Microsoft’s eyebrow-raising reversal of its Xbox One DRM policies has been in the works for some time, corporate vice president of Xbox Marc Whitten has said, but Microsoft wanted to tell the “complete story” before it made such a dramatic public reversal.
Speaking to Polygon, Whitten agreed that public opinion – cited by Xbox executive Don Mattrick as the primary motivator for the changes – has been strongly against DRM policies ever since they were first hinted at during the Xbox One reveal.
“What we wanted to do was tell our complete story,” Whitten said of the delay in letting gamers know things had changed.
“We knew our complete story was partially told at the Xbox One unveil and partially told at E3. We wanted to put our story out there and show the great games we have coming. We did that and people gave us a ton of feedback.”
The “complete story” included a number of features which, thanks to today’s reversal, have been thrown out the window – sharing your games library with up to nine other household members; taking your full games library to a friend’s house just by logging in on their machine; and the ability to play without a disc. These conveniences weren’t enough to keep gamers on side, it seems, so Microsoft has returned to a more conservative model.
There are some positive changes though, notably that the console will be region-free, but also should you take your disc to a friend’s house and install it there, they have the option to purchase it after you leave, saving them the hassle of getting their own disc; it will be as if they bought it from Xbox Live.
It’s worth remembering that the DRM changes don’t make the Xbox One an offline console; games which require cloud processing will need an always-on Internet connection, like any MMO or online multiplayer game.
“You have to be connected [for cloud processing to work]. All of the things that require the internet will require the console to connect. We want and expect most people to take advantage of those things, but we also want to give people the choice that they can play offline,” Whitten said.
Finally, Whitten could not give any reassurance that Microsoft will not change its policies in the future.
“There are our policies and we are really excited about them. By adding them we have shown that we are definitly listening,” he said.