Microsoft Backpedal On All Things DRM

Nick Wheeler June 19, 2013 1
Microsoft Backpedal On All Things DRM

To cut a long story short, after the monumental bashing that the X-Bone has received over the past month, Microsoft has just announced a complete reversal of pretty much every decision they’ve ever made regarding their new flagship console. Under immense pressure from press outlets, forums, their fans and opponents, they’ve revised their previously-announced DRM, preowned game usage and online check-in policies for Xbox One.

To call this reversal staggering is an understatement – It’s easily one of the biggest reversals in the history of game consoles. Having previously proclaimed the ‘countless’ merits of their always-online strategy for their new game console, Microsoft suffered one of the largest backlashes ever seen. After intense criticism from consumers and their competitors, the company has finally listened and stepped back on the most controversial restrictions of the console.

Microsoft’s Don Mattrick explains in this released statement:

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.

Will this move be enough to draw people back to the sinking console, or has Microsoft lost too many of its supporters through this debacle? All I know is that the race between Microsoft and Sony just became a lot more complicated.

One Comment »

  1. Spatula June 20, 2013 at 6:32 am - Reply

    It’s a courageous decision. It really must have hurt Microsoft to make his decision and I would wager after the commercial launch of the console we will see a few high-placed individuals either change positions or leave Microsoft altogether due to this massive misstep.

    Will it make a difference? Not so sure. Microsoft have been demonstrating a staggering lack of understanding when it comes to the end user, with GFWL, the u-turn on win 8 (return of the start bar in 8.1) and now the incredible change of direction on their new flagship console.

    Sony capitalised on this misstep brilliantly and it was the dent to their financial predictions, rather than user feedback (though they are undoubtedly connected), so even now Microsoft dont’t quite get it.

    Sony still win it for my money, I think the damage has been done and the X-Bone will always be a tainted console now.

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