Can DRM changes Save the Xbox One?

Can DRM changes Save the Xbox One?

 By: Brit McGinnis

Recently, Microsoft announced that they were recanting all of their former DRM (data rights management) policies, reversing their position on important issues like sharing games and video game consoles always being online. Here’s Giant Bomb’s very-well-summarized list of the true current state of the XBOX One:

  • 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

This is fabulous, of course. This means that a lot of the complaints people have had about the XBOX One (which Sony have answered with gleeful mockery) are suddenly no more. They have supposedly been heard and answered. Poof!


But over the past few months, it was more than just DRM policies that ticked off gamers. At the Microsoft press conference announcing the XBOX One, practically half the conference discussed television. And Skype. And practically everything else that you could hypothetically use an XBOX for other than gaming.

When games were finally discussed, it still felt like the same kind of sales rhetoric from earlier in the conference. But this time, it was mostly about big franchise games, namely Call of Duty: Ghosts. The newest character, a combat dog, became the topic of many Internet jokes.


On it went… fighting games, racing games, and generally stuff with a lot of tough guys and guns. And at E3, it didn’t get get much better. Games like Sunset Overdrive (a very Elizabeth-like toss from one of the female characters!) and Crimson Dragon offered fresh changes to the lineup. But Microsoft couldn’t measure up to the PS4’s amazingly diverse lineup, and there wasn’t much there to watch for gamers who weren’t fans of big franchise games.

This was all amid statements by Microsoft stating that game sharing between friends would be extremely limited, and the XBOX One would be checking daily to make sure that players were still gaming online. Both statements have now been reversed, but it’s hard for a company to take back statements dismissing customers with poor Internet connection. Or, even more elitist, statements stating that backward compatibility is “backwards” in and of itself. In other words, no going back and playing older (and typically cheaper) games from previous consoles. It’s release or nothing in this world.

These statements aren’t from any random Microsoft employee. Those were all statements directly from Don Mattrick, the head of Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. Needless to say, gamers were not at all amused.

 let them play xbox 360

One customer survey revealed that 95% of those surveyed desired to buy a PS4 instead of an XBOX One (the survey was later removed). This was only a few days ago (sources point to June 16th), right after E3 wrapped. So the effect of this new update remains to be seen. It may put many minds at ease. But as a gamer friend of mine pointed out, nowhere in Microsoft’s announcement do they apologize for past public statements. Their intentions behind this turnaround, like the successes of their games, have yet to be seen. It all depends, as it always does, on the hearts and minds of people who love video games.

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