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The Xbox One reverses its course on DRM, great news, right? Wrong. While part of the developer story still remains to be seen at the BUILD conference, what we have now is a console that is not too much different than the Xbox 360 (Xbox 361?) or the PS4 for that matter. Earlier today a Microsoft spokesman confirmed that
- Your entire games collection will no longer be available from the cloud.
- Playing disc based games will requite will require the disc for playback.
- Also, we will no longer offer family game sharing from the cloud.
- The sharing of games will work as it does on Xbox 360, you’ll simply share the disc.
- Downloaded titles cannot be shared or resold
The Xbox One originally saw itself as an authentically digital device, and now we take a step backwards where people are stuck with their discs. When is the last time you saw a PC Gamer complaining about not being able to re-sell their used game on Steam. Microsoft was originally also allowing you to share games with up to 10 friends. Imagine a family where a Dad and his two sons want to play Halo against each other. With the Xbox One, they would only need one copy of Halo, now with the changed rules, they need to buy three.
Gizmodo made a nice list of some possible scenarios that would have been possible with the Xbox One, but are not longer.
- Every game you bought, physical or digital, would be tied to your account. This would eliminate current-gen problems like buying a disc, and then being unable to store it or download it from the cloud.
- Because every single game, physical or digital, would be tied to an account, publishers could create a hub to sell and resell the games digitally. Let’s refer to these as “licenses” from here, even though it’s a loaded term.
- Because reselling games would now work through a hub, publishers could make money on resold games.
- Here is how this makes sense for YOU: New games could then be cheaper. Why? Publishers KNOW that they will not make money on resold games, so they charge more to you, the first buyer. You are paying for others’ rights to use your game in the future. If the old system had gone into place, you would likely have seen game prices drop. Or, at the very least, it could have staved off price increases.
- You also would have started getting a better return on your “used” games—because a license does not have to be resold at a diminished rate.
- How do you know that this would have been the case? Because that’s exactly what happens on Steam. But wait!, you shout. Steam is CHEAP cheap, and it has crazy sales. We love Steam! Micro$oft is nothing like that. Well, no, it isn’t now, but Steam was once $team, too. It was not always popular, and its licensing model was once heavily maligned. Given time, though, it’s now the only way almost every PC gamer wants to play games.
- Sharing games would have worked either by activating your Live account on someone else’s Xbox One, or by including them in your 10-person share plan, which would not have been limited to “family.”. Details on that had been scarse, but even the strictest limitations (one other person playing any of the shared games from your account) would have been a HUGE improvement over the none that we have now. We don’t get that now.
- The 24-hour check-in would have been necessary for the X1’s store, which it is not for Steam, because the physical product (game discs) would still be available. This check-in, literally bytes of data exchanged, would confirm that the games installed were not gaming the system in a convoluted install-here-and-then-go-offline-and-I’ll-go-home-and-check-in-and-go-offline-too-and-we’ll-both-use-the-game methods.
There is something ironic about people going online to complain about the 24-hr check on the Xbox One. We had people complaining about the theoretical possibility of not being able to play their game offline after 24 hours, from people who have not been offline for 24 seconds in the past year. I’m sitting here dumbfounded that Microsoft listened to 14 year olds on reddit and twitter. Microsoft listened to a vocal minority of morons and idiots, there is no other way to put it more nicely than that.
I also want to call out Tom Warren and other douchebag journalists who helped spread FUD about the Xbox and DRM and are now changing their narrative to say Microsoft should have stuck to their guns after realizing what they done. Here is a tweet from Mr. Warren “Ultimately, Microsoft’s plan was brave and innovative with the Xbox One. All they should have done is be more honest and explained it better.” Tom should be embarrassed, it was his website (The Verge) that was largely responsible for spreading untruths about the Xbox One. They were more interested in clicks/page views than anything else. Maybe as a “journalist” he should have written some articles to clear up the confusion. Tom likes to try to play it both ways here. Microsoft was crystal clear as to exactly what was going on in blog posts on Xbox News.
Microsoft will never win the PR war ever. The introduction of the start menu in Win8 solves nothing and did not help anybody like Windows 8 more. The removal of this DRM will do little to change people’s minds about the Xbox One. The tech press has and always will hate Microsoft. Even with this reversal nobody has changed their mind about buying an Xbox One. This complaining was all inside the tech circle jerk bubble. Microsoft needs to learn to stick to its guns and stop listening to minority crowd of morons and anti-Microsoft “journalists.”
Ultimately, I think Microsoft thought there was too much damage being done and they did not want the PS4 to gain a significant advantage over the Xbox One. Also as easily as these features were taken out they can be added back in. As they old saying goes If you throw a frog into a pot of boiling water, he’ll jump out. But if you place a frog into a pot of lukewarm water and slowly turn up the heat, it will boil to death. And so it is with inflation. In this case the DRM was too much for the typical moron gamer and Microsoft will have to slowly introduce these features over the next decade.
I’m saddened by Microsoft’s decision. The real winner here is Game Stop who will continue selling discs in 2013 (and the future, imagine that!). For the first time I was genuinely interested in buying an Xbox, and now I am much less so. To idiot gamers out there and moron journalists, I hope you got what you wanted. Thanks for ruining it for everybody.