In a tale of just how much power an extremely vocal fanbase can have, Microsoft have made a huge decision by backtracking on the previously announced DRM and online connectivity measures that were set to be enforced on their new, next generation console, the Xbox One.
In early June, at E3 in Los Angeles, Calif., Microsoft announced a plethora of features for their Xbox One console. Among these were their proposed plans of how to curb the profit stifling act of video game piracy that seems to be on the rise. How they would do this is that the Xbox One would have to connect or ‘check in’ to the Internet once every 24 hours otherwise it would be limited to just a day’s worth of offline play before it would no longer play your games at all (until you check in again, of course). What this meant is that Microsoft would be able to know if you were playing a pirated game or not, thus checking that you weren’t getting up to no good on their console.
Also detailed by Microsoft back in E3 were the Xbox One’s game sharing capabilities, or rather its seeming lack thereof. The plan was that any games you own, downloadable or otherwise, would be tied to your specific Xbox One account. From there you would be able to allow up to 10 members of your family or friends (or a mixture of both) to access your account from their own respective Xbox One’s and as a result they would gain access to your entire game library.
However, gamers had issues with the lack of ‘ownership’ and many brought up the point that games shouldn’t be restricted in such a way, for the way has always been ‘if you bought it then you own it’ and from then on you could more or less anything you want with the disc, bar recreate the content on it. Gamers also felt that this would put limits on their ability to buy and sell pre-owned games as games would have been tied to your Xbox One account until the publisher of the game says you can do anything else with it.
As a result, this latest news is that Microsoft have scrapped these plans, seemingly for good. After the announcement, pre-orders of Sony’s console, the PS4 (which is also the Xbox One’s closest competitor) skyrocketed, as did Sony’s shares. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s own shares faced an immediate drop in value. The unpopular measures have been thrown out to appease fans but many have also suggested that investors were none to happy about their shares going to dust because of Microsoft’s failure to promote their Xbox One plans.
Furthermore, as this big news has been doing the rounds on the web in the past day or so, critics have actually supposed that the fanbase hollering their opposition for the DRM and online requirements of the Xbox One, isn’t actually that large at all. Some are saying that it’s a very small but very vocal group who have just been incredibly effective, more effective than Microsoft’s marketing efforts that is, of getting their point across.
This move may turn out to be favourable for Microsoft who will likely see some upturn in fan support for their decision to backtrack, but in the long run, it may not help gamers at all. It’s reckoned that with the DRM measures (which Microsoft have deemed no longer fit), the retail prices for boxed Xbox One games would have decreased as publishers would no longer have to worry about losing out when it comes to pre owned sales. It’s also rumoured that Microsoft were looking into a digital resale scheme, allowing gamers to sell their unwanted digital copies of titles to their peers for some monetary reward in return.
What lies ahead for Microsoft as they’ve made this huge decision is yet to be known but we’ll keep you posted once it becomes clear.