Why Xbox game share is completely useless

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Xbox One Game Share
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When the Xbox One first launched there was a lot of controversy surrounding pre-owned games. First you’d not be able to use them, then you could. But then we could share games with our friends by using their accounts? Sounds good to me, it means I don’t have to buy games that my friends have. Right? It also means that I can play the same game with these friends, yeah? No, it doesn’t mean any of that. As far as I’m concerned, Xbox Game share is pretty much useless. Here’s why, if you don’t believe me.

Physical copies don’t work

Let’s start out with the least problematic one. Say I went ahead and bought a copy of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: Remastered, which I have done last week. Now let’s say I want to play this game with a friend. Now ideally I would be able to share my account with this friend and let him play it. That would be the case if I had bought the game digitally. I suppose it makes sense considering it is quite difficult considering it’s a disc. But there are a few ways around that, right?

For starters, what’s the point of buying a disc if the game is just going to install anyway? Long gone are the days of slapping a disc in and playing straight away. No, now you have to wait an hour just to play that brand new game you bought. I suppose I could buy things digitally, but what’s the point? As far as I’m aware buying a pre-owned or physical copy is a lot cheaper. I’m fairly certain that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered is still a good forty six quid on the store. I paid thirty seven pounds for my copy.

I do get why physical discs don’t work, it’s locked to that account. It prevents you from buying a game, installing it and then returning it. But if it’s getting installed to the console anyways, why couldn’t a friend of mine just use it? Surely there’s a way around this, but to be fair is it really worth looking in to it?

You can’t play together

Now obviously if you’re wanting to play a game with your friend you’d usually have to own two copies. What I and many others were presumably expecting was the chance to play a game through game share, while also playing with them. That isn’t actually possible given how the game share system works.

To actually use and utilise the system you need to be signed into your friends account. By signing into your friends account, you sign them out of their console in the process. Because you can’t be signed into the same account more than once, you can’t use game share to play with that friend. Not just one game, but all games. If you need to use a game your friend owns, you need to be signed in and so does your friend, on the same Xbox.

So really what’s the point? I’d argue that the main feature of the Xbox game share feature would be for this reason. The ability to play a multiplayer game with friends when you don’t own the game. I suppose it works if you have other friends to play it with and your other friend isn’t using their account. But that scenario is very limited, isn’t it?

In short then, it works like this. If you are signed into your friend and playing a game, they cannot play it with you. It doesn’t matter what game it is or what console you’re using, you both have to have your own copy.

Is it useful in any way

Don’t get me wrong though I am very appreciative of the opportunity game share presents. The main reason I use game share is to play games for achievements. I have a few friends accounts on my Xbox, some know about this and others don’t. Either way I can just sign into their accounts and play games I would never buy for myself.

Games I have in fact reviewed, some of them, I am fairly sure, have been played through game share. Some are pretty good games, some are games I was more than happy to delete from my console. Other games are just some things that I would never normally experience if it weren’t for the game share. I suppose that’s one of the main pointers for this system, it can open you up to new games. That’s better than nothing, right?

But is experiencing some new games really worth that much? I mean, I suppose so. But for someone like me who rarely plays games outside of work, it’s not too useful. Really I struggle to put into words the advantages of it. You can play games that your friends own if you’re too cheap to buy them. I suppose that’s an advantage? I’m not sure, it doesn’t seem sufficiently useful to create an entire service out of it.

Conclusion

Xbox game share, quite simply, could have been implemented a lot better. The fact that you can’t play these games with your friends basically makes it null and void. If you like playing games by yourself and making your friends wait until you finish a game so they can use their account, this is for you.

Sure, there are a couple of advantages, especially for achievement hunters. But other than that, is there really anything of substance to use this system for? Sure, I get that physical copies don’t work, why would they to be fair? But what I don’t understand is why anyone would need to use it. You can’t actually play the games with friends, and for you to use it they have to be offline. Basically you’re just using your friends account to play some games you’re too cheap to buy.

But there’s no problem with that to be fair. Xbox have allowed this, so that makes it fine, right? I mean, if I’m stuck on a bit of a game then my friend can step in and help, right? Sure, if my friends were any good at games that’d be a great help.


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Ewan Gleadow
I've been writing for various different places for roughly four or five years now. Currently focusing my writing on film reviews, politics and occasional game reviews. Hopefully you enjoy my work, be sure to contact me if you have any criticisms or praise.

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