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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 VagrantChrisX

The Eye still Watches You. I'm still not convinced. I already Pre-Ordered my PS4 out of good faith. Sony has got your back since day 1, Microsoft did not stand by their philosophy and now are trying to appease the ones they lost. I've always been neutral throughout these years, I have always purchased all systems from all the major players, but I'm getting too old for this. I'm sticking with one company , Sony. I even got PlayStation Plus for 1 year in preparation for this November. I still need to dust off my Wii U, that thing haven't seen sunlight for a couple of months.

Edited by plainplease

It's good news for gamers, good news for Microsoft, and even good news for Sony. MS definitely took a PR hit at E3, but there was a chance that publishers would be on board with the MS DRM policy over Sony's. Now the playing field is leveled which is great for consumers. The choice isn't as risky for people who only buy one system.

Posted by Sinusoidal

I can't decide whether to applaud or laugh.

Posted by briangodsoe

At this rate EA is just going to make their own console that runs on Origin or something.

Posted by mracoon

This is why Scoops is the best in the biz. I'm not planning on getting either console at launch but it's going to be a hell of an interesting fight to watch play out.

Moderator
Posted by mtfikhan

They're already listening. And I don't even own a Kinnect....

Edited by YourBoy_Moe

Great news. It somewhat evens the playing field between Sony and Microsoft even though the Xbox is still a little bit pricey. However, I do believe that if Microsoft pushes for new IP's and a stress on indie's I think the gaming masses would be willing to invest in the new Xbox. Now it becomes the war on who offers more bang for the buck both in terms of games and entertainment.

Posted by JZ
Posted by CommanderGermanShepard

This evens things back up again

Xbox really had the cooler looking exclusives at their press conferences, but I didn't really care at the time because I was already sold on PS4 after their conference. But now as a 360 user for the last 6 years I think I will stay with MS.

Edited by LikeaSsur

@mrbacca said:

Microsoft spends almost an entire week at E3 defending they're new policies and how it's "the right thing to do" for their company, only to completely change their stance a week later. It's pandering, and it makes me think less of them as a company for abandoning their philosophy and integrity so easily. I'll stick with the PS4.

Goodness gracious, are you completely serious?

Microsoft: "You'll need to check in once every 24 hours."

"Screw you, Microsoft! Not everyone has internet! How can you blatantly not care about your own customers?!"

Microsoft: "Okay, never mind, we'll scrap all of that."

"Pfft, you're just pandering to win brownie points with the masses, Microsoft! You should've held your ground!"

It's a wonder happiness still exists with this kind of double sided "I'm never satisfied" attitude.

Posted by Zonerender

@lifebydegrees: I really do hope they make a middle ground. I understand the 24 hour check in which to me was bogus, but if you're borrowing a digital game from a friend and you have the bandwidth to download that game... their is no reason to believe that you won't be attached to the network.

I just really hope they give us options. I know it's more work for them, but for the majority of people, their old model would have worked perfectly

Edited by AngriGhandi

1. WHAT THE FUUUUUUCK

2. We did it, baby! Yeah!!

We made the multinational corporation do our bidding!

Suck it, haters!

3. Now I really don't know what I'm going to do. Play Quantum Break, I guess!

4. UNPRECEDENTED THINGS CAN HAPPEN. The world is crazy.

Edited by jzga
Posted by Destroyeron

Honestly, I was kind of looking forward to see just how much Xbox 1 failed (or didn't) with these policies. Guess it's just an average console war again.

Edited by JediMcAndrew

So what does this mean for the family share plan that was previously announced? Gone? Altered?

Posted by teejayshill
Posted by kibbs

For me it's a case that MS already eroded any trust I had in their brand. This doesn't change that fact.

Posted by schattenwolf86

So what does this mean for the family share plan that was previously announced? Gone? Altered?

Gone for now.

Posted by Dick_Mohawk

@zonerender: I agree with you completely. I think it's a damn shame.

All the interest I had in the next gen of consoles has fizzled away completely.

Posted by Veovisjohn

What a scoop from Patrick. Very glad to see Giant Bomb breaking this story. This console war is bananas right now. I love it.

Posted by wibby

Add a -$100 Dollars and its a win!

Posted by chose

Still people accept they cannot trade or sell their digital games, people are still tools anyway and it will get worse.

Posted by TC

I never thought I'd say this but... WELL DONE INTERNET

Posted by ShaggyDude

Microsoft defining their DRM policies, then changing them 2 weeks later doesn't go a long way to sell me a new walled garden with a $500 price of admission. I was surprised to read this today, but if anything, Microsoft has proved over the last 9 years that they will change whatever they please with the console whether I want it or not, whether it's the DRM policy (The 360's been phoning home for years to try to catch pirates), the user interface (no more blades), or the kinect (so glad I didn't buy that thing), while charging for services I can get for free somewhere else. In hindsight, I ended up paying for Live for about 4 years longer than I really should have, and I'm not going to pay them money so they can do me like that again, just based on their flimsy vision of a new Xbox (vision may change in 2 weeks).

Edited by JoshyLee

Someone should post something along the lines of "SCOOOOOOOOOOOPS!" I haven't seen anyone do it yet and it would be really funny.

Posted by Dan_CiTi

@mystyr_e said:

@bbqbram said:

So that would leave them backpedaling on their always-on vision and still a hundred bucks more expensive. Titanfall seems great, but eh.

and also on PC ;)

Yeah most MS stuff that isn't Halo ends up on PC either at launch or not long after.

Posted by EnduranceFun

@headcase said:

MS: "can we do this?"

Everybody: "no."

MS: "all right."

