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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
Posted by primalmaster

This complete 180, makes me trust them even less as a company. Then again with these changes I might get an Xbone a year or 2 down the road. The only exclusive I want to play (TitanFall) is also coming to pc so I will be playing it on pc.

Posted by Clonedzero

@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.

Right, but even if Microsofts "Cloud" works that way, which until i see it, yeah... It will still be completely dependent on an internet connection and the reliability of those servers.

If games are specificly designed to require that "Cloud" support then what happens if you're playing offline, or if those servers are down? What if your local Microsoft server-farm is offline due to say, a flood from a thunderstorm, so you're rerouted to the next closest which is hundred of miles away and you're put on low-priority, and that server farm is being overrun with other people from your area all trying to play their games. If TitanFalls AI is all serverside what happens if the servers are laggy or unreliable?

Yes, its possible to offload processing and stream it back. But does microsoft have the capability to handle 50-100 million users, all playing games offloading processing to their serverfarms? realistically speaking some of those are going to have issues or go down at some point does that overload the others? what happens then?

I don't believe any of this "cloud" buzz word bullshit. Until i see it working reliably after launch i won't believe a word they say, because SO much can go wrong with that.

Especially now with them dropping the always online and DRM stuff, they can't count on people always being online and connected to the cloud. That in-itself limits their development ability to utilize the cloud. Are they going to put on the back of the box "requires the Cloud"? Or something?

If you're going to extend your market to offline players like they seem to be doing and abandoning their whole "always online thing" then all that Cloud bullshit is kinda pointless right?

Posted by jnw93

Anybody that said they where not going to buy a XB1 but you are now just shows that you have no respect for your self.

I can't believe some people are so ready to throw money at a company that, a week ago was perfectly prepared screw everyone over in regards to gaming and privacy.

Edited by erroneous
Posted by capthavic

Its over, sony is finished xD

And how do you figure? It still more expensive, screws over indie devs, requires kinect, etc. It's a step in the right direction but I'm not going to switch over just because of this.

The damage has already been done to their reputation and relationship to consumers. They have done this not because they respect us and listened to our opinions; they did this because we bit back and bit hard! This was not done out of kindness or generosity...it was MS simply trying to stem the massive blood loss from an artery. Too little too late.

Edited by SilenceUK

Sounds great if it gets all the hate of their backs and makes people excited about the console again, if its going to make all the good things like playing your games from anywhere without a disc or sharing games over the cloud with 10 other people not possible it will just make me disappointed in all the scaremongering twits on the internet that just want to cry over what I didnt think was an issue at all

Edited by Tordah

I'm pretty amazed by how fast and complete this turnaround came about. Excellent news for us consumers.

Posted by nerdship

I don't like how Microsoft have handled this at all, but it does put the Xbox One on more of a level pegging with PS4. The price difference due to the Kinect being included as standard will still be an issue for a lot of people, but one of my biggest concerns with PS4 is how reliable PSN will be for online play.

Xbox has built up a good reputation for stable online play and matchmaking, compared to PS3. If people make the switch to PS4, will they be getting an online service from PSN that they can rely on? I think PSN is good value right now for IGC and sales, but I think I would still switch on my 360 for online multiplayer.

Posted by SilenceUK

And yup after reading that article they posted some of the cool features that all the online checks where bringing with them are now gone....thanks internet this is why we cant have nice things....sigh

Posted by MrLog
Posted by Mezmero

I can only speak for myself when I say this makes me want a Xone even less. Just the thought of an army of engineers slaving away to try to overturn this bullshit idea is disgusting. They should have called it the Xbark because this console is turning out to be a real bitch.

Posted by Marokai

Has anyone checked if @jdh5153 is still alive?

Edited by MrJorOwe

So Microsoft are keeping everything the same, and Sony are keeping things the same, but making you pay for online multiplayer?

Yeah, really looks like Sony got one over on them there, so proactive.

Sarcasm aside I think this is a step back, they'd planned and set up all this infrastructure for a reason, would've liked to see where it went. If it turned out to get in the way of me playing games then I'd just not buy the console. We are just stagnating now. Lets keep discs because we are used to them.

Edited by Dezztroy

Good on them for removing part of the always-on DRM.

I wish they would have stayed firm on the used games issue. Here we go, another decade of GameStop fucking everyone over.

Posted by Godmil

You know, I would have actually liked to see the first couple of months sales figures if microsoft hadn't changed their mind.

