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Microsoft pulls big 180 with Xbox One DRM policy reversal
Microsoft pulls big 180 with Xbox One DRM policy reversal
June 19, 2013 | By Staff




After much pressure, Microsoft has revised its previously-announced DRM, preowned game usage and online check-in policies for Xbox One, confirming a prior report.

It's one of the biggest reversals in the history of game consoles, and changes the dynamic of the next-gen console race with Sony and Nintendo.

Microsoft had previously been touting the merits of an always-online game console, but after intense backlash from consumers who didn't appreciate the limitations of the strategy, the company has listened, and removed the most controversial restrictions.

Key Points:

- There will no internet connection required to play offline Xbox One games "after a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One"

- There will be no 24-hour connection requirement for the console

- Used game sales and borrowing of games will have no limitations

- No regional restrictions

Microsoft's official statement

Microsoft's Don Mattrick explained it all in a statement today:

Last week at E3, the excitement, creativity and future of our industry was on display for a global audience.

For us, the future comes in the form of Xbox One, a system designed to be the best place to play games this year and for many years to come. As is our heritage with Xbox, we designed a system that could take full advantage of advances in technology in order to deliver a breakthrough in game play and entertainment. We imagined a new set of benefits such as easier roaming, family sharing, and new ways to try and buy games. We believe in the benefits of a connected, digital future.

Since unveiling our plans for Xbox One, my team and I have heard directly from many of you, read your comments and listened to your feedback. I would like to take the opportunity today to thank you for your assistance in helping us to reshape the future of Xbox One.

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, today I am announcing the following changes to Xbox One and how you can play, share, lend, and resell your games exactly as you do today on Xbox 360. Here is what that means:

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.

These changes will impact some of the scenarios we previously announced for Xbox One. The sharing of games will work as it does today, you will simply share the disc. Downloaded titles cannot be shared or resold. Also, similar to today, playing disc based games will require that the disc be in the tray.

We appreciate your passion, support and willingness to challenge the assumptions of digital licensing and connectivity. While we believe that the majority of people will play games online and access the cloud for both games and entertainment, we will give consumers the choice of both physical and digital content. We have listened and we have heard loud and clear from your feedback that you want the best of both worlds.

Thank you again for your candid feedback. Our team remains committed to listening, taking feedback and delivering a great product for you later this year.

Vice President of Xbox Live Marc Whitten tells Kotaku that the changes will come at a price, including a day-one patch and some lost features:

There's a few things we won't be able to deliver as a result of this change. 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. [However] the games you bought digitally will.

...Similarly, the sharing library [is something] we won't be able to deliver at launch.

Because Microsoft did not anticipate making such drastic reversals to its policies, Kotaku reports that the revisions will involve a day-one download patch to enable the new offline mode.


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Comments


E Zachary Knight
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Wow. It may be too little too late, but hey, they gave it their best shot.

Douglas Wood
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"Too little too late" <- Sorry, I don't get that. It has literally been less than two weeks since the internet exploded about it, and they made a full reversal. What about it is too little? You want them to send you a cookie and say sorry for trying something new to consoles (yet old hat everywhere else)? What about it is too late? We're months from launch, no one has yet touched the system or been effected by its policies. Haters gonna hate.

John Maurer
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And fanboys are gonna be fanatic

William Barnes
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Yeah, too little... it's still a spy-box. Kinect must still be connected at all times for it to work. Most people could care less about voice commands to turn it on, as long as it works. Instead we have no guarantees that they aren't doing more of Husein's dirty work of spying on the world, if not for themselves.

Patrick Miller
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Jimmy Fallon for president!

E Zachary Knight
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I liked the jab, but the PS4 isnt the only system that still allows used games. The WiiU never stopped allowing them.

fred tam
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Well what sony allows and supports is always up in the air.

Remember ps3 backwards compatibility with ps2?

Remember Linux on ps3?

Its gone whenever they feel like it.

