Microsoft Doubles Back on Xbox One DRM Policies - For Better or For Worse

Well, we did it! We made such a fuss about the Xbox One‘s DRM policies – which only intensified when Sony revealed the fairly DRM-free PlayStation 4 – that Microsoft pulled a 180 and is reversing a lot of their decisions, namely the online checks and their used game policy.

Those without stable Internet connections can breathe a sigh of relief, as users will no longer be required to check in online once every 24 hours in order to continue playing their games. There will be a one-time online setup, but after that, you’ll never have to connect to the Internet again in order to play disc-based games.

Used games will no longer require a fee to play. Used games can be lent, sold, and traded just like before, without any issues.

Additionally, region locks have been dropped, and I’m happy for those living in countries that weren’t initially supported.

This comes at a cost, however. Microsoft is nixing the 10-friend game sharing plan, at least for the time being. Also, since your physical games will no longer be tied to your account, you won’t be able to access them remotely.

Like most people, I was blown away that Microsoft was actually going through with this. At this point in gaming, the sheer mention of DRM is enough to send most gamers into a frenzy, so to actually go so far as to cripple the used games market was a bold move. Microsoft had to have seen this backlash coming, so the only thing that makes sense is that they expected Sony to do the same, which would just force gamers to deal with it. Obviously Sony didn’t, and after E3 2013, it seemed like the Xbox One’s days were already numbered.

The region locking was crap. According to Xbox tech support, the region locking may have prevented the console from working at all in certain countries, and these were countries (like Japan) that housed developers who are developing games for the very console that they can’t play. That’s just wrong.

The daily online checks, even though they’re only daily, may be a little much when you consider the ramifications of not being able to check in on a certain day. For those with stable connections, it wouldn’t have been a problem. Still, I can’t believe that now having daily checks hurts Microsoft in any significant way.

The used games thing, however, could’ve led somewhere great. And this is coming from someone who’s perpetually broke. When this policy was first announced, Ben Kuchera over at Penny Arcade defended it, and one of his reasons was that more money going to developers could lead to frequent and better sales, not unlike Steam. Of course there’s no telling if he’s right, or if developers would just pocket all of that extra money without passing any of it on, but it’s definitely worth thinking about.

All the Xbox One’s DRM policies dissuaded me from doing was buying a console at launch, which I likely won’t be able to afford anyway. I was very interested and even a little excited to see where things went. Simply put, while the used games fees weren’t great for consumers, it would’ve ideally led to a healthier industry, which would be better for everyone.

I feel like there’s already a new war being waged between those who supported Microsoft’s new direction and those who fiercely opposed it. Nobody did anything wrong. Microsoft was trying something different. Consumers were angry that choices were being taken away. Everyone was well within their rights. It was good of Microsoft to listen to the people.


Via Destructoid

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