Xbox One - One Console Two Service Options

While I'm thrilled to hear DRM policies and features have been reversed for the Xbox One, I can't help but wonder is it really that easy?

Microsoft has spent a great deal of resources to bring us the "future" of gaming. They most likely had a business plan, staff, content and potential contacts with other companies to offer more services through the life cycle of the console. The "always online connection" would be necessary for growth and development of Xbox One. For them to just roll over and say uncle to these original plans doesn't make sense in the long run.

Here's how I foresee Microsoft handing this when the console launches:

1. When you turn on your console you will be given the option to choose an "always online" and have DRM feature experience.

2. If you choose no, you can still use the system similar to the Xbox 360 as they stated, Gold service.

3. If you choose yes, you will have the original feature set as well as some bonus content exclusive only to "Always online" and DRM users, Gold Plus service.

  • Content such as asking developers to create things for those Always online users. So imagine Titanfall and Destiny having more content and gameplay that takes advantage of an always on connection. Discounted DLC, games and exclusive updates.

This way Microsoft can continue to move forward with their plans and overtime see users move from the no internet/DRM free service to the always online DRM restricted option only because they get more when they sign up. Gamers can't just change cold turkey, Microsoft will gradually guide this change. It's better than turning the original policies back on 2 - 3 years later.

Thoughts?

17 Comments
17 Comments
Posted by Jeff

The situation you're floating here doesn't work unless they force all users to connect to the internet and validate licenses via a serial number or other similar method. Otherwise you would have cases where the opted-in online users could associate a disc-based game with their account and then immediately give/sell the disc to an offline user, who would also be able to play the game.

Staff
Posted by jimmyfenix

@jeff: This guy knows a thing or two of playing the game.

Posted by Chaser324

A system that simple does leave a few too many loopholes open for users to potentially exploit. Before Microsoft flipped the script, myself and a few other people were throwing around some ideas that I think would have served to make things easier for people with limited or no internet access:

  • A simple iOS/Android app that interfaces with the Xbox One via bluetooth to perform authorization. Removes the need to do wi-fi tethering, something which isn't available or requires an additional fee for a lot of people.
  • A free Kindle Whispernet style system that could perform authorization for free over 3G/4G wireless networks.
  • A proprietary USB key that holds non-transferable registration and account info. Whenever you make a new game purchase, this USB key would need to updated. This update could be performed by the retailer or through an internet connected Xbox One or Mac/PC.
Moderator
Edited by LiquidPrince

@jimmyfenix said:

@jeff: This guy knows a thing or two of playing the game.

Pfft, who listens to that Jeff guy? It's not like he has years of experience playing games, owns a massive collection, and runs a website about video games or anything...

In all seriousness though, I don't understand why them reverting the DRM stuff would completely kill some of the features like the family sharing stuff. I mean you should still be able to share the game with at least one other person on your friends list, as long as say, you are playing the game as well. Maybe like some sort of NDS adhoc cart sharing mode.

Edited by PhilESkyline

@jeff: Good point. They have to be working on something then. I can't imagine Microsoft scrapping an entire "key gaming experience" and millions of dollars in resources just to please gamers.

Posted by GrantHeaslip

Isn't what you're asking for (aside from the digital-only content, which is a separate thing) somewhat the experience you'd get -- or at least the experience they could conceivably still provide -- by buying everything digitally? The biggest difference I can think of is that prices might be higher than they would have been with retailer competition, but I can't imagine the inflated digital pricing we see now will last much longer considering retailers are the only ones that benefit from it.

Either way, I assume both Sony and Microsoft plan on this generation being the last one with physical games, so I expect them to get more and more aggressive about providing digital incentives. Maybe not right off the bat while they're still testing the waters and don't want to piss off retailers, but certainly once the generation really sets in. This whole disc sharing debacle will probably seem quaint 5-10 years from now.

Edited by Sin4profit

@jeff said:

The situation you're floating here doesn't work unless they force all users to connect to the internet and validate licenses via a serial number or other similar method. Otherwise you would have cases where the opted-in online users could associate a disc-based game with their account and then immediately give/sell the disc to an offline user, who would also be able to play the game.

I'd imagine they could just segregate physical Vs. digital serial codes. Assign "opt-ins" a digital Serial# that is attached to the physical Serial#; Used copies become physical-rights only, as it's associated digital Serial# has been used up.

As an "Opt-in" member, Pre ordering physical goods becomes the better value, as you can install your copy and immediately sell it as used.

The market adjusts it's physical supplies (limiting) to prepare for the circulation of used games. The consumer grows accustomed to the convenience of the digital market (and the inevitable enticement) and used games fade out naturally while not affecting the rental market.

Though, smart consumers in that situation would be better off renting out their physical disk rather than selling it or RedBox/GameFly sees this as a cheaper supply chain opportunity and uses this to compete with Gamestop to offer consumers a better deal on their used games.

"opt-in" membership becomes a far superior deal; those forced into an offline world get their games cheaper in the used games market or by renting.