Ron Dippold
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Fallon wasn't long enough ago to have turned the behemoth around so fast on such a huge policy decision. It may have been the final straw that led them to pull the trigger though - that's their target audience.

Rodrigo B
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@fred: Heh, if you were truly informed on these issues you would know that none of these features were pulled off without a sounding reason. And no, screwing the consumer for profits doesn't account for that.

Kujel s
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@Rodrigo: sony removed backwards compatibility to cut production costs and so they could resell old games. They removed Linux support because a few people where using it to play with the hardware which they owned.

Acting like sony removed those features for a good reason is complete and utter bull!

Rodrigo B
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Bullshit? as far as I'm aware the backwards compatibility was a failed tentative. If you had a PS3 back then and truly tried the BC function you would see how terrible it was, the aliasing factor was increased in a like, ten fold. And it's expected to, no matter how much power the processor has in comparison to PS2 hardware, the cell architecture is completely different than PS2 micro interlocked pipe stages. There were too many PS2 games that were hardcoded specifically for PS2 hardware, these still work like crap on modern emulation (Valkyrie Profile 2 for instance), there is no way they could make that work smoothly on PS3 hardware without having to revise and change the code of each game. It sounds condescending saying this way but we should be glad that they even tried to make BC given PS2 e PS3 hardware difference. There is just no way that thing would work, and the same goes for PS3 and PS4 compatibility. I know it's common to imagine that all big corporations are evil beings salivating on our wallets but not every decision is made with solely profits in mind.

And the Linux support goes so much further than simply ToS gibberish. Geohot was just but an excuse, they were looking to crackdown on otherOS as soon as group of hackers started using PS3Grids to pull of cheap FLOPS per Dollar hacking machines, I can attest this was already going on 4chan forums and if you know anything about hacking you know how dangerous a machine with 30 times the power of a Blue Gene node, for 400 dollars, would be (Official data from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth). The little ram wouldn't make a difference for single precision tasks. Geohot jailbreak would just make that worse by giving full access to hardware features (which means further nodes and full tap of theoretical 200GLOPS), this is not just about piracy and circular ToS arguing.

They all sound like good reasons to me.

I know that pointing out to big corporation and laughing of their greed pig is fun, but not every decision is as simple as it looks.

Joey Galili
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@Rodrigo I'm sorry, but what are you talking about, with regard to PS3 backward compatibility?

I hope you do realize that early generation PS3s included Emotion Engine chips (i.e. PS2 CPUs), such that they could directly play PS2 games, at the /hardware/ level. There wasn't "emulation" -- your entire argument and gobbledygook about pipelining emulation, etc. is, quite frankly, meaningless and irrelevant. Now, as Sony attempted to phase out PS2 backward compatibility, they /did/ indeed remove the EE CPUs from newer models, replacing native hardware backward compatibility with inferior software emulation, to which you allude. This problem, however, did not exist in earlier generations of the PS3. Back to the point of this comment thread, Sony rather arbitrarily phased out PS2 backward compatibility, which was /working/ (as they had essentially included a PS2 inside of your PS3), just as they arbitrarily phased out Linux support with software controls.

Basically, you should probably do your research before posting on a board full of generally well-informed developers.

Rodrigo B
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@Joey: Shit, you got me. No sarcasm, I'm serious. The "emotion engine" is the interlocked pipe stage architecture I was talking about (MIPS architecture, if you wanna look further into that) and I didn't know Sony had actually implemented it on PS3 motherboard. When I looked further into BC back then they probably had already removed it. Thinking about it now, it's no surprise they removed it to lower costs, PS3 was already being sold on extreme deficits back then (about 300 dollars if I'm not mistaken) and the console had a very salty price, anything non-essential will obviously get cut out. I still think is far fetched to assume they should continue to support BC given these circumstances, but I was wrong, should have researched further, I'm stupid and I'm sorry for that.

