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Microsoft to Pull Complete Reversal on Xbox One DRM Policies

Sources indicate Microsoft is going to move away from what's caused the company so much headache.

UPDATED: Microsoft has confirmed these policy changes are happening.

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The tug-of-war between Microsoft and Sony just got more interesting. Multiple sources inform me Microsoft will announce what amounts to a complete reversal on its DRM policies for Xbox One today.

What does this mean?

  • 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
  • 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

It is unclear what caused this huge change in policy right after E3, a week where Microsoft executives spent days explaining, justifying, and talking about its policies to the press. I suspect Microsoft’s official announcement will say something to the effect of “we've been closely listening to consumer feedback.”

Based on what I’m being told, that’s definitely true.

I've reached out to Microsoft for comment.

Microsoft has taken an enormous amount of heat regarding DRM policies with its new console. Sony became consumer heroes at E3, announcing PlayStation 4 would not treat used games differently, and the status quo would reign. The company released this video, twisting the knife:

Of course, Xbox One is still $499 and PlayStation 4 is still $399. But today moves the needle.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
851 Comments
Edited by Lnin0

Screw Microsoft, I'm not going to pay for online multiplayer!

Edited by TastyBread

@hashbrowns: It definitely seems like the vocal majority Of gamers are working hard to talk over the people that thought the Xbox One was actually a cool looking piece of kit. And they continue to be loud now even when it seems they got what they wanted from Microsoft.

It has been nearly impossible to discuss the Xbox One without being trolled for no good reason. PS fans are definitely an arrogant bunch.

Posted by Dallas_Raines

I will now gladly buy an Xbox One in two-three years after a price jump.

Posted by tescovee

I wish that they could find a middle ground. Since all the people who were bitching were never going to get one. Now we have to hear a group doing the John Kerry "flip flopping" Xbox 180 bullshit. So now the people who were going to actually buy the system have been striped of any of the compelling stuff. I hope that they make it so people who were fine with their policy's will be able to use those features that they had proposed. Microsoft really bent over to appease Jim stearlings cronies and they never were going to use the thing.

Posted by MocBucket62

About time they listened! Even though Xbox One is 100 bucks more than PS4, I think they possibly saved themselves from a disastrous launch.

Posted by alwaysbebombing

This whole thing has just gotten nuts. I love it. This is going to my generations crazy event in home gaming.

Edited by mrcraggle

As much as this sucks for #firstworldproblems, this is beneficial for consumer rights and the gaming world. MS were being downright dicks to a large majority of the world by not offering in those countries and then region locking it so importing is out of the question. This also applies to people who's internet isn't as great as others or people who have internet with download caps.

I think people have been over looking the 'family' sharing plan. Sure you can share it with my friends but if you want to go over and play a game without the disc, you're going to be sitting there for hours downloading 40+ gigs of data. While games will be able to download parts, I don't see this being the case for open world games where you'd need all of the data.

I don't want to hate against the new Xbox but MS's past don't put much faith in me that they'll actually fulfill what they want you to believe. For example:

Vista: Was meant to be a revolutionary new version of Windows that was buggy and didn't work and forced people back to XP

Xbox 360: The HD console that didn't have a HDMI port and suffered from RRoD

Zune: MP3 player that was meant to take on the iPod but MS did nothing to support it and eventually killed it (despite it actually being a very good product)

Kinect: Originally shown scanning skateboards and the like just turned into a glorified dance controller

Bing: Not very good search engine with most features missing for anyone outside the US

Windows 8: A beta product with playing catch up with Apple

Windows Phone: Their original marketing was actually showcasing using the phone less and continues to struggle finding itself within the smartphone market

This is also how Microsoft advertised the cloud back in Windows 7:

Please note that non of what happens in the above video has anything to do with the "cloud". MS spout it as a marketing buzzword to make it sound much more interesting and cool than it really is.

Posted by GrumpyBob

This is a great move on their part. HOWEVER. They should have done this during their E3 conference. They could have avoided huge headaches, and possibly won E3 (in the eyes of gamers)

Edited by Mortuss_Zero

Wow, I'm not sure I even believe my eyes. This console war just went back to being a brutal battle to the finish.

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Posted by Oginam

@zaapp1 said:

This makes Microsoft look much weaker and will probably piss off the publishers they had appeased. I'm sure they did some number crunching, but if people thought Microsoft was behind before, they definitely are now. The boxes are now identical, but one costs $100 more.

The only thing Microsoft is behind in is popular perception and some minor differences in console specs (which may or may not mean a damn thing performance wise). If there is a 6-12 month Live subscription in the box, then the $100 is easily made up by the Kinect + Live (PS4 doesn't ship with a camera, so that's $60 more if you want it) assuming Sony doesn't include a similar Plus membership (which is doubtful considering how much free stuff a Plus membership gets you).

