June 7, 2013 at 3:34 PM ET
With E3 just days away, Microsoft released a statement on Thursday to clarify some of the Xbox One's most controversial features.
While Microsoft had some trouble getting its story straight on issues particularly dear to console gamers such as how it will handle used games, the company assured fans in its statement that "game publishers can enable you [the player] to trade in your games at participating retailers."
"Microsoft does not charge a platform fee to retailers, publishers, or consumers for enabling transfer of these games," the statement continued.
Rather, Microsoft suggested that it leaves the decision of whether or not to charge players an additional fee when installing pre-owned games up to individual publishers.
"Xbox One is designed so game publishers can enable you to give your disc-based games to your friends," Microsoft said. "There are no fees charged as part of these transfers."
However, the statement added that "third party publishers may opt in or out of supporting game resale and may set up business terms or transfer fees with retailers." This means "third party publishers can enable you to give games to friends." While Microsoft said that "loaning or renting games won't be available at launch," the company is "exploring the possibilities" to introduce this in the future.
Deferring many of these choices to individual publishers and "participating retailers" might sound like Microsoft is trying to pass off responsibility for some of its toughest decisions for the new console. But in a section meant to clarify the Xbox One's much-maligned internet connection requirements, Microsoft noted that it's still basically holding the keys to the new console.
Rather than requiring Xbox One users to have the device always connected to the Internet, Microsoft explained, the console will conduct an online check once every 24 hours in order to ensure that the user still owns the license for the copy of the game they are playing. Users will also be able to access their Xbox One content remotely through, say, a friend's console, but in that case online checks would be performed every hour.
"Offline gaming is not possible after these prescribed times until you re-establish a connection, but you can still watch live TV and enjoy Blu-ray and DVD movies," Microsoft said to specify when, exactly, an internet connection would be required to play games.
Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, told NBC News Friday that despite all the sound and fury over Microsoft's Xbox One policies, this type of activation process actually keeps the next-generation hardware in line with current industry standards.
"When I sell a used game today, I can't play it anymore because I don't have the disc anymore," Pachter said. "Conducting the same process online with an activation is the same thing."
Yannick LeJacq is a contributing writer for NBC News who has also covered technology and games for Kill Screen, The Wall Street Journal and The Atlantic. You can follow him on Twitter at @YannickLeJacq and reach him by email at: email@example.com.