Rumors from GiantBomb indicate that Microsoft will announce a complete reversal on their DRM policies following the public backlash received after E3. Apparently the outcry was of so great that Microsoft have reconsidered their policies.
If this is true the Xbox One could be back in the race, the fact that Microsoft’s system is $100 more expensive than the PS4 isn’t a big deal, the real problem is their terrible PR and the fact that they adopted anti-consumer policies.
What does this mean? Well,
- No more always online requirement
- The console no longer has to check in every 24 hours
- All game discs will work on Xbox One as they do on Xbox 360
- Authentication is no longer necessary
- An Internet connection is only required when initially setting up the console
- All downloaded games will function the same when online or offline
- No additional restrictions on trading games or loaning discs
- Region locks have been dropped
Right now, as I write this article, the rumor has been confirmed, they are moving away from the policies that generated the controversy. The policies are the main reason that everyone seems to despise the console and Sony used them as a PR tactic to increase the hype around their own system.
It’s nice to know that Microsoft has listened to our feedback; the official Xbox page states that they have “changed certain policies for Xbox One as a result of feedback from the Xbox community.”
“Update on June 19, 2013: As a result of feedback from the Xbox community, we have changed certain policies for Xbox One reflected in this blog. Some of this information is no longer accurate — please check here for the latest.”
“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.”
Apparently the backlash they received following E3 was significantly louder than they expected, I believe they’ve been thinking about this since the week before E3 when they answered all the questions regarding their DRM policies through a post on the official Xbox page. They obviously knew that the new format would be highly criticized which is why they build the system so that they could backtrack at any point.
“Today I [Don Mattrick] 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.”
The Xbox One definitely delivers thousands of dollars of value, I’m sure there are gamers who will still have poignant memories of Microsoft’s format and no matter what changes are made Microsoft won’t be able to dispel their doubts, but we have to admit that Microsoft just eliminated all the bad things we had to say about the Xbox in and of itself.
On the other hand, it looks like family sharing is now dead.
“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.”
Competition is good for the industry and the fact that Microsoft is back in the race feels good, if Microsoft and Sony weren’t duking it out at retail, there would only be one console powerhouse which would not be good for the industry. The competition keeps them focused and the amount of investment they make in the industry is good for everyone. We don’t want any company to have a monopoly over console market. This is good for us. If you are wondering who is going to win the console war, look in the mirror.