Xbox backs down on DRM, but at the cost of its better features


Microsoft just announced they are completely revising their take on Xbox One DRM and used games. Basically, the system will be very similar to the current gen and PS4’s model. An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games and trade-in, lend, resell, gift, and rent disc based games just like you do today. This is great news, it goes to show how much weight the consumers and competition from Sony have in these decisions. It’s kind of a relief to see Microsoft change their policies before they released the console and witnessed low sales.

On the other hand, I’m a bit sad. As disc-based game licenses can no longer be attached to accounts (discs can be shared the same way we do it now) it means the disc now has to be in the tray while you are playing. Disc swapping is back, and so is bringing your discs to other people’s houses. No more sharing games with your friends just by signing in. No more fast game swapping. The good news is digital versions of games will still be released day one, however I suspect these will be at high R.R.P. Keeping the system we have now for 360 and PS3 just means publishers can use their own rubbish DRM techniques. That will now continue into the next generation.

In an ideal world, I reckon there is still room for compromise. A sign in check every week instead of 24 hours. Installing the game from the disc could give the licence to you until that same disc is used in another console. Account attached games and your library on any console was what I was really looking forward to with Xbox One. Oh well. Maybe next-next generation, eh?