But it might take a while.
When Microsoft took the stage at E3 last year, things were very different. Always-online DRM was still a thing, Kinect was still going to be sold with every box, and used games were in serious danger of not being playable on Microsoft’s console. That lasted until Sony’s Jack Tretton came on stage and utterly destroyed Microsoft by announcing that they were making consoles the way they always had. There was clapping, people cheered, and good times were had by all. Except, of course, Microsoft.
What got lost in all of this was Microsoft’s family sharing plan, or the ability to share games with up to 10 family members, which was actually pretty cool. Well, according to Phil Spencer, family sharing may still be coming. At some point. Maybe.
Speaking to Gamertag, Spencer said, “We looked at the digital features that we had talked about last year and as a gamer, there were a lot of those features that I think really resonated and were smart features for people who really have a lot of games and maybe play on a couple consoles or have bunch of people in the house or want to share with friends. As I look at our monthly update roadmap, those kind of features are in our roadmap. There is a little bit of a challenge now that you’ve got DRM on a disc.”
This isn’t the first time that someone at Xbox has hinted at the return of family sharing. Last July, Microsoft corporate vice president Mark Whitten said that family sharing could return if it’s “something people are really excited about and want,” though he did note that there were still some technical hurdles to overcome before that could happen.
“Taking Family Sharing out of the launch window was not about ‘we’re going to take our toys and go home’ or something like that,” Whitten said. “It was just sort of the logistics of ‘how do we get this very, very clear request that people really want, that choice, and how do we make sure we can do an excellent job of that, get to launch, and then be able to build a bunch of great features?’ In the future I think you’re going to see the ways that we change how you discover, how you consume, share, play.”
Microsoft’s always-online console may be dead, but it’s nice to see that the company didn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Family sharing should be pretty awesome when (and if) it ever happens.