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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 CommentsRefresh
Avatar image for wiqidbritt
Posted By WiqidBritt

@axlefgk said:

I don't know if I hate DRM more than Pussy-Footed Back Peddling...

Or you know, you could admit that you don't want to like anything they do, and your mind was already made up. They could give their games away for free and you'd Question Their Motives

Avatar image for fram
Posted By Fram

Let's all take a moment to collect ourselves, and wait patiently for the next segment.

Loading Video...

Avatar image for marcusofadown
Posted By marcusofadown

That's our scoops! Way to go Patrick :) If this is any indication of what might be possible for you when you are working from home, then seeing you leave is just a little less painful. Good work!

Avatar image for wiqidbritt
Edited By WiqidBritt

@mrfluke said:

@toowalrus: ps4 has gaikai, don't count them out on cloud stuff if thats what your thinking.

Besides jeff has said all that cloud stuff is just more for server side tech than anything else.

Gaikai isn't at all the same thing that the Xbox One cloud is. Gaikai is On Live. It's streaming Ps3 games to your Ps4.

The Xbox One cloud service is for anything the devs can think to use it for. That could be storage for updates, dedicated servers for multiplayer, or like in Titanfall, it can be used to process elements of gameplay (Titanfall runs all of the AI on the servers).

I'm not sure what you thought "The Cloud" was, but it's always been a term used to describe a server farm that you connect to off site.

Avatar image for avidwriter
Posted By avidwriter

I will die laughing if after a few months they start to slowly to put all these DRM back in over time. With M$, you never know.

Avatar image for tangoup
Edited By TangoUp

I am reminded of a quote I saw in Tom Clancy's Endwar ...

"Do not drive your enemy to despair ..." or something like that. Sony cornered Microsoft so badly at E3, that now the Xbone has become quite a viable option.

Of course the extra 100 bucks and Kinect are a problem still but other than that I think they are on equal footing now.

Avatar image for mrfluke
Posted By mrfluke

@mrfluke said:

@toowalrus: ps4 has gaikai, don't count them out on cloud stuff if thats what your thinking.

Besides jeff has said all that cloud stuff is just more for server side tech than anything else.

Gaikai isn't at all the same thing that the Xbox One cloud is. Gaikai is On Live. It's streaming Ps3 games to your Ps4.

The Xbox One cloud service is for anything the devs can think to use it for. That could be storage for updates, dedicated servers for multiplayer, or like in Titanfall, it can be used to process elements of gameplay (Titanfall runs all of the AI on the servers).

I'm not sure what you thought "The Cloud" was, but it's always been a term used to describe a server farm that you connect to off site.

its a lot more than just BC compatibility, you should watch the ps4 reveal again. and look at how combative sony has been, would not be surprised if they are able to twist the gaikai tech for sharing,

if not that, i would not be surprised if more things like this happen now. http://www.ps3trophies.org/forum/portal-2/107889-portal-2-ps3-steam-integration-faq.html

Avatar image for jazz_lafayette
Posted By Jazz_Lafayette

This just in: every Playstation 4 console to ship with one (1) coupon for a free handjob from Mark Cerny.

Avatar image for 23r23d23r23423r23r
Posted By 23r23d23er23r234f2f2

Even after they said they'd make no changes? Oh dear...strong back pedal

I guess MS felt the pressure but at least they've done the right thing

Avatar image for superkebabi
Posted By superkebabi

Biggest story on Giant Bomb ever. Makes sense considering how big of a deal this is.

Avatar image for sharkethic
Posted By SharkEthic

So, without an internet connection, the whole cloud computing/processing aspect - you know, the one that's supposed to make up for the 3 GB of RAM that's reserved for the Xbox Ones OS - is lost, and aren't offline users then just left with a massively under powered console compared to the PS4? I mean, 8 GB of DDR5 RAM (though, to be fair, the PS4 will most likely also reserve some amount of this) vs 5 GB of DDR3 seems like a pretty big deal.

Avatar image for cybexx
Posted By Cybexx

I actually thought some of the stuff about not needing the disc to play after the install, family sharing and the ability the transfer games was kind of cool and I don't really buy used games, but the 24hr thing was ridiculous I think they could have got away with needing the connection the first time to authorize the game but requiring it after that is treating everyone like pirates. That and I will sometimes buy out-of-print games off eBay or Amazon Marketplace and I like lending out my somewhat extensive library to friends so not being able to do that would kind of suck.