About the OtherOS, now that wasn't arbitrary, I explained how the hacking community was going for hacking machine with extremely high flops using this features and you give me no reason to say otherwise. Geohot affair was simply the last straw from this arrangement. I'm also a "well-informed developer" despite my faulty info om PS3 BC history.

William Barnes
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Dunno about that. Those with old enough units (PS3) can still enjoy backwards compatibility. Mine is the last model where the 80GB drive was top of the line and it still had and has functional software emulation.

Roman Dufrene
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I'm glad that Microsoft is listening to feedback, but am not sure this is enough to remove the negative stigma surrounding their next console. I guess only time will tell.

David Gonzales
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i dont think it was them listening to the feedback cause even after our complaints they still tried to justify the limitations, until they saw that no one was pre ordering xboxone, so it was kind of a forced decision either get rid of those bad features or completely fail as a console and lose a ton of money

Jonathan Gilmore
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Most gamers could care less. This is about getting the core back on board, as the core will be the day one purchasers and recommenders for everyone else. You are right, time well tell, but that will still be true 2 years from now for all kinds of reasons.

Henry Shilling
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Still no self publishing indies? Still nothing like XBLIG?

Kyle Redd
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And still the Kinect requirement.

Rodolfo Rosini
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Xbox 180 (found via Kent Hudson)

Doug Poston
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Still a better nickname than "XBone". :)

I'm proud of Microsoft for listening to their consumers.
Now if they could just shave $50-$100 off their price.

Rodolfo Rosini
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"I'm proud of Microsoft for listening to their shareholders." fixed

Haseeb Anwer
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So, did they fire the guy that said "Stick with the 360"?

Christian Nutt
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No, considering he delivered this statement. Well, it was multiple people, but Mattrick was one of them.

Janette Goering
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This is probably the smartest move they could have made. If only they could have made it last week instead. A lot of damage has been done, but this is a good start to try and fix it. I understand some of the features they wanted to implement, but you can't do that all at once on a consumer base that has never had that experience before. They need to roll some of those things out in doses if they want to do them.

The console wars just got more interesting.

adam anthony
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eh, the console war is over. They soured to many peoples mouths with the DRM 24 hour connection, and the 360 statement. There is still a kinect requirement. And its still 100$ more. PS4 for 2014!

Matthew Mouras
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@adam: Kotaku is that-a-way --->

Considering the life cycle of this generation will be at least 5 years, there is plenty of time for both companies to work on their strategy. Both the 360 and the PS3 are very different consoles today than when they launched thanks to a number of changes to their core services.

Mario Kummer
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@Janette I can't agree, the console war got more boring. It would have been more interesting with the two different approaches :)

Janette Goering
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@Mario, I find think it'll be interesting because now it will come down to how MS and Sony can hawk their new products to a consumer base when they're getting creepily similar in function and architecture. Especially with the current generation still being viable, and the "console exclusive" becoming more and more rare among publishers.

I'm also interested to see what MS, and even Sony and Nintendo, will also enact in future firmware updates as a response to this. I honestly wouldn't be shocked to see a price increase in Xbox Live Gold subscriptions.

Daniel Backteman
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Ah indeed, the console war just got a looot more interesting for me.

Though, any comments given that the "war is already over", or that it was decided during the reveals: Keep in mind that it's a relatively low amount of people who check out these "background info". I'd say that the largest target audience doesn't even care about the politics around the consoles, they just buy it for whatever game they want to play or which one all of their friends are playing on.

Xbox One definitely lost the reveal, but saying anything else is premature. PR, marketing and short-term asskissing can go a long way.

John Paduch
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Still no self-publishing, the $500 price tag, and the fact that Gold is more expensive while offering less than PS+. No thanks.

Also, @Haseeb Anwer: No, the guy who wrote that statement is the jackass who said "we have 360 for offline".

Kyle Redd
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I'm not sure about Gold offering less than PS Plus. It is more expensive, but I very seriously doubt Sony is going to start issuing free PS4 games every month right off the bat. My guess is both services will offer similar features, at least for a while.

