Microsoft has generated a lot of heat for restricting the sale and trading of used games on Xbox One, and requiring the consoles to phone home every 24 hours for verification. Basically, for having hefty DRM. Well, good news for whiners everywhere: Microsoft is giving up.
Microsoft has just announced that the Xbox One will treat games exactly like the Xbox 360 did. There will be no additional restrictions to selling or trading games, and games will not be region locked. Consoles will not have to check in with the mothership ever 24 hours; an internet connection will only be needed once to setup the console. After that, you're free to do as you please.
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.
Microsoft's initial stance on DRM had caused considerable backlash. Gamers pointed out that the requirements would not only eliminate the market for cheap used games (that neither Microsoft nor publishers make a profit off) but also make the Xbox One no good for gamers who don't have consistent, high-speed internet. It didn't help that Microsof was less than apologetic about the situation and did a particularly horrible job of explaining some of the benefits of the original DRM system.
But now that's all awash. Besides the bubble in Microsoft-hating, there's nothing left to show of the previous DRM platform. It's worth noting that these changes do not prohibit always-online or other sort of DRM; it just means Xbox One will not require it. Both the Xbox One and the PS4 are known to offer these kind of options to publishers who want to enable it. So it's possible this could all not matter anyway.
Still, this is a huge reversal for Microsoft, a real swing from one end of the spectrum to the other. Time to start chowing down; there's a lot of crow to eat here. But also maybe time to start giving your next-generation console choice some further consideration. [Xbox]