Then again disc based media is dying and I'll probably end up buying a lot of stuff digitally anyways. I don't think it was worth the effort to try and create new disc-based DRM policies during this generation. Sony already knew that and that is probably a large reason why they decided to keep their polices the same, its not really the real battlefield.

Avatar image for dberg
Posted By Dberg

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

This changes nothing. Flip-flopping on the issue won't make me magically trust them now. They thought that ridiculous thing up in the first place. They'll be looking for a way to put it back in effect post-launch.

Avatar image for theht
Edited By TheHT

Well fuckin done Scoops.

Avatar image for hilts
Edited By Hilts

Checks date. No it's not April 1st. Crazy!??!

Avatar image for madmackem
Posted By MadMackem

I think they pretty much had to at this point, it was getting poisonous towards ms. Every single person i knew was jumping ship, i think alot of them will now stay in the ms eco system.

Avatar image for oasisbeyond
Posted By oasisbeyond

We the people have won?????? What!

Avatar image for mikbal
Edited By mikbal

100$ cheaper, more indie games, Pc has Xbone games but not PS4 games.
I don't think i'll buy the it.

Avatar image for tpoppapuff
Posted By TPoppaPuff

So does this mean discs will be required for installed games?

Yes. And it is very safe to assume all games still are required to be installed before playing. Bandwidth alone demands at least part of these games to be installed anyways and the OS is still going to treat a disc essentially as a storage disc/download alternative rather than a program running off the disc. Think of the disc pretty much as your keys to the game. You can't use your car without a compatible set of keys. Same idea applies here.

Avatar image for cactusman
Edited By Cactusman

Props to Sony for making a savvy business decision that also reinforces consumer rights. I hope people will appreciate that without Sony's potentially risky stand (imagine the negative impact if the EA's of the world decided not to publish on Sony's platform or only ported hamstrung versions in retaliation for not jumping on the draconian DRM bandwagon) against terrible DRM we would all be saying 'I guess this is just how it is...' or 'I guess I'll skip consoles and go play PC games only...'. I hope people don't forget how ready MS was to throw certain gamers under the bus just to appease bloated publishers and pad the bottom line...

Avatar image for eatatwhiteys
Edited By eatatwhiteys

Now they should call it the Xbox 180.

This!

Avatar image for nok
Posted By nok

@cactusman: Completely forgot about the beginning of the PS3 haven't you?

Avatar image for spartanhoplite
Posted By SpartanHoplite

Console is not region locked, but aren't the games still?

Nonetheless, not going to waste my time with this TV Box, Microsoft has show many times how little they giva about the gamers.

They still have policies in place that make updating difficult and expensive for devs and no self publishing.

Avatar image for antarok
Posted By Antarok

Way to go Scoops! Watched this unfold from work tonight and loved every minute of it.

Avatar image for brundage
Posted By Brundage

Amazing.

Avatar image for jiggajoe14
Posted By jiggajoe14

@fram said:

Let's all take a moment to collect ourselves, and wait patiently for the next segment.

Loading Video...

God damn it my first instinct was to hit play and now I can't stop listening.

Avatar image for tarsier
Avatar image for darji
Edited By Darji

We the people have won?????? What!

Not really:

From their TOS:

We may change the Services at any time, for any reason or no reason,

Avatar image for philipduck
Posted By PhilipDuck

The damage is already done Microsoft.

Avatar image for damax
Posted By Damax
Avatar image for zevvion
Edited By Zevvion

Does anyone know why Patrick is leaving? I'm curious to know.

Avatar image for nachokoolaid
Posted By Nachokoolaid

The more I think about the XBOX ONE reversal today, the more I'm upset. Please allow me to vent...

STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID. Their original policy could have been a game changer. Now it's just a 360 with better graphics. I wanted something truly next gen.

Imagine going across the country to a friend's house, and not having to lug all your discs with you but having all your games available to you when you arrived. COULD HAVE HAD THAT! Imagine living hours away from a relative and sharing a game with him, digitally, for free. COULD HAVE HAD THAT! Imagine that same relative sharing his games with you too, meaning, you'd actually only pay for HALF the games you played. COULD HAVE HAD THAT! Imagine that the average prices of games dropped (like Steam) $10-$20 because of a substantial digital distribution. COULD HAVE HAD THAT! Imagine that your money would go back to the actual developers who made the games, instead of some fat cat CEO at Gamestop who bought your $60 game back for $6. So GLAD we have the right to do that again.

