Microsoft Backpedaling on Xbox One DRM Policies




In a stunning turn of events, Microsoft has announced that they are pulling many of the DRM requirements for the Xbox One. The official statement outlines a drastic change in the online and used game policies. Giant Bomb provides a quick reference list of the changes:

  • No more always online requirement

  • The console no longer has to check in every 24 hours

  • All game discs will work on Xbox One as they do on Xbox 360

  • Authentication is no longer necessary

  • An Internet connection is only required when initially setting up the console

  • All downloaded games will function the same when online or offline

  • No additional restrictions on trading games or loaning discs

  • Region locks have been dropped

The full statement is available here:

This news is incredibly surprising. Microsoft took a gamble with the DRM policies, and lost dramatically. The public backlash was loud and angry, but even with the incredibly vocal outpouring, it was never assumed that Microsoft would change the DRM policies before the console was actually released! We can count this as a victory for the people of the Internet who were outspoken in their opposition to the Xbox One DRM.

With the major DRM detriments stripped away from the Xbox One, the next gen console race is back with a vengeance. Now, the only major differences between the two consoles are price and game selection. This is a good thing. This will drive both companies to compete by either dropping the price, which is good for consumers, or continually support the development of awesome new games, also good for consumers, but also for game developers as each company will be attempting to lure games into exclusivity by making advantageous offers to the devs.

I wonder what Sony’s response to these sudden, sweeping changes will be.  In one swoop Microsoft eliminated some of Sony’s favorite marketing talking points.  The only thing that could shake up the next-gen environment any more would be an Xbox One price drop, but I sincerely doubt that will happen for months. But, I also said that about DRM reform.

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