Adam Bishop
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"I very seriously doubt Sony is going to start issuing free PS4 games every month right off the bat."

They've said they will, starting with Drive Club on launch day.

Sam Knudson
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Self-Publishing is a terrible idea so many great games will be downed in the 99% of garbage that comes out. As for the price you are getting what you pay for to me that $100 at the very beginning of buying the console is paying for a console that you will have for a good 6-10 years that $100 is paying for better exclusives for the next 10 years and a really neat piece of hardware. Im not a fan of the kinnect but it sure is innovative . The live is the same price 60 for a year $5 a month not to mention XBL has an exponentially better online system and support while Sonys is fraught with problems.

Merc Hoffner
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It's sad that we're expected to applaud a return of our rights.

Kyle Redd
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No kidding. It's not so much a win for consumers as a win for meeting the absolute bare minimum of expectations.

Jakub Majewski
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Which rights would those be? Call me crazy, but given that as yet, no one owns this new console, I can't imagine anyone having any rights whatsoever in regards to any of these things. The right to re-sell your game? Next time you eat a burger, try re-selling it. The right to access your game without connectivity? Try watching cable TV without a cable.

I realise how irritating the as-originally-announced Xbox One policy was. But I wish gamers wouldn't be so annoyingly arrogant about what they're entitled to. There is only one thing a consumer is actually entitled to - the product working as advertised.

Kyle Redd
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The right of First-Sale. Yes, it's an actual, Supreme Court-verified right and not an "entitlement" as you call it.

The next time you sell your house, try demanding payment not just from the person you actually sell it to, but also to the person they sell it to, and the next person, and the next after that. See how that goes.

Jakub Majewski
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I'm afraid you're about twenty years late with that argument. When was the last time any of us actually got to buy a game? 1990? Since then, all we've ever purchased is the license to use a game for an unrestricted period of time. Since you don't buy the game, but merely the license, they can put whatever conditions they want in the license agreement.

And yes, if instead of selling my house, I actually just sold a license agreement allowing someone to use that house or to sell this right to the next person, I certainly could insert a clause in the license agreement that I get money every time they sell their rights to someone else.

In point of fact, this is precisely how land ownership works in most countries, including the United States. It's called the "fee simple" ownership model (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fee_simple). People don't own land, they hold it - with an unrestricted right to use land and to sell it on to someone else or pass it on to their descendants. This is what gives your government the right to charge a property tax or to expropriate the land away from you - and indeed, to charge a special tax whenever you sell your holding to someone else.

Ardney Carter
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@ Jaukub Majewski: Don't be obtuse. Food is consumed once (unless you're a cow or other ruminating animal) whereas games(and books, films, etc.) have the potential to be 'consumed' multiple times.

And far from being "arrogant", the assumption of the right of sharing and/or resale is intuitive to consumers since this is behavior that has been occuring since the invention of property rights.

Wylie Garvin
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Aww cmon, give them credit for eating some humble pie and giving gamers what they loudly demanded. Based on some of Microsoft's past actions I expected them to just stick to their guns and possibly ride it down in flames.

Actually listening to negative feedback and being willing to make a major change in their direction because of it, is something we should applaud them for.

The $100 price difference and the mandatory Kinect may still affect the outcome, but Microsoft has just shifted the policies that were confusing/worrying a lot of hardcore gamers back into line with the current-gen policies and the policies Sony announced for the PS4. Sony might still ultimately win, but at least Microsoft has shown that they still care about their loyal core market. I think they're probably back in the race.

Jakub Majewski
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Ardney, see my reply to Kyle above. Just like in the case of land, your rights can - and are - limited by the fact that you never actually own the game, only a license to use it.

Ardney Carter
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And if you read my reply again you will see that I addressed 2 points and 2 points alone. 1) The rather poor analogy made in your initial comment and 2) the accusation that consumers were "arrogant" for having the audacity to assume they had rights pertaining to goods they'd paid money for.

