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Xbox One Restrictions Removed: Why, and What Does This Mean Going Forward?

When the Xbox One was first announced it almost instantly came under fire due to rumors surrounding the system’s DRM requirements.

Eventually Microsoft confirmed the Xbox One would require you to check in every 24 hours, and would limit how/when/why you trade or share games. Additionally, all games would be installed to your HDD completely – with no real need or use for game discs.

During E3, Sony gained quite a bit of positive attention, as the company made it clear they would NOT be going down a similar route as the One. The negative response from gamers got so bad for Microsoft that the company has now completely reversed its plans for the Xbox One – long before it hits stores later this year.

Here’s what Don Mattrick, Microsoft’s president of interactive entertainment, had to say:

“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 what does this mean? Basically, when the console launches this November it will work very similarly to the Xbox 360.

You will not need to worry about logging in every 24 hours in order to keep your system running. You also will no longer need to worry about used games restrictions, as games will no longer require you to install them on your system and will work just like 360 games. This means you can freely trade and sell games as you see fit.

It is important to note that the Xbox One will still require you to have an online connection in order to set-up the system from day one.

There are also some word choice elements used by Microsoft that seem to suggest some of its restrictions might still be in place, though that’s just speculation on my part. For example, Microsoft states:

, “After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again.”

Focus on the disc-based game part. Microsoft hasn’t confirmed whether it is still possible to fully install your titles onto your HDD, removing the need for a disc. If it is, will these titles still require you to check in or limit trade/sell? Hard to say for sure at this point.

Either way, these new changes seem to be great news for those that didn’t like the idea of Xbox One’s restrictions.

So what went wrong in the first place?

Was Microsoft’s plans for the Xbox One so awful? Yes and no. Honestly – somewhat like Windows 8 – Microsoft’s biggest issue wasn’t necessarily that it was bringing huge changes, it was failure to properly explain them.

Windows 8’s new UI and its long-term vision do in some ways make sense (though that’s an argument for a different day), it’s just that Microsoft didn’t really give us a real WHY.

For the Xbox One, I personally believe Microsoft had a clear vision for a future of digital content sharing. It saw the disc drive going away and it was taking steps to move into that direction.

While major opponents of Xbox One restrictions might fail to see this, the online-always and locked-in game approach did open so interesting doors that went beyond just DRM. For example, Microsoft was creating a way to make a “family/friend” group of 10 special users that would basically have full access to each other’s games.

This worked because Microsoft locked the games to specific Xbox Live accounts and could make sure that the games weren’t be used concurrently by all ten users, etc. With the Xbox One restriction removal – this feature is believed to no longer be in the pipeline, unless it still applies to digital downloaded content.

Some of the special TV and multi-tasking features also might have been enhanced by an always-on approach.

The Xbox One’s vision wasn’t so different from the PS4

The reality is that what Microsoft was hoping to accomplish doesn’t seem much different than Sony’s long-term goal. Both companies see a huge future in digital, locked-down content. The big difference here was implementation. Like with Windows 8 once again, Microsoft made the choice to force users to use the new Modern UI in replacement of the traditional start menu – instead of making it an option.

With the PS4, Sony is pushing digital content hard. Downloading will receive quite a bit of focus, and they are using features like streaming to make downloading better than ever. You don’t have to wait for a full download to complete to start playing a game on the PS4, thanks to the power of streaming you could be up and playing in a matter of 15 minutes or so.

Sony is making its digital push, cloud saving and online-focused structure optional. Microsoft wasn’t. With this change to a DRM-free approach, Microsoft’s long-term goal probably hasn’t changed any, they are just taking a few steps back from their more bullish plan.

What do you think of Microsoft’s change in policy, will it be enough to win back over many of the fans it angered or is the long-term damage already done long before the system arrives to retail?

Source: Guardian



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  1. they removed the restrictions does not mean they will not implement them back
    will never RISK $499 , i wonder after XBOX one the next console will have so many restrictions that will only turn ON after you wear specific colour cloths. LAME !!

  2. microsoft shouldve never made those restictions in the first place. iwas really looking forward to it but it changed my mind …
    ps4 here i go cx

  3. Now I’m getting it :)

  4. they still really need to make it backwards compatible. i mean i would love to play the 360 games on xbox one. not have to rebuy all the recent ones i have picked up.

  5. I’m upset at this descision from microsoft to take these steps back. What is this going to do to cloud gaming as well as sharing games. I loved the idea of me and my friend playing my games. I’ve never been one to sell back games and I’ve got a collection on my shelf that i’m not ashamed to still own. The stink created by microsoft hasn’t gone away this system will come back. As an avid gamer both on pc and the 360 the ability to share games would have made a game changing lifetime. Find me a company willing to let you share games with your friends. Not to mention the increased performance you get from an instaleld game, already proven by the 360. Once again consumers will run a great idea into the ground (gamegear). Give me the options back, i’m down for the long haul.

  6. As a day one Xbox one supporter, I feel cheated. I loved the idea of installing my entire game library and then being able to switch seamlessly from one to the other. I want to go to my friends house and not need to take my disc with me. I reserved the Xbox one, and now I’m thinking of getting my money back. All these cry babies have held Microsoft back from the revolutionary vision they had. Now its just another 360 with a little more power. I am ashamed at all of you.

  7. Both companies should put forward their ideas as options to the gamers, this could encourage gamers to explore the new ideas, instead of forcing gamers into something, then the companies can decide what gamers like and what they don’t.

    • The problem with options is fragmentation. Sony gave PS2 gamers the option of using Dial-up or Broadband for online gaming, MS instead forced broadband-Only because it made sense. Xbox Live experience compared to the PS2 was miles better because you didn’t have someone in the match connecting with dial-up screwing it up for everyone else. What made the disc-less feature special is that MS was basically allowing you to “Convert” your physical media into digital and the only way for that the happen without cheating the system is by making users check in. Now we’re back to a separate Digital vs Physical media which we’ve always had. The beauty was that people with limited data connections or slow internet could’ve still gotten digital copies via a physical disc instead of having to download massive games, in addition you can log in to any Xbox One and still have access to your physical game purchase without the disc. Now we’re back to separate formats again.

    • The whole idea of not able to resell the game means you are buying the game but you do not own it !! so stupid stuff by microsoft

  8. I personally hope to see the return of these features as ”options”, they were (sic: are) awesome features that need to return, Microsoft will improve the Xbox One’s software, if you bought an Xbox 360 at launch it’s a completely different device as it is now.

  9. This is HUGE…MSFT got the last laugh.

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