Microsoft still easily bests Sony's network and service infrastructure, if we go by the current gen as any indication of competence or capability (see: PS3's getting bricked by an update today and a million other examples).

There is a lot we still don't know about both consoles though, but I don't see how today's news makes MS look weaker. This was a good change to policy prior to launch, which is something we should all hope for regardless of which company it is. Shit, it took Sony until the PS4 to try and make amends for the PS3 so they're not in the best of shape either.

Regardless, short of either company declaring they are making the "next WiiU", neither console is going to fail this year. MS and Sony aren't Nintendo, people will buy their consoles.

Posted by Joltdead

So i wonder what this means for the rumored subsidized Xbox One's. I wasn't 100% sold that Cable/Internet providers would see the value in bank rolling them in the first place, and now that they don't have always on it seems even less an incentive. Seems like this also Diminishes their "infinite power of the cloud" arguement, since this makes it useless to devs for anything other than online multiplayer, thus widening the console power gap.

That aside, i hope this goes a ways to making sure the Xbox is successful. Though i'll be a PS gamer again this gen, for software reasons rather than hardwar, i'm no fool. The only thing keeping any of these companies from sticking it to us with no lube is that the others exist, long live the "Console Wars"!

Posted by sickVisionz

Well, that ruins anything cool that could have been done with the cloud. If there's a chance people will be offline and unable to access it then it can't be used for anything that would actually be worth having.

Edited by DrDarkStryfe

I wonder if any of this has to do with the potential that some of these services that were attached to the DRM would not be ready within a reasonable time frame?

The fine print stated that things like family sharing might not have been available day one. What if they were not able to pin down an acceptable time frame, say by winter 2014, to have all of their original bullet points launched?

Posted by markymarc35

As i know MS here's what i think will happend.

Announce that all that have been criticised and pointed out as deal breakers for gamers will be removed from the new console so that you get customers back and they buy the console.

Only de-activate the "Features" at launch so that you aprear to be really concern and sell it as "we listen and care about you our customers".

After a year, put out a service pack to the said console and re-activate everything and say that you were presured by developpers to do so.

Voila .... easy no?

Posted by Fram

Having balls to admit they screwed up and stepping up and "correcting" their mistakes, in my opinion takes way more balls than capitalizing on popular demands despite what your personnal beliefs as a company are. Let's be honest here, Sony was gonna do the same, they just used that weakness as an advantage. Smart. What Microsoft did takes balls.

Agreed. They basically threw out everything they were talking about and started a clean slate. It'll be interesting to see if they can work on re-implementing some of the more interesting original features after launch, like their family sharing plan. If the platform is truly as flexible as they've made it out to be, it could end up evolving gradually into their original vision over time in a way that consumers don't see as being a grab for money/control.

P.S. As an Aussie, I'm super excited about the removal of region locking. Means that I could potentially buy the system from overseas and have it shipped to me for less than the cost of buying one locally, not to mention cheaper games!

Edited by Karmann

This is great news for Sony. First of all, they will now be regarded as the heroes that forced microsoft into reversing from their draconian policies, but more than that, now third party publishers will have no reason to favor one console over the other.

Posted by manbot47

You can laugh and snicker all you want but they needed to do this. Come this holiday season plenty of people will have forgotten about this whole snafu and there may actually be a competition; otherwise the Xbone would have been buried

Posted by Roboculus92

@klurfs said:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

this news is too late

there are too many preordered

console war over

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

War ain't over bro, it's just starting. Sony has been doing a way better job so far but plenty of things can still change as evidenced by what happened today. I mean let's be clear, this is a pretty large blow to Microsoft's image but this also helps even things up quite a bit with the PS4. I'm definitely curious to see how Sony will respond to this (hopefully they try to sweeten the deal with PS4 somehow, maybe price drop or extra controller/games thrown in). Either way, we the consumers win.

Edited by SpaceRunaway

Goddamn. I take a little nap and the next big round in the console war is fired. And also James Gandolfini died.

This would appear to give further credence to CBOAT's claim that Microsoft came up the the DRM ideas and were the ones proactively going to publishers.

I'm particularly interested in the region free part of this, as there were plenty of Japanese 360 games I regret missing out on. Oh...I guess Japan needs to get the Xone first. So maybe until that happens I'm not actually that interested.

Microsoft should have really announced this to a live cheering crowd.

Edited by AV_Gamer

This is no surprise and even makes Microsoft look weaker compared to Sony. Also the new Xbox is still one hundred dollars more than Sony. That alone still puts the ball in Sony's court. But like Vinny suggested, they might do the whole "No that's only for the first edition Xbox One model. You can get a stripped down version for four hundred dollars."

