Microsoft has long been attempting to upgrade and modify the Xbox One ecosystem to not only better compete with Sony's PlayStation 4, but to also leverage some of the things that have become quite popular on other platforms, such as game gifting on Steam. Well, that very feature is now set to arrive on the Xbox One.
One of the gamers currently in the Xbox Insiders program to test out new features and updates ahead of the rollout for the general public shared one of the features that they were currently testing in the alpha phase, which was none other than game gifting. The feature was revealed through a screenshot that the alpha tester let loose over on the Xbox One sub-Reddit.
The image shows the game hub for Titanfall 2: Ultimate Edition and three options underneath the price for the Xbox Live Gold membership discount. The first option is "Buy", the second option is "Buy as gift", and the third option is "Redeem a code".
Obviously, the new feature in that list is the "Buy as gift" option, which was previously relegated to other storefronts but certainly not available on the Xbox Store.
While it's currently in alpha testing, it's certainly not too far off from rolling out for the general public and everyone else who owns an Xbox One or the upcoming Xbox One X.
This has been a highly requested feature from the Xbox gaming community who have desired the ability to gift games to friends. Steam users have been able to do this for quite some time -- gifting games to friends during a purchase. It's an extremely useful feature for those who want to buy a digital game for a buddy either because the game isn't available physically or because you don't want that person accessing your account.
A perfect use of the feature would be for a game like Cuphead, which recently launched for PC and Xbox One. Steam gamers are able to gift the game to friends or maybe one person decides to buy two copies, one copy for themselves and another for a family member. With the gifting option, it's possible to purchase the game for someone else and allow them to own it where they otherwise wouldn't have been able to receive it unless they purchased it for themselves.
One thing I'm most curious about is whether or not this will also apply to backwards compatible games. How neat would it be to be able to gift digital Xbox 360 games to friends? For now, the mode is still in alpha testing, so we have no idea to what extent Microsoft will enable the feature for other users. For instance, will gamers be able to gift DLC to other people on their friends list as well or will it be limited to main games? Will it also be possible to gift premium apps or will it be limited to certain kinds of content?
In the Reddit thread, they did mention that you will be able to gift to people on your friends list as well as via entering an e-mail address, so it sounds like Microsoft at least covered all the basics. We'll have to wait to find out exactly when the feature will graduate to beta and then eventually into full release.