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Microsoft does a 180 on Xbox One DRM policies

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xbox-one-logoAfter weeks of bad press, denials of policy changes and flimsy justifications for their original plans, Microsoft have back pedalled on their initial stance of 24 hour check ins, used games and digital rights management as a whole.

Here are the important bits:

  • 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.

It’s a full swing back to how things are with the Xbox 360 but I am curious why they could not apply the “Shared Game Library” initiative with digital games. They certainly could have propped that as a key selling point for their platform. I suspect they will roll that feature back out post launch.

This is an unprecedented move for Microsoft. They’ve never done a 180 like this prior to a product’s launch. Windows 8 Store received a fair amount of criticism and they didn’t budge on that. Microsoft was in the habit of making adjustments in future revisions.

So what broke the camel’s back? Was it the mainstream press and their stories about Microsoft alienating military personnel who don’t always have the luxury of a consistent internet connection? Or was it the fact that Jimmy Fallon went out of his way to highlight the fact that the PS4 can play used games? It was a little late for the latter but stranger things have transpired in the gaming space as of late.

I guess it doesn’t really matter how or why they reached their new policy stance. The end result is that the consumer now have more choices as a result of this reversal and we’re all better off for it.

Will I get an Xbox One after this policy change? Well I was planning on picking one up later on anyways. I wanted to pick one up when it reached $299.99 and/or enough worthwhile exclusives piled up. I was not going to choosing the PlayStation 4 as my primary because of its DRM policy, I chose it because of its price, its power and Sony’s Worldwide Studios.

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