XBOX One: Microsoft Backtrack On DRM

2 steps back for Microsoft

Xbox One Kinect Controller

So today after a few weeks of nonstop bashing from the hardcore, Microsoft has relented and announced they will reverse all of their controversial XBOX DRM policies.

This means owners of the next-gen XBOX won’t have to check in every 24 hours, nor will there be any restrictions on second-hand titles (that sound you can hear is GameStop’s CEO rubbing his hands with glee).

So this is good news right? It’s what consumers wanted right? And Microsoft being the responsible company they are, listened. Right?

So why am I not convinced? 

Well here are two reasons.

One – although I am definitely pleased about the lifting of second-hand restrictions I’m disappointed to see that it also means the more interesting and innovative features that went along with it have also been dropped, We now no longer get Family Sharing which allowed other family members (and maybe friends?) to play titles you own on their own systems. Nor are we getting the Personal Game Collection which meant very game you purchased would be available to play on any other system anywhere in the world. They sure sound like features I would expect new gen console to pack right?

Two – because it means that Microsoft aren’t the smart and capable  (and more importantly) future-facing company they make out to be.  The DRM policy must have ben decided upon months if not years ago, yet the span of a few weeks and hordes of angry games made a multi-billion dollar company change their whole business model. This doesn’t inspire much confidence. 

And what does this now mean for Sony who have lost the big E3 winning boast. Well I guess they can be happy with the knowledge that they went first and that a lot of gamers will still be very sceptical about Microsoft’s future plans.

It also means the USP between each system are now virtually none. Truly now is the time for an enterprising company to seep in and offer something new to gamers who are looking for new experiences and features (cough cough Nintendo cough cough Steam).

And it also means we are back to square one and the E3 presentations were pretty much moot.

To sum up we have two new systems that are coming out this winter that seem to be pretty much identical with launch line ups of uninspired looking titles and with only a very slight graphical uplift.

We waited 8 years for this!?

Where is the innovation?!

The full statement from XBOX boss Don Mattrick is below:

Last week at E3, the excitement, creativity and future of our industry was on display for a global audience.

For us, the future comes in the form of Xbox One, a system designed to be the best place to play games this year and for many years to come. As is our heritage with Xbox, we designed a system that could take full advantage of advances in technology in order to deliver a breakthrough in game play and entertainment. We imagined a new set of benefits such as easier roaming, family sharing, and new ways to try and buy games. We believe in the benefits of a connected, digital future. 

Since unveiling our plans for Xbox One, my team and I have heard directly from many of you, read your comments and listened to your feedback. I would like to take the opportunity today to thank you for your assistance in helping us to reshape the future of Xbox One. 

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. Also important to you is the freedom to play offline, for any length of time, anywhere in the world.

So, today I am announcing the following changes to Xbox One and how you can play, share, lend, and resell your games exactly as you do today on Xbox 360. Here is what that means:

  • An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games – After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again. There is no 24 hour connection requirement and you can take your Xbox One anywhere you want and play your games, just like on Xbox 360.
  • Trade-in, lend, resell, gift, and rent disc based games just like you do today – There will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360.

In addition to buying a disc from a retailer, you can also download games from Xbox Live on day of release. If you choose to download your games, you will be able to play them offline just like you do today. Xbox One games will be playable on any Xbox One console — there will be no regional restrictions. 

These changes will impact some of the scenarios we previously announced for Xbox One. The sharing of games will work as it does today, you will simply share the disc. Downloaded titles cannot be shared or resold. Also, similar to today, playing disc based games will require that the disc be in the tray. 

We appreciate your passion, support and willingness to challenge the assumptions of digital licensing and connectivity. While we believe that the majority of people will play games online and access the cloud for both games and entertainment, we will give consumers the choice of both physical and digital content. We have listened and we have heard loud and clear from your feedback that you want the best of both worlds.

Thank you again for your candid feedback. Our team remains committed to listening, taking feedback and delivering a great product for you later this year.

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