It appears some details have come to light about the true nature of the Xbox One family sharing plan which has no doubt been temporarily removed from view but will still be a feature of the console. According to what looks like a genuine post from a Microsoft employee, he states that Microsoft failed to convey how it worked properly, and the many interpreted what had been said the wrong way

The Xbox One family sharing plan would have only allowed the ten family members (or friends) up to 60 minutes of play time before being prompted to purchase the full game via the Marketplace. The player’s progress would be saved so that if purchased they could continue playing where they left off.

EDIT: Apparently this has been debunked.

Whilst neat, the fact that Microsoft hasn’t provided any clear details and let its audience believe something else is remarkable. Gamers automatically assumed that sharing would mean the full game where only one player could play at a time – Microsoft could have imposed time restrictions to prevent mass sharing which obviously wouldn’t have sat well with publishers.

The Xbox One family plan on paper sounds like a neat way to showcase games that maybe don’t have a Marketplace demo, but then again, with Sony offering demos for all its games, it doesn’t make sense for Microsoft to ditch one of its compounded features from the Xbox 360. Therefore, what value would the sharing plan have had, unless of course the 60 minutes play time and game saving would have been far greater time than playing a short demo.

The whole scenario is now a bit messy, but it’s possible we’ve not heard the last on the matter. It’s been suggested, that over time Microsoft will attempt to reintroduce its forward thinking ideas, but from the safety of making sure they are perfectly clear on how things work. To offer new realms alongside existing methods is surely the right way to present new policies and changes to established norms rather than the mess of introducing changes that weren’t in line with consumer expectations.

The idea of somehow being able to share digital games with friends is a neat one and in some cases could work very well – especially with more free to play models. Yet, these systems are open for abuse and thus make it tough choice to get right. It was wrong of Microsoft to not be totally clear on what their intent was with the sharing, but hopefully - if they are listening – then something in the future could be administered which is actually beneficial for everyone.