June 19, hot button topic for video games has undoubtedly been Microsoft back peddling in ways gamers only dreamed they would! All day industry sources were anonymously confirming and denying the news that Microsoft was reversing its online and DRM strategy. Earlier in the morning a source close to Aggressive Comix had posted a private Facebook status saying it was wise to bide our time, but the news was looking good. Then at 2:00 PST Xbox Wire updated their Q&A page with what can only be described as a very formal apology letter to consumers. Although judging by the tone the company clearly was not happy to write it.
Let us share with you the good news! For starters, internet connectivity is no longer required for single player games, after a one-time installation. This means that there is no worry if you’re going to be a soldier deployed for years at a time, or simply don’t live in an area with reliable internet connection. Trading, lending, re-selling, gifting games are no longer an issue. Developers will have to bite the bullet if their games are not being sold and or being re-sold to retailers like GameStop or Ebay. Consumers were outraged by the strict DRM policies put forth by Microsoft, in an attempt to cut off the money hard copy sales were bleeding. But with the help of Sony’s E3 presentation and a few smart remarks on the side of Nintendo, Microsoft got the message. Fans were not going to side with the One in this console war without the controversial used game policies being revoked.
In addition, the Xbox One won’t be regionally locked and will offer the ability to play downloaded games offline. New releases will be available day one of the game’s release and will be offline playable immediately. However, because the games will not be restrictive across the board, Microsoft had to cut off some of the perks offered by the One announced during their media briefing at E3. For example, digital downloaded games will no longer be able to be shared with your friends or resold as they would have had phsyical copies remained restricted. So, if you don’t like DRM restrictions it is suggested that you don’t purchase games via download. This will work exactly the same was as Microsoft’s current game policies on the Xbox 360.
Features such as the ability to immediately switch between games as demonstrated during the Xbox Reveal in May will also no longer work because the disk will have to remain in the tray while playing. There will be no option to upload the games to cloud, even though Microsoft claims that it’s devotion to the mighty element hasn’t diminished. The company’s Don Mattrick assured the gamers that despite these changes, games like Forza 5 will utilize the One’s online servers and be able to make a unique experience exclusive to the One and its capabilities. Microsoft finished the Q&A post with a curt yet wordy response:
“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.”
In other words the consumers have what they want, and now Microsoft wants them to stop crying about it and buy the Xbox One console! There was no word about the Kinect camera and microphone being able to disconnect when playing a game either on or offline. Does this mean that Microsoft is in console war contention again? Tell us what you think in the comments below!