Microsoft has taken the quite shocking – but welcome – step of backtracking on the Xbox One’s DRM and used game policy.
When Microsoft announced that the console would require users to connect to the Internet once per day in order to play any games at all, and that used or borrowed games would likely require a fee to play, the public (and to a large extent the press) reacted with horror and bemusement. Microsoft baking such a system into its console seemed a move designed to solely benefit money-grubbing publishers; in what conceivable way would it improve the Xbox One experience for the user?
It only got worse for Microsoft when Sony gleefully revealed that it had not built any such system into the PS4. Users would be free to play used or borrowed games without fear of being charged an exorbitant fee, and there’d be no requirement to connect once every 24 hours.
Not only that, but the PS4 would be US$100 cheaper than the Xbox One. Suddenly, Microsoft’s console started to look a lot less appealing than the competition.
Now, a few days after the E3 dust has settled, Microsoft has announced that almost all its DRM rules no longer apply. The daily Internet connection? Gone – you only need connect to the Internet once, when you initially set it up. Games on disc will be playable just as the are on the Xbox 360 (i.e. you can buy them second-hand or borrow them and they’ll work). There are rumours that games won’t be region locked too – but that isn't 100 percent official yet.
It’s one of the biggest u-turns in gaming history, and what seems like a real victory for the consumer.
Also, a big shout out to our sister site WhatHiFi.com, who were first to publish this story well before it became official.
While it's indeed great news that Microsoft is backtracking on the DRM for the Xbox One, those in Asia will be unable to join in the launch party. Microsoft previously confirmed that its console will only be available in Asia in late 2014.