Xbox One Gold subs can share digital games and features

"Multiple people can enjoy the best benefits of Xbox Live Gold on your Xbox One at no additional charge."

Writing on Xbox Newswire, Microsoft's Marc Whitten has confirmed that aspects of the Xbox One's original (pre-E3) sharing policies will reappear, post Xbox One DRM U-turn. The company has announced a new policy known as Home Gold, under which Gold subscribers will be able to share digital Xbox One games and features with an "unlimited" number of non-subscribers, free of charge.

"Our goal is for Xbox One to be the hub for games and entertainment in your living room," the post begins. "It's a future where everyone in your home has a personalized account with all the content they love front and center.

"To do that, we had to think about how the system would work and thrive in one of the busiest rooms in the house that many people share. We wanted to create a system that was highly personalized but also social. It's about celebrating your individual tastes but also making it welcoming and easy for people to share."


What does this translate to in practice? "Everyone in your home can share digital games with each other. Your Xbox One can become your virtual game library filled with digital games that different people in the home bought. Anyone can pick any digital game on your Xbox One, sign in with their own gamertag and play - even if the owner is not signed in."

Under Home Gold, subscriber-only Xbox One features such as multiplayer gaming, entertainment apps like Skype, Game DVR and SmartMatch can be passed onto other people using the same console. Any Achievements and the like the recipients earn in the process will, however, only be applied to their Gamertags, not yours.

There are caveats when it comes to using other people's Xbox Ones - you'll need to be signed in to share digital games and perks with the owner. Digital purchasing has been streamlined a tad, though. You can buy a digital game on one console and have it unlock automatically for play on your "home" console (Xbox One games are playable before they've finished downloading).

Whitten hinted last month that something like the ability to share digital games with "family members" on Xbox One might return - the idea was put on hold when the manufacturer binned the console's DRM. This isn't quite the same thing, as you won't be able to share your digital library with other consoles from your home console - and I apologise for earlier confusion on this front. It's been a tiring week.

"So how it works is, on your console, anybody else on the console, whether it's a babysitter that's come over or a friend or your family, can participate in all the experiences like they're on Gold," Whitten told Polygon in a related interview.

"It's with their gamertag so they're not on your gamertag, you don't even have to be there, they're not messing up your gamerscore or your storage or your queues or anything like that. It's their full account experience, but it really gets to take full advantage of many of the Gold features."

Alas, none of this will be true of Xbox Gold on Xbox 360, and Microsoft apparently has no plans to reintroduce the Xbox 360 Family Pack, which offered several Xbox Live Gold subscriptions on Xbox 360 at a discount. There's a perk for Xbox 360 Gold users, however - you'll be able to sign into a One and your Xbox 360 simultaneously.

More as we get it.