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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 Plipster

Didn't see it coming and am feely muchy happy.

Edited by ComradeCrash
Edited by kennybaese

@willthemagicasian said:

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

I think I read somewhere that this was the case. As far as I can tell they're basically backpedaling to the point that the policies with the XBO are going to be pretty much identical to those on the 360.

I'm curious to see what this means for games that used cloud stuff to offload some processing stuff. Are there any games that were counting on that connection for single player content? Are those games screwed? All of the examples I can think of off of the top of my head are multiplayer things, so I'm not sure.

Posted by astreets1

I'm still getting a PS4...I've been a Microsoft fanboy for two generations but the company just doesn't seem to know what they're doing. I want decisiveness from the people who want my money, and Microsoft just ain't showing me what I need.

Edited by rodtrindade

Patrick, congrats on the story! Still not buying a Xbox One, though.

Edited by ClaritySam

Blimey Patrick, going out with a bang are we? And while I'm commenting, thanks for all the articles, you're my favourite thing about Giant Bomb by miles.

Posted by Sooty

Still nope. I won't pay more for a console forcing the Kinect on me that is also the less powerful of the two.

Edited by LarryDavis

@primalmaster said:

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.

Exactly. Doing this now, who's to say they can't reverse it again later? They have no idea what they're doing or what the public wants.

And yes, I primarily play games on pc now and only use consoles for exclusives. Xone has nothing I care about other than Titanfall and Remedy's crazy shit, one of which is confirmed for PC and the other one most likely will be. Sony has exclusives I find interesting, and are less likely to port to PC anyway.

also lol at everyone patting Tricky on the back for rumor-mongering, instead of waiting for it to be confirmed. WHAT A HOT PHRESH SCOOP

Edited by elitefury

For as much as I disliked the way they went about it, Xboxone had some very interesting ideas that may not see the light of day. Hopefully they can find a middle ground where consumers don't feel as taken advantage of.

Posted by Osiris

It's quite simple. Sony didn't see a reason to belittle consumers with ridiculous DRM shit, keeping the options open as much as possible. They didn't even have the whole trading games things as a big thing in their show until MS got so much hate for their insane corporate decisions...

But a company (Microsoft) that has so LITTLE clue of what consumers actually want decided to go with a system they thought was "good" and went with it, now they see what consumers actually want and they are backpedaling. Now this is a good thing for consumers, but it says a LOT about the company itself and honestly it really should just be boycotted into the ground. A company that things it can get away with pulling such shit should stay away and find another product to sell.

I'm not saying Sony is perfect (I owned a 360 over a ps3) but at least this time around they seem genuine and actually sort of care about us as gamers. I think that should be rewarded. I know I'm going for a PS4 for the next generation!

Edited by AMyggen

@primalmaster said:

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.

Exactly. Doing this now, who's to say they can't reverse it again later? They have no idea what they're doing or what the public wants.

And yes, I primarily play games on pc now and only use consoles for exclusives. Xone has nothing I care about other than Titanfall and Remedy's crazy shit, one of which is confirmed for PC and the other one most likely will be. Sony has exclusives I find interesting, and are less likely to port to PC anyway.

also lol at everyone patting Tricky on the back for rumor-mongering, instead of waiting for it to be confirmed. WHAT A HOT PHRESH SCOOP

How is this "rumor-mongering"? It turned out to be true down to the smallest detail, and this site doesn't have a history of posting rumors. So he waited until he was sure, and posted it. That's the exact opposite of rumor-mongering, which is what sites like Kotaku often do for clicks. Should everyone just wait for the official announcement, even if you're sure that your sources are correct?

Posted by Hosstile17

Haagen Dasz.

Posted by TylerxShip

If true! Competition is great!! I hope for the best for both companies, at the end I know that me and everyone will be playing a sick game!

Posted by AMyggen

@osiris said:

It's quite simple. Sony didn't see a reason to belittle consumers with ridiculous DRM shit, keeping the options open as much as possible. They didn't even have the whole trading games things as a big thing in their show until MS got so much hate for their insane corporate decisions...

But a company (Microsoft) that has so LITTLE clue of what consumers actually want decided to go with a system they thought was "good" and went with it, now they see what consumers actually want and they are backpedaling. Now this is a good thing for consumers, but it says a LOT about the company itself and honestly it really should just be boycotted into the ground. A company that things it can get away with pulling such shit should stay away and find another product to sell.

I'm not saying Sony is perfect (I owned a 360 over a ps3) but at least this time around they seem genuine and actually sort of care about us as gamers. I think that should be rewarded. I know I'm going for a PS4 for the next generation!

I get boycotting them if they actually made the console with those ideas, but I do not understand people wanting to boycott them just because they at one stage, 5-6 months before the console actually releases, had those ideas on paper.

And don't believe for one second that Sony's doing this because they "sort of care about us gamers". If they thought it would make economic sense to implement the same policies MS was pushing, they'd do it in a second. They judged that it didn't make sense, which MS now proved to be right. Sony is a business, just like MS.

Posted by TangoUp

@humanity said:

@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.