Nowhere did I talk about legalities. For the record, all manner of despicable things are legal. That fact neither makes them right nor intuitive. I made it clear in my comment I was speaking to the fact that consumers INTUITIVELY assume certain rights when they pay for something and bring that physical object home. And that does NOT make them 'arrogant' or 'entitled'. It simply means they aren't lawyers. And THAT is something to be proud of.

Kyle Redd
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@Ardney

Hear, hear! No lawyer could've put that better.

Kevin Alexander
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You're a hero for seeing things this way... And you undoubtedly earn yourself a T.V. slow clap....

Daneel Filimonov
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Too bad life doesn't work that way Jakub. Your analogy of "eating a burger and expecting to be able to refund it" is skewed because as opposed to food, games (and other -entertainment related- things) are reusable. They don't necessarily have to be physical (discs), such as DRM-free digital games. Yes, Steam itself is essentially a service that provides "licenses" to games, but the user still owns that license as a means to access the game.

The problem I see is that everyone against digital sales and the like seem to have the mindset that there is some sort of scheme behind digital sales and the possibility that everything could simply just shut down and no one gets to play anything without a physical copy. In that case, we just have to depend on the moral stature of whoever runs the service (in this example, Valve).

Alex Boccia
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I was actually opposed to Steam for a long time because I still don't belive in digital services because of their relative lack of permanence compared to physical media that I can lock up and protect in my home. The reason I use Steam now is because I figured if I were to trust any company, it would be Valve, and the platform does get me to purchase games, unlike in the past. I do buy GoG/direct from publisher over Steam, however, and sometimes I am rewarded with a steam key in addition to the installer for the game, which is always a plus.

Michael Ball
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Hey Jakub, big fan of your "Theorizing Video Game Narrative". That said, I don't necessarily agree with your views here. Why shouldn't I be able to transfer ownership of a piece of physical media, regardless of whether it's a book, a game disc, or anything else?

Sean Francis-Lyon
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@Ardney Carter: A better example would be a movie ticket, an MMO subscription, or a Season pass to Disneyland. I think it is legal to sell a non-transferable license.

Addison Martinez
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I will give them credit for eating humble pie when they offer to reimburse those without internet who had to rely on a third party to flash it.

Jakub Majewski
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Michael, thanks for the kind words! Glad to hear someone read that ;).

As for my views (Ardney, this is a response to you as well) - what I object to, above all, is the strange way in which people fuse together the concepts of rights and desires. It's perfectly natural for customers to desire certain things and to complain about companies not fulfilling these desires. But it's bizarre that customers present their desires as rights.

In this case, the simple fact is that we do not own our games, just like we do not own the land our houses are built on. We own a license, and when we buy that license, we agree to those terms. We can complain about the license terms before buying the license, that's fine. What is wrong, however, is when people buy a license and then demand the right to break the license agreement because they don't think it's a good agreement. No one has the right to do that. Once you agree to something, you stick to your word.

This is why I say that none of us had the intrinsic right to re-sell games. Yes, it's great that Microsoft decided to reverse their policy - but in doing so, they are not restoring a right that we should have had in the first place, they are merely giving us a bonus. Granted, we are used to receiving this bonus, because everyone else has been giving it out - but it is still a bonus.

And by the way, as disingenous as this may sound, you will always be free to transfer ownership of the physical media - it's just that Microsoft may choose not to grant the new owner a usage license for the non-physical content of the media. This is not nice, but it's the way it is - we accept this when we buy the game in spite of knowing full well that we're only buying a license instead of the game itself.

Yes, the license system is designed to screw over the customer. But for goodness' sake, we, the customers, accepted this system twenty years ago. Once we accepted the very notion that they can impose conditions on our usage of the games, we lost any right to complain about them imposing further conditions.