MS: "we're doing this"

Everybody: "don't do this"

MS: *several months of doing this*

Consumers: "not buying this"

MS: "we've listened to your feedback..." etc etc

Edited by wightboy

Nice work Patrick. I guess you're leaving SF on a high note!

Edited by Dryker

@mrfluke said:

@golguin said:

Now this is hilarious. What happened to everyone claiming that all the criticism was just "internet rage from a vocal minority" and that it didn't matter? What happened to everyone saying that the pre order numbers that were massively in favor of Sony were all just anecdotal stuff and we needed to wait until launch? What happened to all of Microsoft's anti consumer policies supposedly benefiting the consumer with the 24 hour DRM and always online.

Turns out it was all bullshit. I guess all you Xbox One apologists can now stop and be glad that there were enough people "raging online" to improve your gaming experience. You're welcome.

PREACH!!! i fully agree with you, never underestimate internet activism.

I don't take sides in console wars anymore; I'm lucky enough to buy both, but I'm not sure where people are getting this PS4 has more per-orders than XBone. Amazon, for one, has the XBone as the #1 Seller in Video Games:

Xbox One Console - Day One Edition by Microsoft (Nov 29, 2013)

Posted by coakroach

I thought they couldn't do this because of publisher pressure/games being designed around using THE CLOUD for background processing or whatever.

I guess not?

Regardless if this is true it's a step in the right direction, so good on them.

Edited by Spiritof

Did Microsoft not get the memo that E3 was last week?

Xbox One looks like it's going to be the shit show that just keeps on giving, and apparently there are still people out there who like shit...a lot.

Posted by zombie2011

Hmm, I felt the DRM stuff would have helped publishers make more money which is always a good thing don't want anymore THQ situations.

Posted by HammondofTexas

SCOOPS KLEPEK!

Online
Edited by elpurplemonkey

Scoops!

Posted by shodan2020

Well, this certainly puts the XBone back into consideration.

Edited by bitcloud

@dryker: The PS4 launch edition sold out and there are 5 different skus for the PS4 and the bundles include discounts. The Xbox One Day One Edition, which has lower stock than the PS4 has still not sold out.

Amazon.ca currently has the PS4 at #1 and Xbox One at #8 with not special bundles for either.

Worldwide preorder charts: http://cl.ly/0a2d2X0m3T0d

Edited by EnduranceFun

@dryker: You're missing the five PS4 bundles in the top ten alongside the single Xbox One at #1.

Edited by Krakn3Dfx

This doesn't really affect me either way, nothing except The Spark Project at their E3 conference caught my eye, and that's coming to the PC and 360 as well (and it's F2P, which sucks, since all the good stuff will inevitably be micro transaction shit, but whatever), so while this might encourage me to buy an XBO at some point in the next few years where I wouldn't have before, I really have no solid reason to pick one up right now. Still super interested in Sony's wave of indie games, so it'll be PS4 for me.

They should totally break off that Kinect shit and drop $100 though, then we'd have a fight.

Posted by Cipher1101

It is unclear what caused this huge change in policy right after E3,..

I would say it is the realization that they didn't listen to consumers on Windows 8 and the sales of that are pathetic, plus the reports that Sony's is receiving more pre-orders by a ratio of 3:2. Microsoft simply can not afford another failure if they want to stay in business.

Posted by Lnin0

Idiot Sony fanboys and their fear mongering ruined my future of gaming. Disc-less play and family plans wiped away all because some uneducated douches couldn't understand how out of date Sony's bs stream is and how it will all prove crap once publishers tell us how the future really works. At least with XO you had a well defined and liberal use/sharing policy for the age of digital distribution.

Posted by Harabec

I still plan to sit out the console launches this year. All the games I am interested in will either release on PC or they are "looking into a possible PC release" (looking at you Ubisoft and Bungie).

Posted by vash0027

Just remember micro soft controls the terms of use and conditions . If its that easy to turn it off who is to say in six month to a year they wont re-implement its after they have everyone's money

Edited by mrfluke
@dryker said:

@mrfluke said:

@golguin said:

Now this is hilarious. What happened to everyone claiming that all the criticism was just "internet rage from a vocal minority" and that it didn't matter? What happened to everyone saying that the pre order numbers that were massively in favor of Sony were all just anecdotal stuff and we needed to wait until launch? What happened to all of Microsoft's anti consumer policies supposedly benefiting the consumer with the 24 hour DRM and always online.

Turns out it was all bullshit. I guess all you Xbox One apologists can now stop and be glad that there were enough people "raging online" to improve your gaming experience. You're welcome.

PREACH!!! i fully agree with you, never underestimate internet activism.

I don't take sides in console wars anymore; I'm lucky enough to buy both, but I'm not sure where people are getting this PS4 has more per-orders than XBone. Amazon, for one, has the XBone as the #1 Seller in Video Games:

Xbox One Console - Day One Edition by Microsoft (Nov 29, 2013)

you should check gamestop and best buy, ps4 is in number 1, also there are like 3 ps4 bundles on amazons best seller list as well.

now that those policies are revoked, im honestly fully back on neutral ground and glad to just have the conversation be about games,

but the facts still remain and ESPECIALLY for them to revoke these policies, ps4 was outpacing xbone in pre-orders.

Posted by I_Stay_Puft

Scoops at it again! Great job Mr. Klepek.

Posted by BoOzak

Now all they have to do is release a cheaper bundle that doesnt require kinect and i'm sold. (I know i'm standing in the way of "innovation" but I dont care)

Edited by iragequit

Ah MS is pulling a Sim City here.

1)Foolish DRM

2)Act like it it's the only way

3)Take enormous heat

4)Oh we can change all that.

Posted by freakin9

I like how they are trying to say they made the right decision originally. It's like how a child would apologize.