The angry mob of idiots got their way, and set this generation of gaming in reverse. So now the Xbox One will be no different from what's Sony's offering, which is a shame, because it was on track to be something truly special.

Avatar image for viking
Edited By viking

Does this mean that my digital future with extended digital rights (legal way of sharing digital console games) have been limited? If so, I'm sad by this. Can't we have the best of two worlds?

People who love the disc-based system can still use that. And an opt-in plan for people like me (voluntarily disbanding support of disc-based gaming) so I still can use these new promising ideas!!

Avatar image for gildermershina
Posted By Gildermershina

Okay, so do they have a third press conference now to repair the PR damage? Or do they assume it's only the hardcore who really care about this stuff?

On the one hand, yeah, it's great they've taken consumer opinions into consideration, even though there's still a trust thing to get over (internet people aren't so quick to forgive and forget). On the other hand, I thought the whole notion of the cloud stuff was pretty cool as an option. I hope they don't throw all of that stuff over a cliff. I hope we can have the best of both. Make it all optional, but make it all great so that everyone wants to take advantage of it. That's how we move forward.

Avatar image for monkeyman04
Posted By Monkeyman04

@nachokoolaid: All that could happen in the future. MS was trying to force their ways on everyone, but now they can slowly put the stuff out and if they do it right people will not even notice that they are buying everything digital.

Avatar image for tarsier
Edited By Tarsier

@nachokoolaid said:

The more I think about the XBOX ONE reversal today, the more I'm upset. Please allow me to vent...

STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID. Their original policy could have been a game changer. Now it's just a 360 with better graphics. I wanted something truly next gen.

Imagine going across the country to a friend's house, and not having to lug all your discs with you but having all your games available to you when you arrived. COULD HAVE HAD THAT! Imagine living hours away from a relative and sharing a game with him, digitally, for free. COULD HAVE HAD THAT! Imagine that same relative sharing his games with you too, meaning, you'd actually only pay for HALF the games you played. COULD HAVE HAD THAT! Imagine that the average prices of games dropped (like Steam) $10-$20 because of a substantial digital distribution. COULD HAVE HAD THAT! Imagine that your money would go back to the actual developers who made the games, instead of some fat cat CEO at Gamestop who bought your $60 game back for $6. So GLAD we have the right to do that again.

The angry mob of idiots got their way, and set this generation of gaming in reverse. So now the Xbox One will be no different from what's Sony's offering, which is a shame, because it was on track to be something truly special.

these people are hilarious.

Avatar image for tiagoalmeida
Posted By TiagoAlmeida

Oh its the cloud and shit! You can process stuff in the cloud! Single player will never be the same.... And now basically... yeah... :) good job M$... bunch of snakes!

PS4 is still cheaper and better hardware. abox one maybe further down the line when prices drop and the exclusive library grows. For now... Snake oil salesmen motherfuckers!

Avatar image for solongwrex
Posted By SolongWrex
Avatar image for balex1908
Posted By Balex1908

This is the perfect example why we need Sony and MS. Imagine what the DRM would look like if we only had one option.

That said, from the begining MS should have just do digital only.

One of the reasons people accept Steam ( I know Steam sales are reason number 1) is that no on expects to be able to trade/sell/loan his digital game, song or movie. When you put physical media in people hands they expect that the disc will work no matter what.

I hope in a week when the dust settles we can finally go back talking about games and not about policies.

Avatar image for darji
Edited By Darji

@zevvion said:

Does anyone know why Patrick is leaving? I'm curious to know.

Private reasons. He wants to stay closer to his family. But he is not leaving Giantbomb. He is jsut leaving the office. Just like Alex.

Avatar image for bambamcz
Posted By BambamCZ

Doubling down on their previous statements is somewhat commendable. The problem is though that there was just too much really bad PR and even very arrogant remarks, where they essentially were refusing to see the other side of the argument against always online, no used games. It's cool for the people dead set on getting Microsoft's toybox over Sony's but a ton of damage was already done previously that it will take a lot of killer games to make people forget the first impression.

Avatar image for foolinjection
Posted By FoolInjection

COLLUSION!!!

Avatar image for bigjeffrey
Edited By bigjeffrey

@stimpack said:

Hahahaha. Wow. What? I'll wait and see.