Merc Hoffner
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The idea that we're only able to buy licenses is a problem right there. I have no idea if it's been tested in the courts yet but it's flat out ridiculous that when a buyer attempts to 'buy a license' to play a game they aren't allowed to read the EULA contract they're forced to agree to until well after point of purchase, opening of the packaging and manipulation of the product. It's almost like 'selling' you a house you aren't allowed to check out and saying the mortgage contracts are in the panic room you don't get access to until after you've paid the deposit. How can it be legal to give payment for a product before you're allowed to read the associated contract? Unless they read you a EULA at gamestop and clearly advertise that they don't sell games but discs that give you license to play there's a problem. This is my personal beef with Steam. And just because it's been going on for god knows how many years doesn't make that facet of it legal.

Adam Bishop
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@Jakub

I can't speak for other countries, but in Canada the government does not have the right to tax land ownership, land transfers, etc. because of some special form of license that applies specifically to landholding but because constitutionally it has the power to tax more or less whatever it wants. I would be willing to guess that the same principle applies in many other countries.

EDIT: While I can't claim to be well-versed in the specifics, a quick web search suggests that this is generally the case in the U.S. as well. Congress seems to have the power to tax property of virtually any sort, not just land because of some special status it holds.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Eric Pobirs
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It has been thoroughly tested in the courts by every variety of IP publishing to ever exist. It is extremely well established law going back to when the primary item of concern was books. It was made clear for anyone who needed it stated that buying a copy of a book did not entitle you to produce copies of that book and sell them or even give them away. The only thing you had a right to keep, transfer, or destroy was the specific copy of the book you purchased.

Buying a copy of a novel does not give ownership of the novel as a copyrighted work. Nor does buying a disc containing a game based on that novel give you ownership of the copyrighted code and data comprising that game. You own the disc and nothing more. How you may apply and use the software is an entirely separate issue to be determined by the licensing agreement you invoke when you open the package. And yes, every company applying such a license is required by law to make it available for scrutiny before any money changes hands. Some companies make the text readily available on their sites and other make you work for it a bit but no company can withhold the information if it is legitimately requested.

Merc Hoffner
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Right. So you can't make or distribute copies. That's the preserve right of the copyright holder. But if you own a single originally purchased copy then you have the right to trade, lend or sell it as you wish, like it was a bicycle or a chair, without limits from the original copyright holder. That's the first sale right of the purchaser.

Now, if you're not buying a copy of a copyrighted work but a licence to access a copyrighted work (which I'm sure is already legally hazy) then they better damn well inform you of such. At point of purchase! - i.e. the contract of sale! Having the 'contract' hidden inside the box or accessible only in the software is legally confused at best with apparently many cases siding that such a contract license is unenforceable. And that appears to be just in the US. What of the EU where consumer laws tend to be a darn sight stricter? And I'd love to have a lawyer chime in on this: Can a contract possibly be legally binding if it's hidden on a website not readily accessible at point of purchase? It's not simply a matter of making a component of a contract available at request - if it's not presented at exchange then surely it can't be a legal part of the contract? An absent clause is surely no clause at all.

Kristian Roberts
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Ok, so terrible as it is, it appears that the US Court of Appeals has indeed ruled that EULAs are valid (even though you generally cannot access them until after the Point of Purchase).

Here's the ruling: http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2010/09/10/09-3596
9.pdf

I'm sure there is some countervailing jurisprudence (though I cannot readily find it), but that appears to be the prevailing ruling. As such, while it may be unpleasant, even unethical, it's the law. We cannot change it by complaining that game publishers are using the law, but by changing the governing legislation -- OR I suppose one could mount a class-action lawsuit (with purchasers of a given game...*ahem* Diablo 3 *ahem*) as the plainiffs.

Unless the law changes, or is clarified, EULAs are legal and enforceable. In this case, there is (technically) no necessary "right" of first sale if it is removed in the EULA.

Sad, yes. True, also yes.

