Trade Resources Industry Views Microsoft Has Reversed The DRM Policy for Its Upcoming New Console

Microsoft Has Reversed The DRM Policy for Its Upcoming New Console

Microsoft has reversed the DRM [digital rights management] policy for its upcoming new console, the Xbox One, only a week after it was announced.

The policy, made public on 10 June 2013 at the Electronics Entertainment Expo [E3] in LA, required users of the Xbox One to check in with Microsoft servers every 24 hours, placed limitations on sharing disc-based software, and levied heavy restrictions on users selling and trading software on the second-hand market.

Games were to be tied to user accounts and system serial numbers, in a similar way to Microsoft's licensing policy with PC operating systems.

Public reaction to the decision was hugely negative, with Xbox One's Facebook page filled with abusive comments from angry gamers, while concerns from individuals such as armed forces personnel – who could not connect hardware to the internet during duty abroad – represented vast swathes of a potential audience for the new console feeling alienated.

Meanwhile, Sony's 11 June press conference unveiling its new PlayStation 4 console – the Xbox One's market rival – capitalised almost entirely on the PS4's lack of DRM restrictions.

In a blog posted on Microsoft's Xbox news site last night, Don Mattrick, president of Microsoft's interactive entertainment business, announced the company had "read your comments and listened to your feedback".

As a result, Microsoft has removed the need for an internet connection to play Xbox One games – either disc-based, or downloaded from its servers. After a single connection on installation of the device, no further check-in will be required.

Microsoft has also lifted its impending restrictions on lending, gifting and reselling software, restoring Xbox One's treatment of software licences to the convention on the current Xbox 360 – a user will have full control over the disc they own.

Mattrick thanked users for the "candid feedback" that led to these decisions, as well as the "passion, support and willingness to challenge the assumptions of digital licensing and connectivity".

Mattrick also said Microsoft "believes that the majority of people will play games online and access the cloud for both games and entertainment", but is willing to "give consumers the choice of both physical and digital content".

The U-turn is the second time in recent months that Microsoft has had to eat humble pie after proudly introducing a policy that quickly proved unpopular. In May, the company announced it was reintroducing the Start button and other classic Windows features into the OS update that would emerge as Windows 8.1.

Additionally, the company seems to have all but retired the Surface RT – the ARM-based precursor to the Surface Pro – which ran a cut-down version of Windows 8 incompatible with legacy software. While often mentioned in the same breath as the iPad in terms of market aims, the device is now being sold for only $199 to educational institutes after failing to make a dent in the hardware market.

Is the reversal of Xbox One policy another example of Microsoft's design-by-committee and internal faction infighting affecting the judgement of its business policies? Or did it just think Sony would go the same way, and have to pull the escape chord in a damage limitation bid? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Contribute Copyright Policy
Microsoft U-Turns on Xbox One DRM Policy After Week-Long Negative Public Reaction