Also, I'm sorry, but this just makes them look like incompetent fools. They've planned this whole elaborate DRM business and it has blown up in their faces. All the while they're preaching about how wonderful their plan is and how worthless their customers are. This isn't about improving customer relations. This isn't a favor. This is about money.

*edit* To all of those jumping on me about the "money" comment. There are ways to make money without screwing people. I suppose you think locking Netflix behind a paywall is great business because it forces people to pay! My point is that Microsoft isn't doing this to garner trust, they're doing this because they have to. Not only that, but this makes them look unstable.

Honestly, if you think that Microsoft is respectable and they're doing great things... more power to you. Sadly, I wholeheartedly disagree.

They are doing it because consumers want it, AND HEY ALSO MONEY.

Publicity Traded Company

Keep Consumers Happy (There are people overzealous about this) and Stock Holders Happy

Avatar image for thematrixonline
Posted By TheMatrixOnline

This is crazy.

Avatar image for rothbart
Edited By Rothbart

@tarsier said:

@nachokoolaid said:

The more I think about the XBOX ONE reversal today, the more I'm upset. Please allow me to vent...

STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID. Their original policy could have been a game changer. Now it's just a 360 with better graphics. I wanted something truly next gen.

Imagine going across the country to a friend's house, and not having to lug all your discs with you but having all your games available to you when you arrived. COULD HAVE HAD THAT! Imagine living hours away from a relative and sharing a game with him, digitally, for free. COULD HAVE HAD THAT! Imagine that same relative sharing his games with you too, meaning, you'd actually only pay for HALF the games you played. COULD HAVE HAD THAT! Imagine that the average prices of games dropped (like Steam) $10-$20 because of a substantial digital distribution. COULD HAVE HAD THAT! Imagine that your money would go back to the actual developers who made the games, instead of some fat cat CEO at Gamestop who bought your $60 game back for $6. So GLAD we have the right to do that again.

The angry mob of idiots got their way, and set this generation of gaming in reverse. So now the Xbox One will be no different from what's Sony's offering, which is a shame, because it was on track to be something truly special.

these people are hilarious.

I know, it shows a complete lack of understanding of the mechanics at work in the industry. Besides the fact, you can already do the whole digital thing he wanted so badly: it's called "logging on to your friend's Xbox One with your account and downloading everything", and we can already do that this generation with digital titles. Also, the idea that Microsoft would willingly drop the average price of AAA titles just because they're digital is ludicrous. Look at what EA did with Origin; huge digital push, games cost the same if not more. Publishers will just keep sucking up all the profits as long as they can get away with it.

Avatar image for randiolo
Posted By randiolo

Id like to see all the flip floppers that jumped on the ps4 train and are now crawling back to the xbone after this. People are full of shit lol.

Avatar image for jnw93
Edited By jnw93

Its over, sony is finished xD

Why? MS just look like fools now

its officially a Xbox 180

Avatar image for stimpack
Edited By Stimpack

@bigjeffrey: They don't care what you want. They didn't do this for you. They did this because they were losing and it's an admission of defeat. Nothing they do is about keeping customers happy, it's just a constant measure of how badly they can screw people out of money before they start losing enough customers/income to justify changing directions.


You need to find the Red Keycard to enter the next section.

Avatar image for twolines
Posted By TwoLines
Avatar image for alcamin
Edited By Alcamin

It's not at all surprising that Microsoft have backed down on this stuff considering the hammering they received from users, journalists and their rivals alike during E3. Continuing down that path of restrictive policies and DRM may not have been corporate suicide but it most likely would have hurt them, at least in the short term.

The interesting question that still comes to mind, which by the sound of it we will now never know the answer to, is how much those policies would have really hurt the users in the long run. The used games restrictions are obvious, but I still have to wonder how much things like the 'always on' connection would have really mattered. Specific abnormal situations can always be brought up but I'm not convinced that it would have negatively effected the majority of users. Even my ridiculously antiquated rural connection shouldn't have had much difficulty, despite very low bandwidth and constant drops in connection. Whether the requirement was actually needed or what point it would have served is perhaps the bigger, more relevant question. They were never clear on those details, which certainly made it seem arbitrary.

Either way, if Microsoft follow through with these new plans then most of these arguments are rendered moot. It's just interesting to think of what might have been. Overall, this seems like a positive move, or an admission of fault, depending on how you look at it.