Ultimately, the consumer wins. This is why open competition is a good thing. Now imagine what would have happened if Sony jumped on board with the DRM restrictions and didn't go to war with Microsoft by doing a compete reversal.

Posted by Arrested_Developer

Their proposed restrictions didn't bug/wouldn't have affected me but I'm super excited that vocal critics will stop the huge negativity and dog-piling. Like George Harrison said "Games are fun, let's have fun, just don't cast Bufu on that boss."

Edited by Intangible_360

They've already lost the hardcore, and while I'm sure this will ease the anti-MS sentiment they did this because it was going to affect their sales with the mainstream. It is not hyperbole to say that this whole situation will be studied in text books of the future; used as an example to demonstrate how social media has really changed the landscape of public relations.

For better or worse all those communities that many are so quick to bemoan as stupid and pointless (i.e. reddit, 4chan, neogaf) played a huge part in keeping the pressure on long enough that it trickled up to the MSM. Hopefully Microsoft walks away from this humbled, but I doubt it.

Posted by goatmilk

A bit late, MS...

Edited by ElectricGypsy72

It seems to me that Microsoft was left holding the flaming bag of poo after E3. I am sure they did not just invent these ideas by themselves. They had talks with people who heard the heat that Microsoft was getting and NO ONE backed them up to and including E3. So, this is Microsoft saying "screw you" to all of those people who said they would support these DRM concepts (and Microsoft). It's a great showing of how much power an angry mob has to influence a bunch of scared companies. I would bet, though, that now that Pandora's Box has been opened, this will all be back for the next Next Gen summit, with much better backing.

Posted by CaptRocketblaze

I like to think that a conversation similar to this is what prompted these changes:

I'M A BUSINESS MAN IN A SUIT! NUMBERS, SPREADSHEETS, NUMBERS! EVERYTHING IS FINE!

But sir, the public perception is that we're monsters.

CHANGE EVERYTHING!

Edited by Nettacki

For better or worse all those communities that many are so quick to bemoan as stupid and pointless (i.e. reddit, 4chan, neogaf) played a huge part in keeping the pressure on long enough that it trickled up to the MSM. Hopefully Microsoft walks away from this humbled, but I doubt it.

You sure the communities had that much of an impact? I was under the impression that the XONE being decimated in the preorders by the PS4 had far larger impacts than a large number of dudes complaining on the Internet. In other words, people actually doing something to put their money where their mouths are.

Posted by courage_wolf

Well, that ruins anything cool that could have been done with the cloud. If there's a chance people will be offline and unable to access it then it can't be used for anything that would actually be worth having.

Hopefully developers have the courage to not compromise their vision to cater to the minority without internet connections. I don't want to miss out on potential new game features because 10 people living in the sticks can't get broad band. Games suffered on 360 because of the optional hard drive, I don't want games to suffer on the Xbox One because a few people can't get internet to it.

Edited by JaydeEyez

@soapy86: I feel the same way, especially since they kept sticking to their guns about their policies. Someone asked what about the gamers that do not have an internet connection, and their response was "get a Xbox 360". Pathetic. I'm still getting a PS4, they're claiming that there's a day one patch that you have to download, so we'll see what happens with that as well. There's still the issue about the Kinect bundle and the price to deal with. They're only pulling this 180 because Sony's pre-orders are so high.

Posted by dropkickpikachu

It is seriously fucked up that they spent all of e3 on message with the always online thing, hyping up all of the great benefits of it, only to have this happen. I'm absurdly interested to see what happens now.

Edited by mattmcintire31

No hard feelings microsoft we can still be friends. Plus Giantbomb's favorite games of e3 were xboners/360. Yay!

Edited by Intangible_360

@nettacki said:

@intangible_360 said:

For better or worse all those communities that many are so quick to bemoan as stupid and pointless (i.e. reddit, 4chan, neogaf) played a huge part in keeping the pressure on long enough that it trickled up to the MSM. Hopefully Microsoft walks away from this humbled, but I doubt it.

You sure the communities had that much of an impact? I was under the impression that the XONE being decimated in the preorders by the PS4 had far larger impacts than a large number of dudes complaining on the Internet. In other words, people actually doing something to put their money where their mouths are.

I would argue one naturally followed the other. Who preorders game consoles a couple weeks after their announcement and a week after E3? Mostly the hardcore that frequent those sorts of websites. I'm not even saying this was a positive thing, I personally would have preferred Microsoft to stick to their guns and explain what sort of benefits this system would offer the consumer but they were so certain that Sony was going to do basically the same thing they were completely unprepared to have their policies put under the microscope. Almost unbelievably, this may hurt them worse than the RROD.

Edited by CommanderGermanShepard

I am glad this has happened, really love my 360 and would of been sad to see the XBone become the Dreamcast.

