Everything is back to the way it was -- but is it too little, too late?
By Tim Colwill on June 20, 2013 at 10:03 am
Australians woke up this morning to the bewildering news that Microsoft had performed a complete about-face on the hotly controversial issue of its Xbox One always-online DRM and game-locking strategies.
In a statement on the official Xbox News site, president Don Mattrick cited the “candid feedback” from gamers to the console’s restrictive policies as the reason for the change.
“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.”
The key changes
No online connection required to play single-player games
The once-every-24-hours check-in system has been dropped. The only requirement now is for a one-time internet connection at system setup.
Trading, re-selling and lending will happen exactly as it does today
Microsoft are ditching the restrictions on game lending and selling completely, saying “it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360″.
Gamestop (known here in Australia as EB Games) expressed delight at the news, saying “This is great news for gamers and we applaud Microsoft for understanding consumers and the importance of the pre-owned market.”
Shares in Gamestop rose 6% following this announcement.
Games are now region-free
“Xbox One games will be playable on any Xbox One console — there will be no regional restrictions,” reads the announcement. Time to start finding a good game importer folks, if you haven’t already (something most Australians are already intimately familiar with).
Some always-online based features are gone
Microsoft’s previously-announced policy of being able to share your games digitally with up to nine other “family members” and access them via any console has been scrapped (fortunately, something similar is coming soon to Steam).
You’ll also no longer be able to log into any console with your Xbox LIVE account and play your games there.
Delivered via day-one patch
These changes have been revealed to take effect via a day-one patch which will enable to console to go offline indefinitely.
Thanks to the thirty-seven different people who sent this news in.