UPDATE / CONFIRMED: Microsoft to Announce Reversal of XBOX One DRM Policies

UPDATE / CONFIRMED: Microsoft to Announce Reversal of XBOX One DRM Policies

by June 19, 2013

No More Check-Ins, No More Always-On

UPDATE 3: A Kotaku report claims XBOX One users will be required to download a day-one patch that will eliminate DRM restrictions outlined below.  Furthermore, two features originally planned for XBOX One–game availability and game library sharing through the cloud–will be cut as a result of the change.

UPDATE 2: Microsoft’s Don Mattrick in a statement have confirmed the original report.  His full remarks are below; our original story follows.

Last week at E3, the excitement, creativity and future of our industry was on display for a global audience.

For us, the future comes in the form of Xbox One, a system designed to be the best place to play games this year and for many years to come. As is our heritage with Xbox, we designed a system that could take full advantage of advances in technology in order to deliver a breakthrough in game play and entertainment. We imagined a new set of benefits such as easier roaming, family sharing, and new ways to try and buy games. We believe in the benefits of a connected, digital future.

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.

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.

In addition to buying a disc from a retailer, you can also download games from Xbox Live on day of release. If you choose to download your games, you will be able to play them offline just like you do today. Xbox One games will be playable on any Xbox One console — there will be no regional restrictions.

These changes will impact some of the scenarios we previously announced for Xbox One. The sharing of games will work as it does today, you will simply share the disc. Downloaded titles cannot be shared or resold. Also, similar to today, playing disc based games will require that the disc be in the tray.

We appreciate your passion, support and willingness to challenge the assumptions of digital licensing and connectivity. While we believe that the majority of people will play games online and access the cloud for both games and entertainment, we will give consumers the choice of both physical and digital content. We have listened and we have heard loud and clear from your feedback that you want the best of both worlds.

Thank you again for your candid feedback. Our team remains committed to listening, taking feedback and delivering a great product for you later this year.

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A report from Giant Bomb’s Patrick Klepek citing unknown sources has alleged Microsoft will announce a sweeping reversal of its alleged draconian rights management policies pertaining to the upcoming XBOX One as soon as today.

According to the article, no longer would the system require to be always connected to the Internet, and no longer would the system “check in” with Microsoft servers every 24 hours to confirm legitimate copies of game.  In addition, there would no longer be region locks, restrictions on trading or loaning physical copies of game discs, and downloaded games would work offline.  The only Internet requirement, according to the report, would be in the initial setup process.

This is as close to a 180 as one can get, considering Microsoft stuck to its guns on the policies during last week’s critical Electronic Entertainment Expo.  The negative reaction has been fermenting for weeks, but it may have only come to a head just last night, when Sony’s PlayStation 4 made an appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.  Fallon made the sweeping claim that PS4 will be the only system that can play used games.  While that language is not technically one hundred percent correct as it pertains to XBOX One, exactly how Microsoft’s system will support used games, if at all, has been left officially convoluted, and even third parties like Electronic Arts have been in talks to make official announcements of their used game policy.  Talk of adding a circle of up to 10 friends and family members to allow game borrowing on XBOX One has helped slightly, but even the press has been left with confusing official information and comment on the matter.  Still, even if the above information comes to fruition, Playstation 4 would still have a $100 price advantage over XBOX One.

This story is developing and it should be noted as of this article’s publication, Microsoft has afforded no official comment yet.  When we know more, so will you.

UPDATE: Microsoft has confirmed some sort of change via XBOX Wire, but what those changes are is anyone’s guess at the moment.  Here is MS’s initial statement:

As a result of feedback from the Xbox community, we have changed certain policies for Xbox One.