Edited by RollingZeppelin

Good for them, I bet they did some polling and found that they would have been crazily out-sold by the PS4. This makes me actually consider getting one instead of completely disregarding it, but I think I'm still leaning toward the PS4.

At the end of the day sales volume is what counts, and this decision is entirely cost-benefit based.

Posted by CommanderGermanShepard

It is seriously fucked up that they spent all of e3 on message with the always online thing, hyping up all of the great benefits of it, only to have this happen. I'm absurdly interested to see what happens now.

I know right, now gamescom is going to the reveal of the Xbox 180.

Edited by HerbieBug

@grumpybob said:

This is a great move on their part. HOWEVER. They should have done this during their E3 conference. They could have avoided huge headaches, and possibly won E3 (in the eyes of gamers)

No, even giving hypothetical DRM parity with Sony during E3, MS still had a lot of problems. They announced a launch price $100 more than Sony, with no additional functionality in the bargain and, from current reports, no additional processing power (based on specs the Xbone is the weaker system). Kinect is still included and mandatory. They are still giving the finger to indie developers by not allowing them to sell on xbox online store without a publishing deal. They are still focusing on superfluous non-game related functionality.

Posted by zenmastah

BEEB BEEB MOTHAFUCKAS!
NICELY DONE SCOOPS!

Edited by Macinmaniac

This pisses me off so damn much, because a) they only listened when the money was talking, not us - for MONTHS they knew we didn't want this shit and they kept pushing it, but suddenly once PS4 starts selling 10/1 in preorders, "Whoops, we're listening now," but also because b) some people are going to be stupid enough to switch back, and thus no lesson will have been learned. Fuck you Microsoft. If you had listened to your customers in the first place, you wouldn't be in this mess.

Posted by Debigulator

Quite a big note to go out on. Good on ya Scoops!

Posted by Warchief

HAHA. Still give 0 fucks about the xbox one, but cool that they listened.

Posted by SargeGulp

How the west was won.

Posted by LordWysh

Still getting a PS4, just out of what they wanted to do, will do, and said in one form or another about their customers. Let the Xbox fanboys flock like sheep back to them, im done with microsoft, and yes i got a 360 but them even thinking of doing this has me done!!! I for one will welcome our new playstation overlord!!!!

Posted by ezdude

Man, whatever! I'm getting a pc.

Posted by ShadowConqueror

SCOOPS.

Edited by Wallzii

I can't help but find the irony in the Xbox 360 name right now. It wasn't called the 360 due to a full "revolution" in gaming, but more so a bit of foreshadowing for the upcoming Xbox One, which did a full 180 to bring us right back where we started and DRM free! Hah!

Yeah, I know, not funny... but still. I had to say it. By the way, I love all my gaming systems equally, I just had to stir the pot a bit.

Posted by JessicaaGoldBurst

Kinect is still too big of an issue with me, but good to see them actually realize consumers do have a breaking point.

Posted by Kiri90

Scoopz!

Posted by CraigFedynich

Thank you again for your candid blowback. Our team remains committed to listening, taking feedback and delivering a product for you later this year.

Is what Microsofts article actually says says.

Posted by TooSweet

Well I pre-ordered my PS4 so I'm sticking with that. I am glad they did their 180 though. They must have watched the numbers on pre-orders from different outlets, plus forums and social media. I'm wondering if publishers giving them exclusive releases may have had a word with them as well. As I mentioned in another post if they changed their policy I wouldn't mind owning one eventually but as of now I'm set for PS4. Titanfall will have to be on the PC for me.

We still have months to go before release. Parents who weren't paying attention are still going to buy this console for their kids during the holidays and lucky for them they won't get a nasty surprise with the DRM.

Edited by MariachiMacabre

@fram said:

Great, so now we have two black boxes with nothing to differentiate them but price, each being lauded for maintaining the status quo of a long-in-the-tooth generation of consoles we seemingly can't wait to leave behind.

If the status quo needs to be maintained for a bit while these companies figure out how to have those benefits without heavily restricting my ability to play games I bought, then so be it. I, and a lot of people, play games years (sometimes decades) after they've been relevant. With the Xbox Ones former policies, once they would have inevitably shut their servers for Xbox One down, I would have a brick when I once had a console and a bunch of games stuck on it that I can never play again. Fuck that. If they need to roll forward more slowly with some of these things in order for me to keep the shit I payed for, fine.

Posted by AURON570

WOOOWWWW, this is getting pretty crazy. Cloud game sharing was never a factor for me. I would have never used it because it would have ate up my bandwidth like it was nothing. I'm really glad they gave up the "always on" thing, that just seemed really silly.

So now we can just focus on the GAMES! Only games I care about right now are Quantum Break and MGSV, so I guess I'm leaning toward XONE for now.

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