Microsoft Reverses Xbox One DRM Policies; No More Used Game Restrictions or Required Online Check-Ins

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Posted June 19th, 2013 at 1:45 pm

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In a stunning policy reversal Microsoft has announced the Xbox One will no longer feature built-in DRM restrictions and a mandatory check-in online every 24 hours. Ever since the press conferences at E3 last week the company had taken a pounding in the media and with consumers while the PS4 dominated in pre-orders by taking its place as a perceived savior for gamers and the industry as a whole.

The article over the weekend declaring the PS4 as the home for sports gamers laid out the drawbacks of The One facing consumers. It was $100 more, lacked MLB, and restricted the sale of games, ability to play used games, rent games, or share games – making the value of third party games much higher on the PS4.

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.

The moves made today by Microsoft puts the console on more even ground though a few arguments still remain in the favor of the PS4. It’ll have the premier (and likely only) MLB game, packs in a headset, and is still $100 cheaper. However the One does offer some exclusive content for EA Sports games, packs in Kinect (which some may consider a positive and others a negative), and has the TV features and NFL deal which little is still known about. At the very least there is justification there for someone to say the $100 is providing value to them.

Last night on Late Night host Jimmy Fallon referred to the PS4 as the only place where used games would be able to be played in the next-generation. That casual perception – and Fallon did the same foretelling of the Wii U’s woes by once referring to it as a controller add-on for the Wii – may have been the tipping point. Articles in the New York Times and other mainstream publications – it wasn’t just the gaming blogs making noise – had to have been especially alarming for Microsoft and the pre-order numbers didn’t lie.

Third party pressure could have played a part here as well. Publishers had to be analyzing not just pre-order numbers but how the value of their games on one console would be greater than the other and the confusion it would create at retailers. They needed things to balance back out – especially when that comes to someone like EA who recently cozied up to Microsoft and was staring big losses in the face if the PS4 outpaced the One so drastically.

The question now is one of trust. Microsoft could not just flip-flop on their policies and return the DRM and online check-in later without facing lawsuits for doing so. That may not be reassuring for everyone though. In addition the condescending manner in which Microsoft executives have treated consumers in the last month shouldn’t just be instantly forgotten. They need to do, and say, the right things leading up to the console launch to earn back the favor of gamers.

In what is surely no coincidence Amazon has added more stock for the Xbox One Day One edition. There are also still multiple PS4 Launch Day bundles available. Not a bad idea to pre-order both and if deciding between the two cancel later (Amazon doesn’t charge until a product ships so no penalty for cancelling until then).

Today’s news represented an enormous win for consumer rights. The choice between the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 becomes a much more difficult one – and ultimately that is a good thing for everyone.

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  • Keith.

    Speaking of flip flops, I wonder where this decision leaves EA with its Online Pass. They sounded pretty unequivocal last week that Online Pass is gone for good, but I just can’t see the WCIA giving up the used game fight so easily. Gonna be interesting to see how things shake out from here.

  • Check84

    And the Internet has made the gaming industry take 10 steps backwards. Good job.

    • Just a guy

      If you think it was JUST the internet that did this, you live in a very sheltered world.

      • Dylan Favorite

        Categorically incorrect. The money talked, per orders were rumored to be coming in at about 8-1

  • The Great Leon

    Damage control.

    Still will wait til price drops.

  • Tazdevil20

    Wow… It will come down to how good Sony’s online service is going to be. Also, the fact that I HAVE to have Kinect is stupid. I’m still making the switch to the PS4. MS burned their bridge with me.

    • thealphaturtle

      well you don’t have to use the kinect… it can easily be turned off…

      • http://pastapadre.com/ pastapadre

        Not sure if “turned off” is the right way to say it. It has to be connected for the console to even work but you can “pause” its functionality.

  • ALex

    Hey Pasta, does this mean your going to get a xbox one now/

    • http://pastapadre.com/ pastapadre

      I was always going to get both, but PS4 would’ve been for third party games. Unsure now if that’ll change but we’ll see.

