Microsoft Gives Xbox One Gamers What They Want... Sort Of

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | June 19, 2013 - 09:08 PM |
Tagged: xbox one, gaming, DRM, disc

Microsoft faced a major backlash from users following the unveiling of its latest Xbox One console. Users were rather unnerved at Microsoft’s reveal that the new console would be required to “phone home” at least once every 24 hours in order to authenticate games and allow sharing. Considering Sony carried forward the disc traditions of the PS3 combined with the user uproar, Microsoft has reconsidered and issued an update to users via a blog post titled (in part) “Your Feedback Matters.”

Amidst the uncertainty caused by various MS sources issuing statements about functionality and DRM that conflict with one another and an air of as-yet-un-announced secrecy pre-E3 where MS released just enough info about the DRM to get users scared (can you tell the way MS handled this irked me?), the company talked about the Xbox One moving forward and taking advantage of the ‘digital age.’ The new console would require online authentication (and daily check-ins), but would also allow sharing of your game library with up to 10 other people, re-downloadable games that can be installed on other consoles (and played) so long as you log into your Xbox Live account (the latter bit is similar in nature to Steam on the PC). Further, disc games could be resold or gifted if the publishers allow it.

That has changed now, however. Microsoft has reconsidered its position and is going back to the way things work(ed) on the existing Xbox 360. Instead of taking the logical approach of keeping with the plan but removing the daily authentication requirement for games if you keep the game disc in the tray, Microsoft has taken their ball Xbox One controller and completely backtracked.

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DRM on the Xbox One is now as follows, and these changes go in place of (not in addition to) the previously announced sharing and reselling functionalities.

For physical disc games:

According to Xbox Wire, after their initial setup and installation, disc-based games will not require an internet connection for offline functionality (though multiplayer components will, obviously, need an active connection). Even better, trading and reselling of disc-based games is no longer limited by publishers. Trading, selling, gifting, renting, et al of physical disc-based games "will work just as it does today on the Xbox 360." Microsoft is also not region locking physical games, which means that you will not have to worry about games purchased abroad working on your console at home.

In order to play disc-based games, you will need to keep the game disc in the tray, even if it is installed on the hard drive, however.

Changes to Downloaded games:

As far as downloadable games, Microsoft is restricting these titles such that they cannot be shared or resold. In the previous model, you would have been able to share the titles with your family, but not anymore. You will still be able to re-download the games.

There is no word on whether or not gamers will still lose access to all of the titles in their game library if their Xbox Live accounts are ever banned. It is likely that gamers will lose any downloadable games though as those are effectively tied to a single Xbox Live account.

While at first glance it may seem as though gamers won this round, in the end no one really won. Instead of Microsoft working around gamers concerns for physical media and moving forward together, it is as though Microsoft has thrown up its hands in frustration, and tossed out all of the innovative aspects for digital/downloadable titles along with the undesirable daily authentication and other invasive DRM measures that gamers clearly indicated they did not want.

I believe that Microsoft should have kept to the original game plan, but added an exception to the daily check-in rules so long as the console was able to authenticate the game offline by identifying a physical game disc in the tray. That way, gamers that are not comfortable with (or able to) keeping the Xbox One connected to the internet could continue to play games using discs while also allowing those with always-on Xbox One consoles the privileges of sharing their libraries. Doing so would have also helped ease the console gaming populance as a whole into Microsoft's ideal digital age once the next Xbox comes out. However, instead of simply toning down the changes, Microsoft has completely backtracked, and now no one wins. Sigh.

What are your thoughts on Microsoft's latest changes to the Xbox One? Was it the right move, or were you looking forward to increased freedom with your digitally-downloaded games?

Also read:

Source: Xbox Wire

June 19, 2013 | 09:22 PM - Posted by mAxius

xbox done

June 19, 2013 | 10:11 PM - Posted by ElfFriend (not verified)

good thing that they reconsidered their always on policies but they got rid of some fairly cool features that could affect us (PC gamers) since if they had digital sharing and selling used digital copies, then valve would very likely steal the features and use them in steam. now however since there is not "competition" they might not implement those features:( and I was very much looking forward to them...

June 20, 2013 | 02:49 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

You didn't even mention that Giant Bomb is the first to break the story.

June 20, 2013 | 02:51 AM - Posted by TaylorH (not verified)

I agree. I think they could have stuck with their plan and simply required you to go online after 24 hours or put the disk in the console.
They would suddenly have a leg up on Sony by having both solutions.

June 20, 2013 | 04:50 AM - Posted by razor512

It looks like it will need activation for the first use of a game, meaning games you have or played, will not work when Microsoft kills the servers.

It also means if you have no internet, then you cannot play new games.

June 20, 2013 | 12:25 PM - Posted by Edgar (not verified)

Read it again, the only time it needs to be online is when setting up the console. Not required to play new games.

June 20, 2013 | 07:20 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

By a M$ XBox and bend over and get XBoned, get a laptop with windows 8 and secure boot, and BOHICA(Bend Over Here It Comes Again), for some more M$ pain! The M$ walled garden of locked in with no way out, sounds like the big house to me!

Around M$, be sure to Keep Your Soap On A Rope!

June 20, 2013 | 08:26 AM - Posted by MarkT (not verified)

Thing that struck me is they took away the share feature

June 20, 2013 | 08:35 AM - Posted by Zicoz (not verified)

I was afraid this would happen, the crying choir got its way and we lost the awesome features that came as a result of the online checkin. Hopefully Microsoft can trickle then back in soon.

June 20, 2013 | 11:39 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

And then M$ dangles some jucy greens (Share ,awesome features), as the astroterf herders say are being pulled, to punish the outcryers! But M$ is just playing a game of carrot and stick, in front of all the little Xbox Sheeples, yes A jucy carrot, says the Redmond CEO dressed in sheep's clothing! A carrot on a stick to lead the hungry little Xbox Sheeples, into the garden gate, and as the gate slams shut, the walled garden, transforms into a meat processing plant, with the sounds of bandsaws and runing machinery!

June 20, 2013 | 03:45 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I think as soon as they start selling units they will go back to there first policy. There only temporarily saying this to get you to buy a Xbox one. Once you buy they can do whatever they want.

October 12, 2013 | 12:51 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

This is awesome
Get your Xbox 360 at the best Price + Free Shipping

November 14, 2013 | 11:27 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I think we'll be playing these consoles for a long time to come. It seems like Sony and Microsoft aren't interested in continuing to develop consoles. According to this report, we've reached our limit, technologically, so no more next gen systems after the PS4 and Xbox One.

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