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Microsoft reverses course on Xbox One DRM, always online

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June 19, 2013

Microsoft has reversed course on the Xbox One's restrictive DRM and always online policies

Microsoft has reversed course on the Xbox One's restrictive DRM and always online policies

In a move that is already sending shockwaves through the gaming community, Microsoft has reversed course on the ill-advised digital rights management (DRM) and always online policies of its forthcoming Xbox One game console. Microsoft, which had up until earlier this week defended its restrictive policies, suffered what many considered to be an embarrassing defeat at the hands of rival Sony PlayStation at the Electronic Entertainment Expo earlier this month. Today Don Mattrick, President of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business, announced an about-face that will have consumers breathing a sigh of relief.

"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," writes Don Mattrick on the official Xbox website. "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."

The new policies, as outlined by Mattrick, are as follows:

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.

Many gamers and game journalists had taken to Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, and a host of gaming forums to voice their complaints about the direction Microsoft was planning to take with its new console. Sony further twisted the knife with a video that poked fun at the Xbox One's game-sharing restrictions, which went viral on YouTube.

The angry mob, and negative comparisons with Sony's PlayStation 4 (which not only sports more sophisticated tech but is priced US$100 cheaper than the Xbox One), caused panic within Microsoft's gaming division. It may be that Microsoft has turned the ship in time to avoid an icy reception come November.

What exactly this means for the "infinite power of the cloud" that was a key selling point of the XBox One remains unclear. If you don't need to be connected to the internet to play your games, they can hardly leverage the added processing power that the cloud servers were supposed to provide. And there is still the issue of its price and the forced inclusion of the Kinect 2 – which several industry watchdogs around the world have labeled a surveillance device – but it appears the upcoming console war won't be as one-sided as many predicted.

Source: Microsoft

About the Author
Jason Falconer Jason is a freelance writer based in central Canada with a background in computer graphics. He has written about hundreds of humanoid robots on his website Plastic Pals and is an avid gamer with an unsightly collection of retro consoles, cartridges, and controllers.   All articles by Jason Falconer
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13 Comments

If MS wants people to get used to digital distribution, instead of just cramming it down peoples throats by making physical media like it, they should have sales like Steam does. If Steam can have sales on AAA titles the week they come out then MS can also, they're bigger, no more of this crap where the downloaded game cost more than buying the disc new at Walmart. They just went about it all wrong. . .

exodous
19th June, 2013 @ 03:30 pm PDT

One word: GOOD.

Derek Howe
19th June, 2013 @ 03:46 pm PDT

People-Power!

So where does this leave the revamped XBox 360, buy a new machine to play your old games? That was a big waste of development dollars wasn't it MS you control freaks

Ozuzi
19th June, 2013 @ 06:11 pm PDT

Congrats on not being stupid.. Wait.. How do they get good pr for being bad then being average? I say shame on them for ever being so stupid. I still have not bought StarCraft 2 because of the net connection requirement.

Michael Mantion
19th June, 2013 @ 06:42 pm PDT

My Son a 33 year old gamer, just snickered and said no way, He laughed at the ad for it.

Bill Bennett
19th June, 2013 @ 08:39 pm PDT

I pre-ordered a PS4 already. I think a lot of people voted with their wallets already and I heard speculation that the PS4 was outselling the XB1 by about 2 to 1 which is probably the main reason for the change of heart.

If you think about it Microsoft has the Windows/Office cash cow and they have thrown a lot of money on a lot of failures trying to expand outside that market before succeeding on Xbox. All they really needed to do was update hardware to 2013 specs and not much else and they messed it up badly. The timing of the PRISM leaks right before they announced a console that requires and runs Kinect even when its off and requires an always on connection didn't help their cause much but I can't imagine some of their investors were happy about their attempt to seize failure from the jaws of success.

Diachi
19th June, 2013 @ 09:05 pm PDT

@ exodous - they already have sales on Xbox Live marketplace; right now Fable 3 is available for free, while games like Halo Reach and Battlefield Bad Company 2 are available for less than $30 AUD.

Joshua Smallwood
20th June, 2013 @ 05:27 am PDT

Its idiots in management like Don Mattrick that make stupid decisions based on the bottom line rather than thinking about the consumers first. Microsoft is always backtracking after stunts from management like this.

Quackula
20th June, 2013 @ 09:41 am PDT

I think Microsoft did redeem themselves a tiny bit with this announcement. But, I am still not forking over that much money on their system. What am I going to do with a Kinect since my space is limited. Drop your price tag to be competitive with Sony which I am going to buy and you may sway me to buy an xbox one. $500 seems a tad bit steep to me. Heck even $400 seems a bit steep for me since I am on a fixed budget. but I'm going to save up. Yeah I might not get it when it first comes out but I don't like getting systems when they first come out anyway since there are almost always bugs in the programing or hardware at first. I didn't get the xbox360 when It first came out back in 2005 I waited 4 years when I could afford it. yes I am an avid xbox fan but I still do like what Sony is doing for there system.

Michael Maulbeck
20th June, 2013 @ 09:52 am PDT

Good for Microsoft to backtrack but this is not some naive company that forgot to do market research on DRM.

They thought they'd get away with it and they were quite happy to force DRM town their customers throat.

Basically, Microsoft showed that it is quite happy to eat it's customers for an extra dollar if it can get away with it.

If they didn't get their arcane DRM past you now, they will next time. Reason enough to stay away from Xbox.

Paul van Dinther
20th June, 2013 @ 02:19 pm PDT

This is a good example of why competition is better than a monopoly.

robo
20th June, 2013 @ 02:59 pm PDT

Wow good job Microsoft because of this move it easily becomes a better and more appealing console then the ps4. So many people I know have changed back to Xbox one now. I went down to eb games today and they said the amount of people swapping there preorders back was incredible. The Xbox one is taking the lead in preorders across eb games

ChuckTM
20th June, 2013 @ 07:29 pm PDT

Now Do something About the price maybe a without kinect bundle for cheaper price and then sell kinect to make more money ;D

Carlos Rios
14th August, 2013 @ 01:24 am PDT
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