  • dreneel

    Oh shit!!! Pasta, does that mean we switch back?

    • http://pastapadre.com/ pastapadre

      I think the best course of action is pre-ordering both and making the determination later. There’s still more to be learned about the consoles and the approach from publishers.

  • Scotty

    I’m still going PS4. Microsoft has looked terrible the last few months. It’s hard to trust them. The Microsoft Fanboys will go crawling back to them, but the better console is still the PS4.

  • Dylan Connolly

    oh my GOD this is HUGEEE news! Pasta, what do you think on your opinions of the ps4 and Xbox One now?? knowing all these facts would you still go with the PS4? man crazy news

  • Sam Nelson

    Yo Pasta! Do you think this news changes your views that we should all get PS4′s for next gen gaming for sports titles?

  • Arrowe76

    They had no choice. It’s not that Sony was winning the war as much as them losing it. Their wounds were entirely self-inflicted and they transformed what should’ve been a momentum for winning the previous console war into a desperate battle to keep up.

    • Iown You

      MS looks completely pathetic right now. They’ve damaged their reputation with this blunder so much that it will probably take the entire next generation to repair it. It just goes to show you that the everyday person should never be intrigued by people with higher institutionalized education and the prestige of wealth, because at the end of the day a lot of these bigwigs are nitwits with nice sounding job titles and overblown educational credentials.

      Think about it; all of these experienced and educated people got into a room at Microsoft and came up with those dumbass ideas, and it took a worldwide revolt from its consumer base for them to back out of it.

      After that, it just doesn’t matter. I’ve lost confidence in Microsoft gaming with this one, and I can’t see myself purchasing an XBOX One, ever. Someone will have to gift it to me, and even then I won’t be pressing anyone for it. They’ve lost me.

      • Jmac

        Sometimes educated book smart people are the dumbest people when it comes to COMMON SENSE.

  • Buddie117

    Yes I was going to get the xbox one anyway but now I can cancel my ps4 preorder. Xbox back to king of sports!!!!!

    • MRnice

      king of sports?! troll, last time i checked xbox doesnt have a baseball game. thats right NO baseball game.

  • Jeff

    Amazing! Was starting to go off track a bit to Sony, but now I am back to XBOX. Liked their exclusives better, cant get used to a Sony controller ( I have a ps3) and I can find some use for the TV/ Kinect stuff for my entertainment system set up. Thanks for helping with the push to get this stuff DRM/Online acceptable for the public Pasta!

    • MRnice

      there aren’t that many good exclusives to xbox. you cant suggest any new franchise is going to be a success without playing it. sony will have just as much exclusives but you have to realize that they take pride in realize they focus on quality rather than fast tracking.

      The way I see it Halo, Gears of War are xbox’s successful exclusive franchises. Dead Rising is pretty repetitive/lacking of good storylines and doesnt stack up to sony’s zombie games. Ryse, etcs are just gimmicky. looking cool, doesnt mean it will play well or have a decent story.

      Quantum dream, and Naughty dogs will produce better exclusives than anything mircosoft comes up with. Since they have an amazing track record. Titanfall was amazing but guess what its not fully exclusive PC and Xbox 360 releases.

  • bigC24

    Very happy for consumers. Very disappointed for developers.

    • Dylan Favorite

      I am sick of hearing talk about developers being saved by DRM. Payments are made between publishers and developers well before release. Sure some of the executives on the development side get bonuses based and reviews and sales post release. They go only to an elite few though. Post release is for the publishers to make their money. The only people getting a monetary benefit from DRM is the super rich massive publishers! Fuck DRM, don’t believe the woe is me hype. It’s manufactured to get the money out of YOUR pockets.

      • bigC24

        You’re absolutely correct about the payment structure between publishers and developers. However, when a publisher does not receive the money they might expect, they are more likely to cease making future payments to developers to make new titles. So you’re definitely right that the majority of developers will not see anything from a title currently on the market, but the issue isn’t with the current title, its with how that title’s success determines if they get to make another game.

