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Thursday
Jun202013

Microsoft Reverses DRM Policy, Keeps Extra $100

In the biggest instance of corporate "Oops! My bad!" I've seen in a long time, Microsoft has now completely changed their tune with the XBOX One. Don Mattrick, they guy who last week essentially said if you don't like what we're doing go pound sand, is now saying,

"I would like to take the opportunity today to thank you for your assistance in helping us to reshape the future of Xbox One."

If you haven't heard already, it boils down to this. No more 24 hour internet check-in. You can play any game offline for as long as you want. You can give a disc to a friend or sell it just like with current consoles. And disc-based games will require the disc to be in the tray of the machine. You'll also be able to purchase games via download instead of disc, but you won't be able to share those games at all (unlike the previous "10 family member" scheme they had proposed).

Lots of people on the Internet are taking victory laps now (just read the comment section of any news article on the subject) but I'm more interested in the specifics of what made Microsoft change. I expect it had more to do with the developers who backed the XBOX One freaking out than even weak pre-sales. (Check out this article in the Guardian, "Xbox One reversal: did Microsoft make the right decision?".)

With dropping all of the DRM restrictions, I think this has changed enough minds so that the Xbox One will be a competitive gaming platform into the next ten years. The reversal shows that Microsoft is listening to its community, even if (cynically) it's really because they were listening to the developers who were listening to the community.

PS4 still has momentum post-E3 and I'm ever concerned about how the extra $100 cost over the PS4 will affect sales. But Microsoft doesn't seem to be worried about the money and they're the ones with the most skin in the game. Personally I've gotten well over $500 of enjoyment from my Xbox 360, so in November it looks like I'll be going with the Xbox One.

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