...and ponies for everyOne

That's my pipe dream of a solution i pulled outta my ass.

Edited by Aniawn

@jeff said:

The situation you're floating here doesn't work unless they force all users to connect to the internet and validate licenses via a serial number or other similar method. Otherwise you would have cases where the opted-in online users could associate a disc-based game with their account and then immediately give/sell the disc to an offline user, who would also be able to play the game.

I'd imagine they could just segregate physical Vs. digital serial codes. Assign "opt-ins" a digital Serial# that is attached to the physical Serial#; Used copies become physical-rights only, as it's associated digital Serial# has been used up.

As an "Opt-in" member, Pre ordering physical goods becomes the better value, as you can install your copy and immediately sell it as used.

The market adjusts it's physical supplies (limiting) to prepare for the circulation of used games. The consumer grows accustomed to the convenience of the digital market (and the inevitable enticement) and used games fade out naturally while not affecting the rental market.

Though, smart consumers in that situation would be better off renting out their physical disk rather than selling it or RedBox/GameFly sees this as a cheaper supply chain opportunity and uses this to compete with Gamestop to offer consumers a better deal on their used games.

"opt-in" membership becomes a far superior deal; those forced into an offline world get their games cheaper in the used games market or by renting.

...and ponies for everyOne

That's my pipe dream of a solution i pulled outta my ass.

As Jeff said; what is to prevent "opt-ins" from buying their game new, giving/selling the disc to an offline user, and continuing to play the copy of the game stored on their hard drive?

Posted by Sin4profit

@aniawn: Nothing, you'll still be able to play on the digital serial number. It's mostly a means to make the digital market look like a better deal in an effort to get people into the digital ecosystem.

As far as what you can do with the physical serial code, you prevent those from playing online.

In fact, the more i think of it, the "Opt-in" plan is your gold membership and "opt-out" accounts are silver.

Posted by PhilESkyline

@sin4profit: Wouldn't that suck! All Gold members automatically are opted-in if they want to play multiplayer games. Those who opted-out can only be silver and cannot play with others. I don't think Microsoft has the guts to do that.

I actually believe Silver membership will be done away with. Microsoft isn't going to allow Skype video chat to be used for free. They bundle in Kinect and gosh darn it they want to use it to collect data.

Posted by Sin4profit

@sin4profit: Wouldn't that suck! All Gold members automatically are opted-in if they want to play multiplayer games. Those who opted-out can only be silver and cannot play with others. I don't think Microsoft has the guts to do that.

I actually believe Silver membership will be done away with. Microsoft isn't going to allow Skype video chat to be used for free. They bundle in Kinect and gosh darn it they want to use it to collect data.

Can't tell if that's sarcasm or not...what you described is exactly how their service currently works.

I really don't see them reducing the gold/silver membership system. If anything they'll add other tiers to it and/or allow you to pay for services through the xbox itself.

can't see the kinect as being any more efficient at collecting data then searches (clicks) through their marketplace. Unless it's demographical data they want.

Posted by xyzygy

I see what you're getting at, but unfortunately the whole installing an entire disc based game thing won't work, as Jeff said.

However... I do see some amazing hacks coming out of this. The Xbox One was originally designed to have games install to the hard drive and you could just forget about the disc, but now that's not the case and it'll work like the 360 where you need the disc to authenticate. I'm wondering if it's possible for hackers to bypass the whole needing a disc thing while still maintaining the offline capabilities.

Could be interesting.

Posted by Nick

Here's an idea, discs self explode after installing!

Posted by Blastroid

To get around piracy though couldn't the Kinect detect tell if you are lying about buying the game or not. Lie detector feature not seen at E3.

Posted by deskp

  • Content such as asking developers to create things for those Always online users. So imagine Titanfall and Destiny having more content and gameplay that takes advantage of an always on connection. Discounted DLC, games and exclusive updates.

Those games are multiplayer games, so they already require and always online connection...

If there is a huge increase in always online game, the public will be "eased" into an always online future, wich is better than a hard cut like microsoft intended. Maintaining 2 ways for the concole to work sounds like a hassle.

Someone might have pointed this out already but i didnt read all the replies.

Edited by Jimbo
@jeff said:

The situation you're floating here doesn't work unless they force all users to connect to the internet and validate licenses via a serial number or other similar method. Otherwise you would have cases where the opted-in online users could associate a disc-based game with their account and then immediately give/sell the disc to an offline user, who would also be able to play the game.

A one-time authentication during installation seems like a decent compromise though. It achieves what it needs to achieve and would have been easier to justify than a 24hr check. They could even have an offline authentication process for extreme cases.

I guess no compromise would have been publicly acceptable post-backlash, but it'd be interesting to know what the reaction would have been like if they'd pitched it like this in the first place.

Posted by Crash_Happy

@phileskyline: No I can't see them doing any such thing.

I do predict though that at a couple of points in the future MS reps will point to something and say "Ooh see, that's all your fault for not wanting the DRM version".