Thursday30 June 2022

Microsoft Removes 24-Hour Check-in and Used Game Restrictions, But There are Still Concerns

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Xbox One

Microsoft is making a rapid about face on their DRM AND use game policies. Despite their original statements that people should get an Xbox 360 if they want to play offline they are now removing the 24-hout check in period for disk based games. They are also removing the restrictions they had in place for trading and selling used games. Microsoft is claiming that they did this due to user feedback, but for some reason we think it was more about Sony’s announcement and the way gamers shifted loyalties so fast.

Today in a blog post, Don Mattrick made a very clear statement of concession to consumer demand:

“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.”

This shows that the original restrictions were all Microsoft based and had nothing to do with game developer pressure. Microsoft wanted these new conditions (and also want to push more into their cloud services) and were betting that the masses would simply comply. The problem is that the gaming community is not the same as the computing community. They know what they want and will find someone that will give it to them. In the console world Microsoft has two other big players that can shift their strategies to suit demand just as Sony did.

There is still something that worries me though, Microsoft is not known for their easy capitulation to consumer demands; just look at their refusal to do anything about the Start Menu in Windows 8. If they are giving in now it is for a reason and, as we said, it is not likely that it is consumer complaints. We wonder if they are changing their minds knowing that they can implement this policy once they get people onboard. If you have a few hundred dollars in games for a console you are not likely to dump it even if something like a 24-hour check in is put in place (just like many people stick with a mail provider or ISP for their email address or iTunes for music and apps). Microsoft is showing us how fast these requirements can be removed so we imagine it would be just as easy to put them back.

The change is a smart one for Microsoft at a time when all of their flagship products are coming under fire for massive changes. It also could be the start of a wider trend to being to respond to consumer criticism about other new Microsoft products (or not). We wonder if  the gaming community will trust them enough to invest or if they will be wary of finding themselves locked into a console that tethers them to an internet connection and no way to leave that does not cost them money… I guess the sales numbers from this point forward will tell the tale.

Do you think Microsoft will try to put their DRM back at a later date? Tell us in our Forum

Last modified on Wednesday, 19 June 2013 18:17

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