  • dhall

    That was just a matter of time before they were put to sleep by Sony’s sleeper hold. They had to tap out.

  • DMeehan

    Well Xbox wins in my book

  • Hello I’m DEV

    XboxONE went out like sum ol’ BITCHES ..lolol..thank you baby jesus! i already started telling my friends list persons on xbox live goodbye and madden 25 was my fairwell tour

  • TD

    Nope, not a difficult choice at all. Microsoft spit in our faces and only changed course when the pre-sale numbers proved we were in the right.
    Do the right thing because it’s right, not because your hand is forced.

    • Nino Marley

      Now how about that price

    • Phil

      I am still keeping my xbox360 for a year and getting a PS4 or and xbox one next november after I see what people are saying about them, they are pretty much the same thing. If microsoft can do something incredible with the kinect they are making me buy with it then maybe it is worth it or if one of them breaks down easy then I wont get that, I wasted $100 on my xbox 360 getting the red ring of death

  • cush2push

    Now lower the price eat a little crow now MS and move on

  • R

    It shows Microsoft has no idea what gamers want. Xbox One is now trying to be like and keep up with PS4 after losing it’s consumers. So why would you buy a X-One when PS4 and Sony got it right straight away? They know what we want. Xbox One was doomed from day one.

  • rockchisler

    Im a xbox fan boy who has both Ps3 and a 360 but Microsoft has some making up to do like a cheating husband . Im getting both but ps4 is a first day purchase.

  • Travis

    So, here’s the bad news….

    Now you can’t do the cool feature of installing a disc to the cloud and accessing your game library anywhere you sign in at any time. Now you have to use the disc and get off the couch to change it. To be honest, I was looking forward to buying a game on Amazon for $30, free shipping, installing the game and throwing the disc away. Then I could play my entire library no problem, as long as my internet was cooperating.

    I know, I know.. games will still be released digitally by microsoft. Problem is the price. Amazon does sales all the time. Microsoft keeps old games at full price for quite awhile before they dip.

    Just my opinion. Carry on!

    • HFIELDS33

      In addition the previous policies would have driven down the price of digital media much sooner now i doubt we will see digtal games availabile for less than physical copies anytime soon.

      • Dylan Favorite

        Yea because the old games on games for windows were sooooo cheap. The best predictor of future results is previous actions. They would not have lowered the price a dime even way after release. Why should they of. They Intended to monopolize the market as the maker, seller, and reseller.

        • HFIELDS33

          You do realize that If that statement:( “The best predictor of future results is previous actions.” )

          were true these policies would have never been proposed. A better predictor would be to look at how the marketplace for steam has evolved.

        • Skopin

          Why wouldn’t they lower the price? Look at how Steam operates. There are deals there all the time. Not to mention sports titles that come out on a yearly basis lose value very quickly.

  • Hello I’m DEV

    Pasta needs to write an article on the price is too high next so we can get it knocked down to 399 too…winner winner chicken dinner

    • Phil

      They are the same price, microsoft is just making you pay for the kinect, so maybe with enough pressure they can remove that and have a $399 xboxone

      • Hello I’m DEV

        good point..but you gotta have the kinect to play the box

  • huh?

    hate to say it, but Kinnect is the big problem 4 me, what about disconnecting kinnect?

    • bb86

      If you disconnect it the console wont work. Seriously.

      • Logan Morrison

        MSoft has stated several times that you can turn off the functions of the kinect if you choose to, but it still has to be plugged in

  • Robbie Boss

    Microsoft, you dun goofed. You cant change that now.

  • James Monroe

    They took out all the online policies I was looking forward to. Game sharing and no discs, yes I can buy digital but it would have been nice for the disc based game to follow suit. I guess the big question know is what will the digital store prices be like now they’ve hand to bend to their customers. They better fluctuate prices amazon style if they want the digital side to catch on, or we’ll be stuck in the dark ages on consoles for another decade it looks like.

