Xbox One revokes DRM – what have we done?

Xbox One revokes DRM – what have we done?
Editor at TechForge Media. Often sighted at global tech conferences with a coffee in one hand and laptop in the other. If it's geeky, I'm probably into it.

When Microsoft unveiled their latest Xbox console, going by the moniker of “One”, many complained about its seemingly strict DRM policy. The outcry regarding it caused Microsoft to revoke the decision, but is it a win for gamers? Not likely.

For us, the gamers, it’s easy to see why we wouldn’t want to connect our consoles to the internet every 24 hours; easy to see why we would want to freely trade or give discs to friends in the way we know…

However, for the industry it’s a different matter. Ask yourselves why so many game studios are closing down? Lack of money – mainly lost through used game sales and piracy.

It’s not such an issue for the industry heavyweights, but small studios cannot risk investment with the possibility of no return. For this reason many companies are turning to Kickstarter lately to gauge interest and raise funds.

It doesn’t mean games are doomed, and there are some fantastic indie titles with great ideas. But studios cannot afford to place big bucks into high-budget titles. Here, Microsoft was trying to be the “white knight” of the industry, and instead we gave that title to Sony.

You know what that could also have meant? Listen in people, cheaper games for you. If publishers knew they wouldn’t be losing money, savings could be passed on, or least prevented from rising. Is this really plausible you ask? Take a look at the cheap games on Steam.

I’m not saying we should all take the blame; if Microsoft had informed gamers of this whilst on stage at E3 then perhaps the community would be a little more understanding.

Still, one area I am glad for is military personnel. Xbox has a long history of providing entertainment to serving troops abroad who may not be able to connect to the internet every 24 hours. Maybe providing a non-DRM version would have been on the cards anyway? We’ll never know.

So the decision has been made, no point in dwelling on what could have been. How will the annulment affect launch features?

Firstly, the console will require a patch at launch to enable this lack of functionality; a clear sign manufacturing is already well under way. The update will remove sharing between ten family members, and the ability to download your games “from the cloud” anywhere you like.

As Marc Whitten, VP of Xbox Live clarified to Kotaku, “One of the things we were very excited about was ‘wherever we go my games are always with me.’ Now, of course your physical games won’t show up that way. The games you bought digitally will.”

He added, “You’ll have to bring your discs with you to have your games with you,”

There we have it: we took aim at Microsoft for forward-thinking…

What do you think of Microsoft revoking their DRM policy for the Xbox One?

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