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    June 20, 2013

    Microsoft Backtracks on Xbox One Licensing Policies

    Boy is this good news for gamers. The Xbox One was officially unveiled recently – and despite brilliant features and excellent hardware, the device got hammered in the media for two reasons.

    First off, the Xbox One needed a daily check-in through the internet to ensure you are licensed for the games you are playing. This means that if your internet was down that day you simply could not play any games. Ridiculous.

    Secondly, Microsoft wanted to control licensing of games through digital rights management. This meant that you could not simply go and buy a second hand game from a store like BT Games. You had to have the “license” transferred to your console, just like say, a piece of software. Once again, no internet, no go.

    The backlash was so big that many Xbox fans simply stated they would switch to Playstation 4 due to these policies (and who could blame them?).

    Sony was very quick to point out their upcoming PS4 will not force publishers to use the license transfer system, and gamers could simply go ahead and swap and buy second hand games as always. Needless to say, the sentiment of the Xbox One quickly fell out of favour with the general public. (See our comparison of Xbox One vs PS4 here)

    So here is the the good news: Microsoft has stepped back from these ridiculous policies. Microsoft’s president of interactive entertainment made a lengthy blog post about this very issue, and had the following to say:

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

    “You told us how much you loved the flexibility you have today with games delivered on disc. The ability to lend, share, and resell these games at your discretion is of incredible importance to you. Also important to you is the freedom to play offline, for any length of time, anywhere in the world.”

    This means that:

    • An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games““ After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again. 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.
    • Trade-in, lend, resell, gift, and rent disc based games just like you do today ““ There will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360.

    It is great to see Microsoft finally accepting this harsh truth with the Xbox One, and I am pretty sure Xbox fans will be very happy to hear this.


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    • Matt Visser

      Dammit, actually wrote a substantial comment because I care about this and when I signed into disqus it handily deleted my comment.

      Shorter version, happy that they’ve addressed some of the obvious mistakes, but sad that they still retain the right to record, monitor and remotely activate cameras, microphones etc.. Is it really essential to ‘improve user experience’? DRM was just silly, they would have died a quick death if they didn’t change that, as you’ve mentioned, but I worry that not enough people care about privacy to change some of the other horrendous operating terms and conditions.


    • Bob

      Good. I still don’t understand why I have to pay for mulitplayer though.

    • saneman

      All of it will be back after launch once people have spent their hard earned money on the xbox one-80. And its not coming to South Africa so its pointless…