Features & News

Microsoft abandons Xbox One’s anti-consumer policies. Everyone makes predictable Xbox One-Eighty jokes

June 20, 2013, Author: Andy Corrigan

It’s no secret that Microsoft have been under a lot of pressure from a large, vocal portion of the gaming community since they revealed some questionable policies pertaining to the upcoming Xbox One. Many folks, myself included, felt that the Xbox One would ultimately inconvenience the user, assume them as dirty pirates thanks to its need to regularly check in with Xbox Live, and owners would find themselves limited by the hefty restrictions on what you can do with your game once you’d finished with it.

Following their reveal, the constant question dodging, vague statements and contradictory explanations from different areas of the business have done nothing to reassure or appease potential buyers.

Presumably, the pre-orders haven’t exactly been flying off the virtual shelves then, as Xbox’s Don Mattrick has announced via Xbox Wire that those restrictions are now officially history…

“We have listened and we have heard loud and clear from your feedback that you want the best of both worlds.”

“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.” says Mattrick. “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.”

“So, today I am announcing the following changes to Xbox One and how you can play, share, lend, and resell your games exactly as you do today on Xbox 360. Here is what that means:”

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.

Ironically, the ability to play offline indefinitely has to be enabled by downloading a day-one patch… The post also explains that this U-turn does mean an impact on some of the Xbox One’s previously touted functionality, leaving downloaded titles unable to be shared within a household or resold onto friends, and the console requires that games bought on disc be in the system to work.

That said, I don’t understand why the ability to freely share your disc-based titles with friends should have any impact on a new system designed to allow you to lend or sell your digitally-bought games. Plus, seeing as it’s up to publishers to allow that functionality and whether it comes at a discretionary cost, I’m not sure that it’s as big a loss as is being made out. Especially not when compared to what rights you’d have lost under the previous rule set.

Unfortunately, while this is definitely good news, it has zero bearing on my decision to pre-order a PS4 earlier this week. Microsoft may no longer be trying to control a market that they and their bedfellows don’t particularly like, but they still tried  to enforce some shitty policies and smugly expected their audience to swallow it. That’s simply not something I’m looking to reward by being the early adopter I would otherwise have been.

The positive thing to come out of this entire mess is that despite what some major corporations believe, it’s the consumer that still holds all the power when it truly counts.