Posted by Humanity

Anyone thinking either company is doing anything for the pure benefit of the gamer must be living in a dream world. If Microsoft announced their console to be $599 you can bet Sony would have announced theirs to be $499 instead of $399 - they wouldn't pass up the $100 profit they can still be making while looking better than the competition. These companies are run by a lot of people who crunch numbers all day and see where they can squeeze out the most profit - the creative people and engineers come second.

Also glad to see so many people just as upset that they backed down on the DRM as they were when they initially introduced it. We truly are living in a world where no one is ever happy about anything. Well no, people were happy that they can now pay for PS4 multiplayer, it's a great value after all, not like Sony is trying to squeeze $50 out of their fanbase or anything.

Edited by WiqidBritt

@clonedzero: if there's a flood or storm bad enough to knock out your local server farm then gaming probably should be the least of your concerns.

I'd like to think that if a dev thinks they can make the game better by using the extra servers then they'll make use of them.

Edited by thatdutchguy

And all is well again in video games land.

Edited by cperron

I was excited for the install from disc then throw the disc you won't need it.

Same thing with the idea of a full on digital library..

I mean I don't want to buy disc anymore, full digital, but the idea of skipping the download was kinda nice (I think the launch day is going to be a nightmare for people who buy digitally).

This news actually made me sad... but then I do acknowledge that used game and sharing and all that stuff is important for other people.

Posted by robzilla

Way to go Scoops. Taking care of business.

This was really the only choice MS had, but the 180 makes them look like fools - Mattrick most of all.

Posted by kmg90

With this I will be referring to the Xbox one as Xbox 180 for the rest of its existence.

Posted by Gruff182

Xbox One80

Edited by aldo_q

People where angry (rightly so) about the DRM... People are angry now that Microsoft removed the DRM... oh Internet...

A shitstorm was raised about it and everybody was rightly so in my opinion angry that Microsoft didn't listen to it's customers and just went their own way... Now they did actually listen and it's still not okay because now they are pushovers according to some? *Sigh*

Edited by peritus

@kmg90 said:

With this I will be referring to the Xbox one as Xbox 180 for the rest of its existence.

Haha, thanks for that.

Edited by JouselDelka

Still $100 more expensive, still less powerful, still requires Kinect, still has terrible indie policies. Still not buying one.

Posted by xXHesekielXx

nice twist.

Posted by CodeFire

That's great.

Still supporting and buying a PS4.

Edited by EnduranceFun

@aldo_q: I think the people complaining now are the ones who didn't mind the DRM and liked the ideas that came alongside the DRM. Though this change was never going to inspire much confidence. You can never please everyone, but mostly this just helps even the playing field.

Edited by Nardak

Patrick and Giant Bomb scored a big scoop. Giant Bomb is quoted as a source on several major news sites.

This E3 could be called the "the E3 of 3 mics"

1. Sony announcing on stage that they will not have an always online DRM.

2. Geoff Keighley handing Jack Tretton a mic that he can throw down when leaving the stage at an Gametrailers interview.

3. Patrick dropping an item on the floor when discussing on video the recent reversal of Microsoft´s always online DRM policy.

All in all that is a pretty epic way to move to Chigago.

Posted by Kung_Fu_Viking

I think this is a bad move. We need progression!

I imagine they will slowly reintroduce all of the features over the lifetime of the console anyway.

Posted by TheRedDeath

Patrick is right about one thing. This is going to be a blood bath.

Edited by oldfarmerted

Story of the year, fantastic work.

Who'd have thought the games Sony and MS played with each other would be so fun to watch. Watching others play games isn't usually this exciting.

Edited by TangoUp

@dezztroy said:

Good on them for removing part of the always-on DRM.

I wish they would have stayed firm on the used games issue. Here we go, another decade of GameStop fucking everyone over.

Find buyers and sellers yourself then.

Posted by EarthBowl

I'm happy they conceded to the notion of "games as a service" and finally made the right choice on their policies. This fight just got interesting and although I would love to get both consoles, I will only be getting a PS4 for now. Maybe down the road, Microsoft can earn my trust and offer me a good reason in purchasing their console, cause turning around on their policies is not enough for me anymore.

Edited by Zevvion

In case anyone is interested, analyst Pachter called this would happen a day in advance. I know a lot of people hate Pachter, but I like him. Being right on predictions isn't his job contrary to what people seem to believe.

Anyway, here's the video. It's pretty cool to watch I thought http://www.gametrailers.com/videos/zfghde/pach-attack--drm-derailed

Posted by Rasmoss

Based on number of comments, being upset at feminist issues is twice as important to gamers as MS changing DRM policies.

