Yes, you will be able to play Xbox One games on a friend’s console. Yes, your Xbox One games will have some resale value.
So have shared Microsoft spokesfolks in recent followup conversations with the media, attempting to diffuse the negative rumors that have been driving the gamer press bonkers since Microsoft’s recent introduction of the new system.
The game community savaged Microsoft for the multimedia-center focus of its Xbox One reveal, and for not responding to questions about software rights with this “always connected” and “cloud computing” -centric device.
Acknowledging that there’s “some confusion around” about how used Xbox One games might be treated (or jinxed), Microsoft spin doctors participating in on-line and private chats now admit “there have been many potential scenarios discussed. We have only confirmed that we designed Xbox One to enable our customers to trade in and resell games at retail. Beyond that we have not confirmed any specific scenarios.”
One company spokesman also clarified (for Consumer Electronics Daily) that when playing Xbox One games on a friend’s machine there will be “no fee to play that game when you are signed into your own game profile.”
Reading between the lines, that does suggest validity to speculation that the second buyer of a traded-in game will need to buy a new license to re-activate it. Not on an occasional basis, as already exists with a few console and PC games, but with every title.
Like the newly announced Sony PlayStation 4, Xbox One hardware will not be “backwards compatible” with prior generation (Xbox 360) software. The Microsoft multimedia console’s integrated CPU and GPU, designed in partnership with Advanced Micro Devices, passes some of the processing to “the infinite power of the cloud” for faster scene setting and lower latency in on-line game interaction. So all that's the positive explanation for why a Xbox One must be left on and connected all the time. The fear mongerers’ negative take? So big brother can keep watching you and disable software if you dare go offline.
Also newly revealed – Xbox One will support 3D and 4K (aka “Ultra-High Definition”) resolution content, “delivering a home entertainment system for the next generation capable of delivering the fidelity of today and tomorrow.” That promise of 4 times HD's clarity (requiring a next gen 4K TV) is supposedly for both games and movies output from Xbox One's Blu-ray player. But the latter will probably be achieved only by upscaling, as the parameters for a 4K Blu-ray videodisc standard probably won’t be established before the launch of the new Xbox One system at year's end.
Sony has allowed that its next gen PS4 system will support 4K output for “personal content” including photos and videos, but not for games.