Kyle Redd
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From the ruling:

"Since at least 1986, Autodesk has offered AutoCAD to customers pursuant to an accompanying software license agree-ment (“SLA”), which customers must accept before installing the software. A customer who does not accept the SLA can return the software for a full refund."

To the best of my knowledge, no game publisher has a policy of issuing full refunds to customers who open the seal on a game and then decline the EULA. So this decision would not apply.

William Barnes
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Another analogy...
Nancy Pelosi's statement regarding Obamacare: "We Have to Pass the Bill So That You Can Find Out What Is In It."

A publisher's version is... a standard where you have to purchase it, to get to the EULA. To get to the Eula means opening the package, at the least. To open the package guarantees you are stuck with it, even if you decide that the conditions of use are unacceptable. You cannot return it to the store for a full refund. If MS hadn't backed down, that means you wouldn't even be able to get a fraction of the purchase price back.

Addison Martinez
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It seems like Microsoft is trying to bend the law to their will.

The first sale doctrine grants the right of the purchaser of a tangible good to re-sell it. However, this does not extend to digital media (see ReDigi). The licensing on the other hand is another tricky issue. If our games are tangible copies we are bound by the shrink wrap license that comes inside the packaging in a take it or leave it kind of deal. Courts general uphold these as valid. However, can Microsoft simply deny us our statutory rights under © law by calling it a license instead of ownership?

If we are looking at digital media our licenses may be analogous to a browse wrap agreement (an agreement on the bottom of websites similar to shrink wrap licenses, Gamasutra has one at the bottom of this site). Courts general have not automatically upheld browsewrap agreements and have analyzed a variety of factors.

It is likely that Microsoft can try to do all that they want with their license system but whether or not it is actually legal is another story. And it may be held legal in some jurisdictions and not in others. Hopefully some one with enough cash to burn is willing to fight for our rights as gamers and take on the giant that is Microsoft.

Michael Thornberg
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I would not be surprised if EU law scared Microsoft in this case. In EU, the customer always have the right to sell a purchased product. Even digital ones. Furthermore it is illegal for a company to try and prevent it. Microsoft was even asked that question at E3 by Angry Joe (if they were aware of that EU law) It turned out they were not. And now, not only a week later, we see a 180. I don't know if that played into it, but who knows. But I get the general feeling Microsofts legal team didn't do their homework. Then there is the issue of privacy with Kinect.

Larry McCartney
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It's unfortunate that you're right as far as laws stand. I don't actually have an explicit right to do anything with the media I purchase.

However, in the case of PC games you purchase them without knowing the EULA. You read the EULA after opening the package and trying to install the media. EBGames will not allow you to return an opened PC game, and most people will not buy a PC game used for the same reason. The CD-Key.

If you disagree with an EULA of a PC game, put everything back in it's case and return it to EBGames, will they give you a refund of it after being opened simply because you didn't like the EULA? It becomes stressful and beyond most consumers knowledge on the subject.

Myself personally know, if they don't allow me to get a full refund back I leave the media with them and demand a receipt that I have returned it without refund. Then I send an email or letter to the CEO stating I'll be taking the matter to court and there is like a $60 or $80 fee associated with making a legal claim against a company. Now at this point for principle you're paying double or even triple in some cases(older games) to get a refund out of a company.

Now tell me, in truth, where are my rights as a consumer here? In the case of properties, like say buying a home, or otherwise. Isn't there a reasonable enjoyment clause of some kind?

Shea Rutsatz
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What fun!

It's a good move, but still doesn't bring them on par with PS4... and it makes them look pretty weak.

Doug Poston
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But "Staying the Course" would have made them look like they don't listen to their customers.

I like a company who is weak when it comes to restricting how I use their products.

Shea Rutsatz
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I agree, it's better than sticking to their guns - which would have done nothing - and being seen as stubborn. Still, can't help but laugh! So much damage has been done already.

