Microsoft Reverses Controversial Xbox One DRM Policies
Does DRM have no place in the living room? Microsoft backtracks on the Xbox One's Internet connectivity requirements and used game restrictions.After several days of weathering backlash from video gamers, Microsoft announced that it was rolling back its plans to institute the Xbox One's used game restrictions and daily "check in" requirement. The Xbox One is set to go on sale in November for $499. This time around, the base offering will include the company's Kinect motion sensing controller and feature deep cloud connectivity, HD Skype integration, and voice-enabled TV and multimedia handling capabilities. Since Microsoft presented the Xbox One on June 10 at a media event during the E3 video game conference in Los Angeles, controversy over the system's digital rights management (DRM) scheme threatened to overshadow its games, cloud integration and advanced, Kinect-powered voice and motion controls. To enforce the Xbox One's DRM program, Microsoft would have required that the console check with its servers at least once a day, drawing the ire of consumers with inconsistent or non-existent broadband access. After years of being able to freely play and trade game discs—including on Microsoft’s own Xbox and Xbox 360 platforms—video game enthusiasts also balked at company's new policies regarding used game sales, rentals, and disc lending and trading. Only Microsoft-approved retailers would be able to sell used games, putting a crimp on the secondary games market and largely direct consumer-to-consumer transactions.
Needless to say, many gamers vented their displeasure on social media, blogs and popular Websites like Reddit. The industry, meanwhile, crowned Microsoft's archrival Sony and its PlayStation 4 (PS4) system as the winners of this year's E3, largely by virtue of the Japanese company's hands-off approach to used games and the console's $399 price tag. After E3, Sony PS4 preorders hovered at and around first place on Amazon.com's video game best sellers list, above Xbox One.