The Xbox One will not require gamers to pay a fee to reactivate a used game, but it will require a regular online spot check to verify the authenticity of games being played, according to sources familiar with the system.
While an internet connection will be required for the console, the company is also experimenting with special exemption codes that could be given to select people in very particular, internet-free situations, like active-duty soldiers serving in war zones, sources tell Polygon.
Microsoft "will disclose more information in the near future"
The ultimate system that Xbox One will use for used games and online authentication sounds like it is still in open debate on some level internally, which may explain the company's reticence in more directly clarifying the matter this week. Microsoft executives have been discussing the reaction to the confused messaging surrounding used games and internet requirements and plan to detail the console's take on both sometime before E3, according to our sources.
During this week's Xbox One unveiling, Microsoft officials gave conflicting answers to questions about used games and online requirements. According to an official Q&A from Microsoft, the Xbox One does not "have to be always connected, but does require a connection to the Internet." Speaking with Kotaku, Microsoft's Phil Harrison said that the console would require an internet check every 24 hours.
Microsoft officials later said that was one potential scenario.
According to Polygon's sources, Microsoft officials haven't yet settled on the specific amount of time that can pass between checks, but that some form of regular check will be required to play games.
The Xbox One will automatically authenticate a game using an encryption code built into a game's disc, when it is installed on the machine. That authentication on the console's hard drive tied to the game is then verified regularly through an internet connection.
When a person sells the game or it is installed and played on another system, the game is deauthenticated on the original machine until the disc is brought back and used to re-authenticate the installation.
Our sources also said that there are no plans to charge gamers a fee to sell or reactivate a used game. Earlier today, Microsoft's Larry Hryb touched on the topic of used games on his blog, but didn't say whether fees will be required.
"The ability to trade in and resell games is important to gamers and to Xbox," according to the official statement he included in his post. "Xbox One is designed to support the trade in and resale of games. Reports about our policies for trade in and resale are inaccurate and incomplete. We will disclose more information in the near future."
We reached out to Microsoft for comment and representatives pointed us to Hryb's statement.