Microsoft has confirmed "certain polices" pertaining to its DRM control with Xbox One have been changed, such as 24-hour check-ins, "no limitations" to using and sharing disc-based games, and more. Full report below.
After trying to push the benefits of its new policies announced with the console such as the aforementioned, and causing all sorts of arguments on the Internet, the firm actually reversed its some of its polices - something I have never, personally, seen a company do in such a capacity.
The retraction heard around the world
Microsoft made the following changes pertaining to its Xbox One policies this afternoon:
- 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.
Don Mattrick, president of the interactive entertainment business at Microsoft also issued a statement, saying the firm took into consideration all the feedback it has received on its Xbox One policies, stating said feedback assisted the firm with reshaping "the future of Xbox One."
"Last week at E3, the excitement, creativity and future of our industry was on display for a global audience," reads the statement from Mattrick.
"For us, the future comes in the form of Xbox One, a system designed to be the best place to play games this year and for many years to come. As is our heritage with Xbox, we designed a system that could take full advantage of advances in technology in order to deliver a breakthrough in game play and entertainment. We imagined a new set of benefits such as easier roaming, family sharing, and new ways to try and buy games. We believe in the benefits of a connected, digital future.
"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.
"So, today I am announcing the following changes to Xbox One and how you can play, share, lend, and resell your games exactly as you do today on Xbox 360. 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.
"Thank you again for your candid feedback. Our team remains committed to listening, taking feedback and delivering a great product for you later this year."
Changes in the works for quite some time
Microsoft’s DRM policies have apparently been in the works for a while according to Xbox corporate VP Marc Whitten. According to a statement given to Polygon which we reported here, Whitten said the firm wanted the consumer to know the “complete story” before it made an announcement regarding policy changes.
“What we wanted to do was tell our complete story,” Whitten said . “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.”
Still, even with the changes, players will still have to be connected online for the cloud features to work, so if your game uses the cloud, you will have to be online to play it.
"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. “These are our policies and we are really excited about them. By adding them we have shown that we are definitely listening,” he said.
Speaking to IGN a little later, Whitten confirmed that players will still need to install games; have a Kinect plugged in; and download a day-one update to use their new consoles.
Major gaming retail chain GameStop, which makes a significant portion of its revenue from the used games market, has expressed delight in the news.
"This is great news for gamers and we applaud Microsoft for understanding consumers and the importance of the pre-owned market," a representative said.
The chain's shares rose 6% following Microsoft's announcement.
"Today is a win/win for consumers, as well as GameFly. I think choice is always important and now consumers have more choice. And I give [Microsoft] credit for listening to their consumers," co-founder Sean Spector said.
An earlier report from Giant Bomb stated the announcement of these changes would be come sometime today, and that the firm would be dropping the 24-hour check ins, region locking, always online requirements, and that additional restrictions on trading games or loaning discs would be dropped.
Of course the caveat - and there's always one or two - is you can no longer share digital titles with friends or family. And while its nice the system won't be region locked, some games manufacturers may still put regional restrictions on games, much like with Xbox 360 currently.
Xbox One is out this November.