I don't think Xbone was anywhere close to being like Steam because Xbone is a closed environment controlled by Microsoft and it does not compete with others like Valve who competes with other retailers selling games for the PC.

Discounts on the Xbone were probably never going to be a foregone conclusion.

Edited by TheVampireBoy
Posted by DG991

Wow. I don't believe them. Somehow they will find a way to screw the customers eventually.

Edited by MonkeyKing1969

Two things:

1) Never underestimate what "upsetting" core gamers does. I have heard for over a month that these DRM policies would only upset a vocal minority of core players, and that we mere 'gamers' did matter, nor would our voices be heard outside our soggy holes in Nowheresville were we live. Well, that was wrong, we did matter. I'm actually rather heartened that we console gamers hit back in force, this just shows with enough noise a lot of DRM issues could get pushed back. We as a community of gamers need not accept the "SimCity" debacles that get shoved under our nose with a shrugg.

2) There has been nothing lost here. There was not some grand plan by Microsoft that would have made their DRM useful for common people, there was no BENEFIT for gamers from any of this. It was just a straight up "snatch & grab" of some rights hidden by a dodge about greater security. This was purely a plan for, "Let's piss down their backs and tell them it's raining." Anyone misty eyed for what could have been with Xbox One, should just visit a prison to get a feel for what "could have been".

Posted by Snakepond

Power to The GameStop.

Posted by whiskeyZ

I really want this article to hit 1,000 + comments.

Posted by XplusY

@whiskeyz said:

I really want this article to hit 1,000 + comments.

+1.

Posted by metalemily

Hmm this has delayed my console decision was going ps4 like most but now I think ill wait till we have a better idea of launch titles. Also good job Patrick!

Posted by Zevvion

@primalmaster said:

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.

Exactly. Doing this now, who's to say they can't reverse it again later? They have no idea what they're doing or what the public wants.

And yes, I primarily play games on pc now and only use consoles for exclusives. Xone has nothing I care about other than Titanfall and Remedy's crazy shit, one of which is confirmed for PC and the other one most likely will be. Sony has exclusives I find interesting, and are less likely to port to PC anyway.

also lol at everyone patting Tricky on the back for rumor-mongering, instead of waiting for it to be confirmed. WHAT A HOT PHRESH SCOOP

You're not very nice. You see the 'News' tab in the top left corner? News actually always has consisted of rumors as well. Every type of news outlet does that. It was a news story and a very good one. Patrick had to do some work to make that story happen. It was fun to read and even more fun to see it turned out true. It was a real hot topic and I don't think I have to explain how relevance makes the story better. People are just giving credit for well done work. There's nothing wrong with that.

Posted by EnduranceFun

@xplusy said:

@whiskeyz said:

I really want this article to hit 1,000 + comments.

+1.

That'll require some feminism.

I posit that the Xbox One is sexist because Microsoft listened to a bunch of privileged white kids.

There, now we can make it to a 1000.

Edited by LarryDavis

@amyggen said:

How is this "rumor-mongering"? It turned out to be true down to the smallest detail, and this site doesn't have a history of posting rumors. So he waited until he was sure, and posted it. That's the exact opposite of rumor-mongering, which is what sites like Kotaku often do for clicks. Should everyone just wait for the official announcement, even if you're sure that your sources are correct?

Uh. Yes. I mean, sure, Kotaku is even worse, especially since a lot of their rumors turn out to be straight-up false, but lot of people were "sure" that the Xone would be called Xbox. Patrick was "sure" that Sony would have the same type of DRM as the Xone.

Rumors and speculation don't have any place in "serious" journalism.

e: if Tricky is so sure of something, he can feel free to type up the article beforehand, and publish it as soon as the official announcement is out, but something like this just feels like grandstanding, like he has to justify his position as News Man, even when you'd have to be a maniac to use GB as your sole vidya gaem news site.

Edited by Revolver

feels like some domestic violence case begging for forgiveness from the victim that it will never happen again

Posted by aspaceinvader

Let the games begin. Time will tell now who got a better or worse deal in the next gen battle.

Posted by dionysis

I am actually really disappointed they chose to just roll back their plans rather than fix them to be reasonable. The promise of disc-less game use anywhere on any system and digital sharing that sounded like it could actually work well for me was really interesting even if their approach sounded half-baked and in dire need of tuning to meet consumer requirements.

Now they completely rolled back to what we have now which is 'safe' and 'known', but not forward looking or better which is what needs to happen.

Edited by PimblyCharles

With the amount of outsiders coming here, since Patrick was the first to report, there's got to be a few that eventually become premium members. These guys deserve it.

Edited by Saga

RIP DRM.....RIP Sony

Edited by shrillgore

The PS4 is still $100 less for better hardware, but that's not the main reason I'm going with PS4. I just don't want to hassle with the Kinect: NSA Edition, especially after Microsoft said their games would be very Kinect focused. I'm just damn tired of the whole gimmick.

I think one of the main points in the console "war" that people are overlooking are the indie games. They are growing more and more in popularity, so it will be interesting to see how much support they will bring to Sony.

Posted by chopsroberts

Patrick fucking rules.