  • rinodino

    Probably still ps4, but this is still a big win for consumers, which is all good in my book

  • http://pastapadre.com/ pastapadre

    It was never going to be that simple anyway. There was ZERO chance EA was just going to allow 11 people to share a single copy of one of their games. Third parties would have simply opted out of that – or there would have been a catch that Microsoft avoided discussing (they never fully laid out their plan for the sharing).

    • Skopin

      I’m pretty sure that while you could share your entire game library, only one person could play it at a time. So even if I shared a digital game with you, we couldn’t play together unless we both owned it. I think that’s how it was going to be set up.

      • http://pastapadre.com/ pastapadre

        There are now multiple sources saying the family share thing was just an extended demo program. One said 15-45 minutes then you had to buy it to continue and another said 60 minutes. Regardless of the time allotted it wasn’t what people wanted it to be, and this makes far more sense as a possibility than having free reign to share games between 10 people.

        There’s a reason Microsoft didn’t hype up the feature. It wasn’t anything great.

  • MBird

    Doesn’t really matter to me, since the announcement of the PS4 and Sony’s lack of a slap to the face of consumers, I was heavily in the PS4′s corner. Microsoft should’ve known that they wouldn’t be able to handle the backlash from consumers if they were to show their hand before Sony did with such controversial and anti-consumer features. The real question is, can you really trust Microsoft after what they tried and failed to accomplish? I’m sure by the end of the year many will have forgotten anyway. Does this announcement possibly put a little strain in the new Microsoft-EA relationship? That would be interesting if EA had to reverse course now and add more consumer ire to their company.

  • Deff

    Great news. Everyone who thought people shouldnt speak out was dead wrong and we helped enact positive change. Pasta thanks for your part in that too.

    • Iown You

      Yes, Pasta did a great job with this. We all did. We exploded on Microsoft and spoke with our wallets by pre-ordering the PS4 instead of the One.

      Now if only this type of rising up could’ve happened with football video games and against EA/Tiburon all these years. Where would be today with football video games instead of what we have now which is basically being stuck in 2004 playing a 2013 football game that still hasn’t caught up?

  • Martin

    Awesome, now i’m actually happy I pre ordered a one.

  • Jeff Englund

    I live in Microsoft central along with Pasta, and try to support them, but the ill will they’ve generated with me isn’t fixed with this change. I’ve had several 360s die, the fact that Netflix and other other features are behind a Gold account, and now this just ridiculous DRM policy. I know they are a business, trying to make money, but the customer has to feel valued, and I don’t feel that way with MS anymore. I love my PS3 and will stick with the PS4 as my only next gen gaming machine for the next few years.

  • CJRAMS

    KEITH EA DROPPED THERE ONLINE PASSES ALREADY…AND THIS IS GREAT THAT MICROSOFT DROPPED THIS CHECK IN SHIT TOO,CUZ I WAS LEANING TOWARDS PS4 FOR SURE

  • Jmac

    The moral of this story is don’t piss off your buying public. I think Microsoft got the message, now drop the price another 50 bucks.

    • Iown You

      Lose Kinect and drop it $100. We’re obviously not playing games with Microsoft right now. If they don’t do what we ask they don’t get our money and they’ll have to go join the Wii U on the console scrap heap.

  • HV

    And suddenly all the DRM benefits Microsoft were trying to convince us with are not that important anymore. They’re beyond scared, even making the One region free.
    Thankfully the market worked and Sony gave us a real alternative, if they chose the same rout as the One, people would whine but still buy those DRM consoles in November.

  • clubsteve

    i’m predicting a price drop for xbox one sometime in the near future……

  • HAHAHA YES

    YEAHHH!!!!!!!!! LETS GO XBOX!!!!! GOOD S*** MY N****S !!!!!! YEAH!!!!!!!!

  • ED2kBeats

    To start off, Yes I am a Fan Boy. Of good games that is and the system doesn’t make a difference to me. I remember first hearing of the no used games thing about the next PlayStation and XBOX a while ago and figured they both would be going this direction but seems Sony changed after they heard MS’s direction.