Posted by Humanity

@tangoup said:

@dezztroy said:

Good on them for removing part of the always-on DRM.

I wish they would have stayed firm on the used games issue. Here we go, another decade of GameStop fucking everyone over.

Find buyers and sellers yourself then.

The sooner places like Gamestop stop being a factor in console gaming the sooner we can start getting closer to Steam like sales. Maybe not right away, but as I'm sure we all know by now it took Steam the better part of a decade to get to where they are now.

Edited by Klei

Competent evil Overlords don't back from their shitty plans. They deal with it. I'm disappointed in you, Xbone. You were on the road to glory ( in the wrong way ), and now you pussied out. I'm still getting the PS4 though.

Posted by Kirios

SCOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPS!

Way to break the biggest video game story in a long time Patrick! You've done one hell of a job to get this story out there first!

Posted by Maitimo

Good. They should never have attempted something so blatantly anti-consumer in the first place, but good. Someone saw sense. Rare thing for suits to do. A lot of damage has already been done, so they've still got their work cut out for them.

Edited by Max_Cherry

Microsoft has avoided a potential fiasco, but it's a shame that they had to learn the hard way; practically destroying all the good will and momentum they built up with the Xbox 360.

Posted by TangoUp

@humanity said:

@tangoup said:

@dezztroy said:

Good on them for removing part of the always-on DRM.

I wish they would have stayed firm on the used games issue. Here we go, another decade of GameStop fucking everyone over.

Find buyers and sellers yourself then.

The sooner places like Gamestop stop being a factor in console gaming the sooner we can start getting closer to Steam like sales. Maybe not right away, but as I'm sure we all know by now it took Steam the better part of a decade to get to where they are now.

It's quite easy to sell used games on Amazon and Ebay. Takes a wee bit more effort but you can do it if you're inclined to sell your games.

Edited by khidi

A step in the right direction with half step backwards but still forwards anyways. It's something.

Firstly, what is the MS magic "cloud castle" supposed to actually do that would've been worth the prisoner treatment? At the moment only things I have heard from these threads and reveal+e3 events is running Titanfall bot AI or "drivatar" AI powerleveling (damn retarded names again while the idea is neat) besides normal save storage?

And what did they mean when talking about "having your digital copy stored in the magic cloud"? Was it streaming it from there like what Sony is trying to do with PS1/2/3 games with Gaikai? Or like Steam/PSN/GOG/XBL(no idea how XBL thing works so big "?") is now and your account has x number of games attached to it which you can download anywhere if you log in?

Because if it is the 2nd then let me welcome you to times when Steam launched back in...hell I'm bad at remembering things but a long time ago. This makes also the selling point of not having to carry your game collection/discs around even more useless. Unless you are sure that where you are going has 100M internet connection you'll be downloading those games for a while and having to carry the install disc would still be smarter option even then.

Now to other points.

All the removals are a good thing, still leaves the MANDATORY spying (and mostly useless for majority) Kincect brick + having to connect the Box when setting up.

What does their "no region locks" mean? Is it only that you can buy your games from either US or EU/Japan/Australia and play with any region XBone or can you get your XBone from UK and use it in say, Poland (Witcher devs lol)?

If they are going out of their way to reduce DRM/Online crap, why is the Kinect still mandatory and always on (I have read the changes, if you can't actually unplug/kill the power for it then it's not really OFF )? Not to mention that it's useless for people who don't have a living room size of a small apartment or aren't fluent speaking english (or does it support other languages?) or, mind you, don't give a shit about waggle and/or voice control?

Family plan thingy. Did they kill it or is it delayed? If delayed then no comments. But if they killed it because they couldn't track your actions every hour it is really sad. It actually is a cool concept like AI power leveling server side. They could still have tied it to digital copies only and work somekind of deal between keeping eye on who plays what and current/coming DRM policy.

The playing field has been tilted a little towards more balanced position.

Hopefully somewhat neutral part over (though old stuff but still).

TIME TO RANT!

Tbh I didn't expect this so soon, maybe closer to release but looks like shit hit the fan hard and they had to do something to get +karma points after the shitstorm that has raged. This is a good thing for the console owners who aren't ready for all digital system and if they did push their shit through, you would've had a shitty version of Steam that treats you like a criminal, keeping eye on you 24/7 and calling every 24 or 1 hour(s) status updates to mothership. And PS+ is a better deal by a mile still.

And why would you still use worthless discs even to install if you are going all digital? Idiots, you have a 100/100M connection EVERYWHERE, even in sahara desert.

