Xbox One's Family Share Plan Is Coming Back, Just Not At Launch

By William Usher 2013-07-12 21:17:55 discussion comments
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Microsoft isn't completely out of the Family Sharing business and, despite the ridiculous nature of the Stockholm Syndrome protest to bring back the Xbox One's DRM from uncouth fanboys, it actually did have an effect on Microsoft and they did take it into consideration. So... um... yay?!

IGN departs from the typical Doritocracy approach to news and really hammers down some good questions aimed at getting decisive, clear answers out of Microsoft's chief product officer Marc Whitten, who states that...
"If it’s something that people are really excited about and want, we’re going to make sure that we find the right way to bring it back,”.... “A ‘road map’ sort of implies more like ‘on date X it’s back’ than I think exists, but we believe really strongly in how you build a great experience on Xbox One for me as an individual, but also for my family. Family Sharing is a great example of how you do that with content. I think you’re going to see us, both with examples like that and with other things, keep pushing on how that’s something great."

Whitten goes on talk up the Xbox One's new Gold subscriber plan for families and households that allow multiple people to make use of Xbox Live Gold under a single master account. That was probably one of the only positive features announced for the Xbox One during the May reveal that didn't have some sort of ridiculous, anti-consumer restriction attached to it.

Nevertheless, whether you're a troll, a fanboy or an eager gamer, most people simply want to know what's up with the Family Share Plan for the Xbox One? Well, Whitten still doesn't explain how the system works (which, in my own personal opinion leaves me to believe that even had the DRM stayed the FSP wouldn't have launched or worked out of the gate the way a lot of people imagined).

However, as a bone being tossed to a dog, Whitten goes on to explain that...
"I understand people see things like Family Sharing and they’re like, ‘Wow, I was really looking forward to that,’ which is more of an engineering reality time frame type-thing.

“I probably should have been more clear,” ... “We took some feedback and realized there was some stuff we needed to add to the program. To add it to the program, we had to make room, just from a pure engineering perspective, to be able to get that work done.

So taking Family Sharing out of the launch window was not about ‘we’re going to take our toys and go home’ or something like that. It was just sort of the logistics of ‘how do we get this very, very clear request that people really want, that choice, and how do we make sure we can do an excellent job of that, get to launch, and then be able to build a bunch of great features?’

Communication, which is the very thing that caused Microsoft to fumble after their ball was exposed on the court by hacker SuperDaE, was the one thing that the company didn't have together after the May 21st reveal.

In some regards, we have to think realistically about their position: Microsoft never intended to talk about the Xbox One's DRM and it was only because of SuperDaE did media make it a pressing talking point at their reveal, which is why there was a lot of miscommunication and confusion that came out of the event.

With Microsoft's recent restructuring of their policies and CEO Steven Ballmer making it a company bullet-point to focus on customer communication, it could appear that perhaps, maybe, potentially, Microsoft has finally got a clue.

There is also a lot of weight riding on the shoulders of newly appointed Xbox One hardware head honcho, Julie Larson-Green. Under her direction it's now a matter of seeing if the relationship between the Xbox brand and consumers really does take on a completely different shape.

As for the return of the Family Sharing Plan, I don't think we'll be seeing this rear its head for quite some time. In my own personal opinion I believe it was just a marketing ploy used to lure people in to acquiesce the rage around their other, more controversial policies.

Also, if there's one thing to take away from all of this, it's that you should keep in mind that, according to Marc Whitten, this Family Sharing Plan wasn't going to be a launch feature for the console, even when it was originally laced with more DRM and restrictions than an under-aged, chastity-belt wearing princess during the dark ages with a nun for a mom.

We'll definitely keep you posted on when Microsoft plans to roll out the one policy that some gamers were eagerly looking forward to.
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