!
      Sorry for all the posts – had to read everything about 10 times to understand it. :/

    • You’ll be able to play while games are installing from disc, but other than that, yup.

    • It’s like you’ve never used a PS3 :)

      • I love the Xbox 360 and seeing this so called Xbox one gaming console. It’s bullshit. And just so you all know. These devices have to be online all the time and voice activated software cause the government is listing to people with these new consoles. Why do you think all these companies are making new consoles out of the blue pretty much. If you don’t believe me look it up. But as a gamer this is pure BULLSHIT MICROSOFT. Xbox 360 will be the only console I buy and play. Fuck Xbox one

    • Here’s what I have to say. Why fix something that isn’t broken. The 360 is amazing gaming console. This is pure bullshit. Are they still going to make 360 games? It’s bullshit. Millions upon millions play and now they are putting the 360 in a grave it seems like. As a gamer I’m pissed. I didn’t ask for a new console so why build one. I will not touch this garbage bullshit TiVo cable box non sense fuck you Microsoft.

      • Are you Jboo’s evil twin?

      • Can we just ban this name please?

      • Are you saying they’re listening to me?

  2. So that means no preowned? I think. Which means no chance for me. 95% of my games are preowned. Only possibility of me ever getting one of these is if they offer ps plus service so I don’t need to ever buy a game (as is now the case with PS3). Half o me thinks its amusing how bad Xbox One looks to be but the other half is angry. End of the day I like gaming and this machine looks like its anti-gaming.

  3. That doesn’t make any sense, whatsoever. If you have the disc and it installs but you don’t have it connected to the internet you can then use the game on as many consoles as you like as long as you don’t connect the console to the internet? Eh? Wouldn’t that defeat the whole object if you just disconnected the console to get around a quite draconian DRM model?

    • Sorry to reply to myself but,

      I assume then that it has to be connected to the internet in order to register the original install which essentially rules it out to the Armed Forces or other groups who don’t have a working internet connection.

      This is looking more and more like a car crash the more I read about it. Making the Wii U launch look like a piece of marketing genius.

      • I’m pretty sure the armed forces have Internet connection.

      • An internet connection doesn’t necessarily mean a connection to XBL, the required ports need to be open which generally isn’t allowed on a closed network. Same thing applies in Uni halls, I had to register my PS3’s MAC address before the network would allow me to connect to PSN, while I know other Uni’s just block access completely.

    • I think I read that a game install will require an internet connection to register it – before you can then play it. After that, I assume it is happy for you to play it – at least, for the next 23 hours and 59 minutes or so.

      • Only if you are on another console. If you have the disc in on the original console it doesn’t need to phone home as I sort of understand it. This in itself makes no sense as I stated.

        My personal thoughts are that Microsoft’s original plan was to have it always on and always connected but when it went down like a lead balloon they changed it to this new model which is unravelling before our eyes. It would only work with always on. What they currently are proposing is a fudge to get around some quite shockingly terrible PR which ironically is causing even worse PR as they don’t seem to know what their new DRM method actually is.

      • They did say they other day that it doesn’t have to be “always on” but am Internet connection is required. So I take it that means any game you buy new will have to do the initial intent check once installed on hdd before it’s played.
        What complete garbage. I quite honestly believe this could be the end of the console war. Sony win. Who would buy this system? Well I suppose there’s going to be a lot of parents who buy this for their kids without knowing this.

      • Bye bye GAME (again), unless they can somehow undercut the internet stores on new releases. Its not just the consumer they’re screwing over.

  4. MS can go and shove this crap where the sun doesn’t shine. I was Xbox this gen but their ‘reveal’ showed me they aren’t focusing on gamers (or anyone outside of the US) and want to bring in this anti consumer BS. I will happily go to the PS4 next gen and my Vita will thank me.

  5. What? it plays games too?

  6. What a crazy system. The Xbox One has some great features but this ‘Game Fee’ system has really put me off.

  7. I’m not jumping through those hoops – they’ve turned console gaming into something more complicated than the PC scene. Perhaps it’s a sly move to bolster PC sales – use the xBox One as the Wii of this generation, and target the hardcore market via the PC market?

  8. MS can suck on a fiery rod from hell. Next gen is an easy decision for me now.

  9. So if you have a dodgy connection or it goes down for a day or you end up without a connection, you can’t play any games on the Xbox untill you have a connection. MS, are you even trying? As it doesn’t seem so. What if Xbl goes down? Would everyone end up with a console that refuses to load a game if it is down for more then a day?

    Can see most retailers refusing to promote it due to this feature. After all, why would you promote a console that prevents games being traded in. I’m guessing MS doesn’t like it when people lend their mates a game. They’ve pretty much wiped out rentals for the Xbox. Wonder if the PS4 versions of multiplat games will sell more copies because of this?

    • Not quite, I think – if I’ve understood correctly – you can play disc games without the interned. And chances are you’ll have the disc, since they aren’t going to be worth anything second hand, as people might as well buy new for the same price.

      • Bloody autocorrect crap – internet not interned. WTF

  10. have they confirmed or denied the rumour that if a second user installs the game and pays the unlock fee, the original buyer gets their ability to play the game removed?

    which would mean the preowned buyer would have to pay full price, and their full price is likely to be higher than what the game actually costs in stores, and the original buyer is no longer able to play the game.
    so despite two people paying full price, only one of them could play the game?

    even if that part isn’t true, this is still a step too far.
    that worse thing that i feared ea would replace the online pass with, et viola.

    and what about rentals?
    or lending games to friends?

    anybody reading this near redmond?
    ms could use your help, they seem to have mislaid something very important.
    they seem baffled as to where it’s gone, perhaps you could help.
    i don’t know what it looks like, but it responds to the name of The Plot.
    please, if you can help, do lend a hand. ^_^

    you know, when i said ms were a lot of things, but i didn’t think they were stupid enough to introduce a system wide preowned lockout.
    forget i ever said that.

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