They were just spewing how they would/could not change things because "they build it from the ground up that way and it can't be changed!" "get 360 lolz" and *drumroll* they pull a 180 while not actually admitting that they fudged it up big time.

And while admitting being wrong takes effort (which they didn't do) and some might say "balls", are you really saying that this takes more balls than going directly against the policies of your opponent that could buy timed if not full exclusives from 3rd parties and has done so already in the past, really? Really realz? With EA, Ubi and rest supposedly playing nice by saying that they are dropping online passes/similiar stuff after they MS revealed their plans? And not by dropping hints/info quietly over time but at E3 and on stage with big screens saying exactly that and going all "Sega" on MS's ass?

They deserve points for what they did but they are still a long way from equal standing with Sony's deal.

And is your (people who cry about them holding progress back) idea of a console a cablebox that can play games if you let your home be spied and updated to their databases? Really? A really shitty PC that almost wants your blood to operate beyond cablebox capabilities? And waving your arms and legs around like an idiot and yelling to your electronics? Magic "cloud computing" that does jack shit beyond little AI computing/improving and worse version of Steam? What is the point of a "console" if you can easily get better hardware and service on a PC platform? It's not even portable anymore because you would need a network connection, have fun finding that on trips. You can take that "vision" of a bad "Steambox) and stick it somewhere where sun doesn't shine, be it your arse or some cave.

You are welcome btw, that "uneducated" and "childish" and "douchebag" minority tries to protect some of your rights, even if you don't like being helped. Some of us don't care to rent a 500€ machine and 60€ games that can stop working at any moment if shit happens or suitcases decide so.

And us (non-US living gamers) don't really care about your glorious sportsbox and cablebox ablities that won't work/mean anything beyond US borders.

You are weak willed Microsoft, eating your promises, as shitty as they may be.

Never forget. They wanted to do this to you now, don't assume that they won't try to do it later if you let them.

Words for the word god!(Not mine, thanks to someone at Warseer)

- TLDR - They changed major points for better even though it might make them look weak willed. Still a long way to go. Still 100$ difference in prices, mandatory Kinect with it's problems and list of features (anything tv related) that don't mean anything to a LOT of people. Will this stand and will MS stay true to this? Only time will tell.

Atleast now there can be a competition between consoles instead of Sony winning automaticly because people at MS are complete idiots and out of touch with reality.

P.S And yes, I have PS1-3, PSP, PC (and Nes/Snes/N64) if you are wondering my "side" in this "war".

Posted by Humanity

@tangoup: I don't want to sell games. I've never sold my games ever. I traded in games only when Gamestop had deals like "trade in two games from this list and get this brand new release for like $10" and that happened sporadically.

What I want is seasonal sales or weekend deals on games I purchase.

Edited by PimblyCharles

@kirios said:

SCOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPS!

Way to break the biggest video game story in a long time Patrick! You've done one hell of a job to get this story out there first!

agreed. @patrickklepek Great job with this

Posted by Brendan

@jnw93: No, the problem is you take everything so personally and emotionally. As a consumer, I was never going to purchase an Xbox because it was against my interests. Now that its gotten rid of those things, I will consider which games I want to play from either console before I decide my purchase. Its as simple as that.

Posted by Drace

@patrickklepek spitting white hot fire on this one.

I don't know if this is a feature you can do soon (for obvious reasons) but at some point I would love to read about the discussions Microsoft senior members were having before E3 about their online strategy and what the discussion looked like this week. How unified was the company on these policies going into E3? Is there going to be internal corporate fallout for this decision? Is the customer always right? Each question leads to a number of other.

There's a much larger, more interesting story here that I'd love to see you write. Great work!

Posted by TangoUp

@humanity: Well, there is no need to go to Gamestop really then. You can get way better prices on online sites anyway.

I'm just saying Gamestop has a stranglehold on the market if you keep buying $50 used games from them. If you stop that then there is no stranglehold. It's quite easy to ignore them if you don't like them.

Posted by Wuddel

@axlefgk said:

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

qft

Posted by Humanity

@tangoup said:

@humanity: Well, there is no need to go to Gamestop really then. You can get way better prices on online sites anyway.

I'm just saying Gamestop has a stranglehold on the market if you keep buying $50 used games from them. If you stop that then there is no stranglehold. It's quite easy to ignore them if you don't like them.

I'm no expert but I only assume that if Gamestop wasn't a factor and publishers would deal with customers in a direct manner such as through Steam, we would only see benefits from that situation.