Microsoft Backpedals On DRM and Other Policies

Xbox 180

I am a little late to the party on this one. Anyways, here we go.

The other day, Microsoft has given in to pressure from the industry and more importantly, their fanbase. The announcement that you all have probably heard by now is that the new X1 will not require internet connection. Nor will it restrict the players on used games.

The pressure form this has to be start back when the X1 was officially announced during the Microsoft press conference out in Redmond, Washington. The gaming community and the internet just exploded about the original news of the X1 restricting on how, us the players, could make use of the system.  From the announcement of the plan for DRM (Digital Rights Management) to the once a day authentication, a lot of people started to get upset by this, including myself. I myself enjoy my games playing offline. Not every single game has to have multiplayer, or some kind of online interaction thrown into it. Only time I am online is when I have to be. Having to connect the X1 at least once day to authenticate itself was a big turn off for me. The used game thing wasn’t that big of a deal as I like to support the developers by buying new games. When I buy them, I keep them. There are people out there that when they beat a game, collect all the Achievements/Trophies, then they turn around and sell the game. Then use that money to buy another game. The cycle continues over and over again.

The pressure and feedback kept building all the way through E3. During the E3 Press Conference there was speculation that Microsoft would go into more detail about the DRM and the other restrictions they announced a few weeks earlier. When nothing was stated about it, there was even more uproar. Immediately after the Sony E3 Conference, it was declared by gamers and even questioned by some media outlets, that Sony won the next-gen console war, before it even began. Personally I think that was the final straw for Microsoft. Once they saw the pre order numbers going strongly into the favor of Sony, they had to do something quick. Then came the latest announcement.

Major Nelson has been quoted as saying “We can’t just flip a switch to turn off DRM. The console was built around it.” Apparently the “switch” is able to be switched after all. Supposedly the switch will not be flipped on the consoles sitting on store shelves. This will happen when you connect the X1 to the internet for the very first time. It will contact the Live servers and download a day one patch. I really don’t doubt that the PS4 will have a day one patch, within the first week I bet there will be. The reason the X1 patch stands out so much is because of this announcement.

Don Mattrick has been quoted on a few things regarding this new announcement. “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.”  Another quote from him just to cement his previous quote “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.”

As with some things, once something changes you lose something else. This is no different. For starters, the Family Plan, has been removed. This allowed you to share your X1 games with up to nine other family members. Now there doesn’t seem to be any restrictions on that either.

Another thing that we lost is taking your entire game library with you. What this means is that the X1 will not require games to be installed on to the hard drive. Which really makes sense to me, even with the X1 coming with a 500GB hard drive, it would have filled up fast. If you are going to play a disc based game then you will need the disc. We have been currently doing this for some time now, so I really don’t see any disadvantage to this. Yes, it would be nice to just go over to a friend’s house and have them play a game from your library without carrying anything over, but honestly, how hard is it to bring a game with you.

I will admit, that after hearing Microsoft’s change of heart, I am a little more interested in the X1. I am even considering pre-ordering the Day One console at this time. Before, I wouldn’t even consider it with all the limitations they were placing on us. Now the question that pops up in my head is this, if Microsoft can make a change that seemed impossible relatively easy, what is stopping them reinstating the original policy sometime down the road? No one really knows that answer at this point. Give the console roughly a year and let’s see where it stands.

It seems like once again, Microsoft is stepping into Sony’s shadow and letting them lead the way.

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