Posted by blurienh

At least I'll be able to get Titanfall for my PS4 now

Edited by Tommy

All of this is very entertaining

Edited by sarahsdad

Not that I was planning to get one (not big into Halo, Gears, or Forza) but it's too bad that they took such an all-or-nothing approach. Not sure if it's been said already, but it feels like they really did build the system from the ground up to work with this DRM, and it was inflexible enough this late in development that their only two options were either leave it on, or turn the whole thing off.

Small tangent, it makes me wonder how long they've been working on the software end of this, if, even a few days ago they were talking about lending "coming latter". That feels like the sort of thing you would want to have nailed down before launch, not after it.

Posted by foxhound421

Alright Microsoft, now get to work on your Kinect policy/functionality so that I can unplug it altogether if I choose to and then we can talk.

No matter what, I'm still getting a PS4 first.

Posted by Geo888

Patrick is a journalistic man among boys!!!!!! Good scoop!

Posted by lowestformofwit

Looking forward to Xbox One. Microsoft's console architecture and networking infrastructure are way beyond what Sony are offering. I'm a bit sad that Microsoft bent to mob rule but I can always buy my content digitally which will go some way to providing the experience that Microsoft were envisioning for the console.

Edited by Regular_Kirk

Total protonic reversal! They crossed the streams! They thought crossing the streams would be bad. I guess they're a little fuzzy on the whole good bad thing.

Posted by Oginam

Not that I was planning to get one (not big into Halo, Gears, or Forza) but it's too bad that they took such an all-or-nothing approach. Not sure if it's been said already, but it feels like they really did build the system from the ground up to work with this DRM, and it was inflexible enough this late in development that their only two options were either leave it on, or turn the whole thing off.

Small tangent, it makes me wonder how long they've been working on the software end of this, if, even a few days ago they were talking about lending "coming latter". That feels like the sort of thing you would want to have nailed down before launch, not after it.

Publishers had a big hand in the DRM stuff, so I would imagine they would also want lending/trading to be put on hold until after launch otherwise the sales on games initially would be abysmal.

Posted by GinjaAssassin

Way to show confidence in your product Microsoft...

Posted by Oginam

@shrillgore: A better question would be how long will Sony support them. As soon as Sony trotted out Jonathan Blow everyone seemed to forget how much Sony had been dicking over small studios (even some Sony owned ones) in the last few years. And we should never forget that Sony's "platform exclusivity" on the PS3 has straight up killed studios that could of brought the game to PC and potentially survived. People like to hate on Microsoft but their policies about timed exclusives even for MS published games has been just fine for developers and does not prevent the PC consumer from playing the game.

Maybe that changes now that the PS4 architecture is x86 based and not the PS3's cell, so it would be almost no work to port from PS4 to PC, but only time will tell.

Edited by Uberjannie

Yes, but what stops them from adding those features after they have sold millions of consoles?

Posted by Dynamix

Really don't care about any of this since I don't intend to buy an Xbox One anytime soon, whatever features it ends up having. I'm just happy Patrick got a bit of spotlight so close to his "retirement".

Posted by IcarusFoundYou

Can we now talk about how including a Kinect wasn't the best idea?

Posted by DarkestZam
Posted by xXHesekielXx

Haha. That video...

Posted by sarahsdad

@oginam said:

@sarahsdad said:

Small tangent, it makes me wonder how long they've been working on the software end of this, if, even a few days ago they were talking about lending "coming latter". That feels like the sort of thing you would want to have nailed down before launch, not after it.

Publishers had a big hand in the DRM stuff, so I would imagine they would also want lending/trading to be put on hold until after launch otherwise the sales on games initially would be abysmal.

Impaled on my own blind spot. That does make a lot of sense.

Edited by Pseudonymous

@stimpack: Still going to get a PS4 first, I want to see how things play out on the xbox before even thinking of buying one. Xbox is wiping their hands clean of the check-ins and DRM but still giving game devs the ability to block content while offline, something to think about before buying a XBOX ONE. Who knows how much content will be restricted by the game devs, they could potentially lock the entire game if you are not signed in to XBL. Microsoft just wants you to buy their console at this point , and placing the blame elsewhere if you have problems with games. Good strategy,but I seen it coming... Microsoft is too predictable

Posted by Xymox

Still not interested. They're dropping the draconic DRM but aren't they also dropping the circle-of-friends thing so as to balance their spread sheets? If so, it's just not enough, because there is no reason they can't do both things. Otherwise they're basically saying "hey, you need to choose between one form of anti-consumerism over the other, so deal with it."

Basically - they'll allow all the things Patrick mentioned, but it comes with the cost of having to pay multiple times if you bring your game to a friend or if a family member tries to play that game? So I'll wait until I yell "woooo microsoft redeems themselves!".

From what I see Valve and Sony are still steamrolling them at the moment (no pun) at least when it comes to company perception. We'll see down the line if there are some first party Xbone games I'm interested in, but as it stands right now, not gonna change anything... Microsoft still has a steep hill to climb and some consumer trust to re-gain. Digital Rights go both ways; you simply can't expect your consumer to have none.