Microsoft has just completed a stunning 180 on its digital rights management (DRM) policy for the Xbox One.
You will no longer need a connection to the internet to play offline games and there is no requirement at all to connect to Microsoft servers every 24 hours. In addition, all disc-based games will be used exactly as they are now with the Xbox 360. You can trade, swap, buy and sell them as you please. There will also be no regional restrictions.
Downloaded titles cannot be traded (as it works today) and you will also need to have the disc in the tray when you want to play a disc based game, even if it has been installed on your hard-drive. Here’s an excerpt from the official statement.
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.
What’s bizarre (or sadly expected, I guess) is the backlash that this reversal is now receiving everywhere. Gamers essentially asked to be able to own their games and play them offline. They’ve gotten exactly that and also seem to expect the sharing policies (with up to ten family members) to remain. The thing is you can very rarely have your cake and eat it too.
And on the positive side it shows that consumers still hold the power to shape the way products are developed, a particularly important point in respect of the constantly evolving DRM landscape that we face today.