Microsoft pulls an Xbox One-Eighty on DRM Policies
A Lesson in Humility
The biggest news out of E3 was the announcement of the PS4 and the Xbox One. Unfortunately for Microsoft’s new Xbox system, the second biggest news to come out of E3 was the ridiculously dictatorial policies the Xbox One would bring with its arrival: 24-hour check ins, no offline gameplay, pay to play used games, strict region locks, and scarily lenient privacy loopholes– among many other criticisms.
So when they suddently announced a complete reversal of the policies that were major the points of criticism, Microsoft said it was “listening” to its fanbase.
I have some serious doubts about that.
The updates announced are as follows:
- Offline gameplay. Games downloaded from the internet will work offline, so long as they are not multiplayer.
- Games will not have to be linked to single accounts, thus opening up sharing and trading with other gamers.
- No more 24-hour required check in
- No more region locks
- No more family sharing plan.
As a disclaimer, I am (and will probably always be) a Playstation girl. I am not without bias. However, even people who were diehard Xbox fans felt a bit betrayed– here is a system that is $100 more expensive than the competitor, saddled with tons and tons of rules and restrictions that are frighteningly reminiscent of “Big Brother”, and you can’t even trade or buy used games without paying extra. The exploitation of gamers’ information (and wallets) was blatant.
Though the new reversal is a glimmer of hope for Xbox fans everywhere, it’s hard to feel like Microsoft has redeemed itself. The bad press and fan reaction is already solidified, and even with the policy change there are still many legitimate criticisms surrounding price, accessibility, and what, exactly, Microsoft needs those loosey-goosey privacy policies for. It’s already made its original intentions for the console clear, and if that was the original plan for the Xbox One then it is very possible that future updates will be returning slowly to that model.
It’s also worth mentioning that they sounded pretty grudgingly defensive of the original console concept in their announcement:
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.
So, basically, they stand behind their first ideas but will make some changes so as to not shoot themselves in the foot with the gaming populace more than they already have.
Good luck with that, Microsoft.