Microsoft backtracked today on its much-derided DRM policies that would have required Xbox One gamers to connect their consoles to the internet once a day and restricted sharing.
(Credit: James Martin/CNET)
Microsoft faced a huge backlash when it announced the policy just before the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) video-game conference earlier this month. Then, the company said it would allow gamers to play offline for up to 24 hours on a primary console, or one hour if they were logged onto a separate console accessing their library of titles. At that point, offline gaming would have been disabled until players re-establish a web connection.
"Since unveiling our plans for Xbox One, my team and I have heard directly from many of you, read your comments and listened to your feedback," Don Mattrick, president of Interactive Entertainment Business, wrote in a blog post.
Mattrick's post offers an astonishing about-face for Microsoft.
"After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc-based game without ever connecting online again," Mattrick wrote. "There is no 24-hour connection requirement, and you can take your Xbox One anywhere you want and play your games, just like on Xbox 360."
Microsoft also reversed its policy with regard to game resales. The company had planned to let game publishers set the rules for reselling games to retailers, something that a regular web connection would have allowed. Game makers could have restricted the use of games on more than one console, or required a fee for reuse. Microsoft had also planned to limit gamers' ability to share titles with friends, allowing them only to give a disc to a buddy who has been on their friends list for at least 30 days. And even then, each game would only have been able to be given once.
Those restrictions have been rescinded, as well.
"Trade-in, lend, resell, gift and rent disc-based games just like you do today," Mattrick wrote. "There will be no limitations to using and sharing games; it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360."
As for regional restrictions, which had frustrated gamers in regions outside the 21 countries initially approved for release (and the US Navy), they have now been completely removed.
"In addition to buying a disc from a retailer, you can also download games from Xbox Live on day of release. If you choose to download your games, you will be able to play them offline just like you do today. Xbox One games will be playable on any Xbox One console — there will be no regional restrictions."