    So first we cry foul about MS DRM and online/ cloud requirements or vision as they would call it. Then they grant these wishes and now their integrity / trust is a problem. No pleasing some people. Really how many people lend/borrow games to/from other people/friends on a regular basis like that anyway? (Gamefly.com is the answer to that and you could probably get it cheaper there than your friend who bought it at retail.)

    MS has done nothing personal to any of us and tried to introduce a product they felt was innovative and did things differently. Sony stayed the course and tried to introduce a product they felt was innovative and didn’t do much different.

    In the end MS is a corporation just like Sony, Apple, EA, etc…. so they will always lookout for their own even if that means having to change things up and look like fools. Both MS and Sony are about their business and money first and foremost, so lets not get it twisted with all this they care about us and listened to the consumer crap. We all should know that and should not get so worked up about stuff like this.

    As with last generation more power doesn’t mean better and there still is more to be seen from both systems. PS4 and Xbox One games both look hot and I’m getting both eventually but only one at launch. Can’t go all BALLA like that around Christmas. “I got kids to feed.” L. Sprewell

  • Sonynotimpressingme

    Until Sony proves the online experience will be better than what it is today I’m sticking with Xbox Live…sorry but songs online sucks…I stopped buying MLB the show when I couldn’t actually get online games because of their garbage network and crappy online setup….live is 100x better. Now that MS isn’t restricting the content…I’m happy to reserve my console…and for people whining about the $100 difference…the camera alone for the PS4 is $60…and it won’t let you do all the stuff by voice the 360 will….the value is there….don’t be a sucker and listen to the fanboys and get the second hand console….MS isn’t stupid…they’re partnering with the right folks….and their family plans and things they offer are good. I can’t tolerate putting new games in my PS3 and having to wait 30 minutes or more for a damn update to download when the game was just released that day…never has a thing like that happened on my Xbox….all u who do this and have had it happen know exactly what I’m saying…don’t sit there and deny it.

  • BetterLuckNextConsole

    A shame really. The ps4 is a ps3 with newer specs. That’s it. Period. Xbox one is a better system moving gaming forward. To bad they caved to the idiot mentality. Sharing games and steam type cheaper games > old disc that you get nothing for on trade in or sale. Especially sports games.

    Idiots:1
    Technology:0

    • grem

      In what world do you live in that games on the xbox One would have been priced like those on Steam? Get real.

    • bov8

      “Technology” isn’t who buys things. People are. Those people who made the PS4 preorders crush the Xbone. A company is going to take notice when what theyre trying to sell is dead and its months left until it even releases.

  • Enrique

    Will the PS4 have something similar to what xbox has with live parties? Like a chat or anything of that sort where u can have 8 friends in a party?

    • http://pastapadre.com/ pastapadre

      Yes. They’ll have party chat on the PS4.

  • Matt

    Pasta what is the deal with the EA and Microsoft I know this was mentioned before E3?

    • http://pastapadre.com/ pastapadre

      EA and Microsoft formed a “partnership” but they haven’t gone much into it. Only thing we know is EA Sports games will get some exclusive content on the Xbox One. FIFA 14 gets some exclusive stuff for Ultimate Team. That’s the extent of what they’ve gone into so far.

      • Matt

        So really nothing major like early release on games or anything, was leaning towards PS4 because of the DRM and Always Online now if there isn’t much in the way of exclusive stuff with EA. As a mainly sports gamer I may still sway slightly to PS4 strictly because of The Show. But your right with the preorder both and decide later approach as anything is possible at this point.

  • Timmy B Winning

    You have never had the PS3 update a game or do its long ass install bullshit in general? What bootleg PS3 you playing?

  • Jmills

    This whole “you’ll do as I say” mentality by a company is very disturbing to me but then I read some comments from people willing to conform to this mentality is very, very troubling to me. I cannot fathom any situation where this type of strategy would be be beneficial to the consumer. Luckily there are still enough people like me to make Microsoft change their minds. I still will not be purchasing a x-box 1 this time around.

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