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Microsoft reverses position on Xbox One Internet, game sharing

Xbox One (C) with the Kinect motions sensor (L) and the controller is pictured during a press event unveiling Microsoft's new Xbox in Redmon
Xbox One (C) with the Kinect motions sensor (L) and the controller is pictured during a press event unveiling Microsoft's new Xbox in Redmon

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp said on Wednesday that users of its forthcoming Xbox One game console will be able to play games offline without establishing an Internet connection, and will be able to lend or sell used disc-based games.

The announcement reverses the company's position when it unveiled the console in May, causing consternation among hardcore gamers.

The company had reversed its earlier stance on used games and daily online authentication after listening to "candid feedback" from its fans, Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft, said in a blog post on Wednesday.

Last week at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, Microsoft announced a $499 price tag for its first new Xbox in eight years and said it would go on sale in the United States in November in 21 countries.

Its rival, Sony Corp, said it would sell the next-generation PlayStation model for $399 late in the year. At an E3 presentation to announce features of the PlayStation 4, Sony drew cheers from the audience when it said the PS4 would run second-hand games and did not require an always-on Internet connection.

Before changing its policy, Microsoft had elicited groans from gamers when it announced that used games could be played on the Xbox One for a fee to be determined by game publishers and said players had to log onto the Internet for authentication.

"You told us how much you loved the flexibility you have today with games delivered on disc. The ability to lend, share, and resell these games at your discretion is of incredible importance to you," Mattrick said in his blog post. "Also important to you is the freedom to play offline, for any length of time, anywhere in the world."

(Reporting by Bill Rigby and Malathi Nayak; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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