When the Xbox One was revealed, there were a lot of features that made gamers grab their digital torches and pitchforks. As we all know, this then led to Microsoft’s 180 on DRM and always online. However, one feature disappeared that was really quite cool – Family Sharing.

Speaking to Gamespot at PAX, Senior Directory Albert Penello explains that the future of gaming is digital; he believes that mobile and PC gaming already prove this. However, he explains that Microsoft needed to return to the disc model, while still preparing for a digital future:

People have to accept it. The Internet bandwidth caps have to support it globally. Internet infrastructure has to support it globally. So it’s going to happen, it’s just a matter of time.

We were trying to implement the ability to trade [and] loan digital games with your friends which is something that no one else was doing. I believe, in retrospect that people have calmed down and gone back and actually looked at what we said, people are starting to understand, ‘Wow, they did want actually to allow me to loan and trade’ which other digital ecosystems don’t want to do. And so, yeah, I think we need to do that. That has to be part of the experience. Right now, we’re focused on launch and we switched the program back to discs, because that’s what customers wanted

Penello goes on to say that he’d love to bring back the family sharing plan. He says that there were a lot of good ideas in the original Xbox One, but that they were ahead of their time – people just weren’t ready for them. But they will return, “when the time is right”.

I really like the idea of digital game sharing, and I think it needs to be implemented in the future. As mush as we need to have games on discs that we can share, we also need to move into an age where digital media is owned and shareable – books, movies, games. Sometimes your friends live far away and it’s hard to go and give them a disc; it would be so much better to be able to share with them digitally. I think we are going through some serious growing pains as a digital society – we will get there eventually, but it’s taking some figuring out and plenty of aches and pains along the way.

Last Updated: September 5, 2013

was reviewed on PC

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