Thursday, 06 June 2013 23:33

The Xbox One Must Check-In Every 24-Hours To Keep Playing Games

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Microsoft just cannot get out of their own way. First they blunder with Windows RT and how they handled its introduction with partners and developers. After that they confused and annoyed consumers by making a drastic shift in the Window 8 UI. They did all of this despite consumer feedback that showed they probably should have stuck with a more familiar UI and OS. Now Microsoft is at it again as we find out more about the Xbox One’s data connection need and the trading or reselling of games.

On the subject of the data connection needs Microsoft was a little misleading when they claimed that you would only need to check in periodically to verify your games. Many took this to mean a few days, maybe a week using a sort of expiring DRM key for each game. It turns out the period that you can let things go is only 24 hours if you are using your own authorized console. If you are playing on someone else’s console you need to check in every hour. The move is obviously to prevent the spread of pirated games, but in reality it means that you are not free to use your console in the manner you want which is asking a lot considering the price of the Xbox One and the games that run on it. The time period also appears to be short enough to encourage people to simply leave their Xbox One connected.

The new information already has some people rather upset and we can see this certainly hurting sales of the console especially if Sony is smart and removes any connectivity needs for games. The desire by Microsoft also has led some to wonder why (other than piracy) the console would need to be online all the time. One theory is that the Kinect camera and microphone could be remotely turned on and used to collect information. Microsoft claims that the microphone only listens for the command Xbox On, but some say that it would be pretty simple to setup a system that could remotely enable it to do more. In my talks with some security researchers they say that this could leave the system open to attack and to have the camera and mic capture pictures, video and audio without the user knowing it.

The last shot in the foot for the Xbox One is the news about reselling and trading games. Microsoft says they are allowing the game publishers to choose if they want to allow users to trade in or sell their old games and that they (Microsoft) are not taking any fess for this. The issue is that you will only be able to trade or resell your games to an authorized dealer. Technically you can transfer a game between Xbox Live users, but the person that you want to trade it with must have been on your friends list for 30 days before you trade it (and you could get money for it). You are only allowed to transfer a game once and after that it sticks with that owner.

The (almost) always on requirement, the creepy Kinect camera and mic added to the restrictions on trading and reselling games are all things that consumers have complained about in the months leading up to the launch. Microsoft heard what the market wanted and instead of listening to the people that buy their products they listened to the game developers and followed their own path on all of these items. Maybe they are living in another reality, because they are certainly not learning any lessons from past or even current events. It is a shame too, because with a little thought and by listening to what their customers want Microsoft could have made Windows 8/RT, Windows Phone and the Xbox One a success. Instead all of them might end up being a big failure simply because Microsoft will not listen and Steve Ballmer is too intent on creating a revenue stream from cloud services.

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Read 2520 times Last modified on Thursday, 06 June 2013 23:35

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