It is the biggest question coming out of Microsoft over the past 24 hours; just exactly to what extent are the Xbox One’s TV features hidden behind the Xbox Live Gold paywall? We don’t have to detail the gratuitous amount of policy reversals Microsoft has made over the past 14 weeks on their next-gen console, but right now the company’s messaging needs to be a bit clearer on this issue.
If you look at the Microsoft’s Xbox Live Gold webpage, you will see the above list of features that the service will provide to both the Xbox 360 and Xbox One. In order to get these services you would be required to pay the roughly $50-60 annual price to utilize them. However, Game Front has a different story to tell.
According to a conversation they had at PAX Prime 2013 with Albert Penello, Microsoft’s Lead Xbox Planner, Xbox One owners will be able to “do the TV guide stuff without Gold.” That TV guide stuff, in all likelyhood, is in reference to the OneGuide. It is the application that Microsoft executives famously used in conjunction with the Kinect device during their Xbox One Reveal announcement conference in May. Commands like “Xbox, Watch TV” would allow you to seamlessly change from the console to the television programming without changing TV inputs.
It would be great news for those consumers who want to continue to stay offline with their gaming consoles but still want access to some of the more advanced media center controls that the Xbox One will provide. Hopefully Microsoft will clear the air and make a definitive statement shortly so that we can know once and for all if the Xbox One TV features are restricted to Xbox Live Gold users.