Thursday, June 20, 2013

Microsoft Listened! DRM Out of XboxOne

It was the big story yesterday and I totally didn’t talk about it. But you all already knew so why rehash the same stuff over and over again? Well now that the push to “break the story first” has died down, we can start analyzing Microsoft’s decision.

Oh for those of you who haven’t read, they’re reversing some of their decisions with the XBoxOne after seeing the post-E3 reaction and Sony clearly dominating them in some fantastic web-marketing. And holy crap was everyone talking about it. Everyone. Talking. About. It

That’s a lot of links, and I didn’t even waver into FoxNews territory. Though I’m sure they have a story too.  (Eh, close enough.)

Microsoft has decided to completely drop their non-DRM, DRM policy. So no more of that 24-hour (or 1-hour if you’re on a friend’s XboxOne) system check. There is a one-time initial set-up that does require an internet connection, but that’s it. No more after that. Games can be played offline, just as you can with any system today. Now that is a major win not only for us, but for a huge portion of Microsoft’s market, the military. Traded, borrowed, used games? Restrictions removed as well. You can play to your hearts content without the system checking and spamming you for money just to play a game you borrowed or purchased used.  

Great! There are the things so many gamers were concerned about and Microsoft listened to our feedback. While I do think that it’s a little too late, and it will take effort for Microsoft to rebuild its brand, this assurance to customers is quite nice. Guess what people? As consumers, we have power! If enough of us make our voices known and provide a reasonable response to something we don’t like, companies can change their products.

The internet memes will not die.
Sorry Microsoft.
Of course with the good comes the bad. Part of the reason Microsoft had this non-DRM, DRM policy was to allow for a virtual library to be available to consumers. Well now that’s gone. Apparently there isn’t a better way to authenticate that you are the owner of said games without directly connecting to the system every 24 hours. *shrugs* Also, the “share” game feature will be out too. Since the used game market is back on the list, you have to do it like we do now, or the old days, and physically hand your disc to your friend and not have a digital version you can send to their system.

Truthfully, the exclusion of some features is fine by me. While the lack of a travelling digital library seems silly considering how simple it would be to set one up AND have a valid verification system, I’m willing to accept that loss in order to remove their non-DRM, DRM policy. While many of us are resigned to the PS4 since Sony gave us, well, everything we wanted and expected without flip-flopping, Microsoft may just have a chance to save themselves. Maybe not this holiday season, but next? Next year they might have a chance. The system is still $100 more than the PS4 and now comes with less features. The PS4, from a value standpoint, is offering more for less. Not to play favorites, but Microsoft, you probably should have done some focus groups before developing the XboxOne (still, a stupid, name).

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