Jakub Majewski
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I actually wonder if they didn't shoot themselves in the foot over this. They had designed this policy to help out publishers, with the assumption that the consumers would be upset, but eventually would get over it thanks to all the exclusives.

Well, now that they reversed their policy, the customers are still upset, but the publishers are upset as well. Did they really gain anything from this? I'm betting that had they stuck to their guns, they would have been better off. People once complained about Steam integration in games, but they got over it and accepted Steam and the always-online requirement. They would indeed have gotten over it here as well, while the publishers would have felt that the Xbox gives them a substantial advantage over the PS4. They gave up that advantage now, without necessarily getting anything in return (their system is still substantially more expensive than the PS4).

Adam Bishop
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Steam does not have an always online requirement, I don't understand why people keep asserting that it does in every Gamasutra article about DRM. I travel by train a lot and play games in offline mode all the time. I've also never paid $60 for a game on Steam; I typically buy them during sales when they fall to $10 or so. If it weren't for the massive discounts available on Steam I'd probably never play games on my PC, I'd stick with disc-based games on my consoles.

John Paduch
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@Jakub - I know Adam already addressed it, but it needs to be reiterated: you need to stop perpetuating the outright lie that Steam has "always on" DRM. It doesn't. If your PC/laptop loses connectivity, Steam still runs and all of your single-player games still run. You don't have to do anything special, you don't have to "be online" in order to activate "offline" mode, or anything absurd like that, it just works automatically.

Dean Boytor
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Incredible, I had a feeling they were going to do something about it.
They had a barrage of 'rude' ASCII art on their Facebook cover comments.
I'm impressed with the power of consumer feedback on this one. Some companies forget that we are the reason they are in business and that we can easily take it away.

Yet, I feel the same as I did during the Anti-SOPA campaign when Go Daddy retracted their support for SOPA when clients were pulling domains off from the service in protest[1].

I know now that Microsoft has remedied this issue but I'm am still bothered that they tired to make this an obligation.

Console wars aside, It will take quite some time for me to trust in an XBOX brand.

~DB

1.http://godaddyboycott.org/

Pablo Simbana
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I know, I was surprised whan I saw them pushing it so hard and even saying people who don't have internet have the 360, that was incredibly stupid. I'm glad Sony pushed them enough to change their plans completely, in the end the consumer wins. I'm still getting a ps4 but this is great news for people who wanted an xbox.

Kevin Alexander
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Good games will make that easier.

Leon T
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Punks. I wanted to see them launch with it in place to test how the public would react to it.

Nathaniel Smith
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Knight I don't think its too late for MS to turn this around.Truth be told if they did reverse all these ridiculous restrictions and policies I would pre-order an xbox one today on amazon.

What I cant believe is how the execs in charge of the xbox division are so far from reality that they can't how this would affect the sales and brand name of the xbox. This is almost an exact mirror of the months leading up to the PS3 launch. When Sony's PR guys were constantly on the defensive, delivering stupid lines similar to those of Mattrick's recent comments like: "We have the xbox 360 for those who want to play xbox without internet" or "We're over delivering value with the xbox one".This doesn't matter. If the consumer doesn't see the value in it, the system won't sell.

E Zachary Knight
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They have already killed a lot of good will with their rhetoric. I think a lot of people have moved on for good. Sure they will win some people back, but not enough to make the difference in the long run.

Luis Guimaraes
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So, does that mean online passes will be back in EA titles?

Kyle Redd
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Good question. My guess is the EA execs are incredibly pissed right now. When they originally made that announcement they probably had reliable info that both console makers would restrict used game sales in some way. Now neither of them are. But it would the mother of all stupid PR moves to go back on their pledge at this point.

Shea Rutsatz
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I wouldn't put it against them.

Leon T
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Nope, like Sony you will likely need to subscribe to play used games.

Chris Oates
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Lost in this is that this also means the end of the ability to no longer need the game disc post install and the family sharing plan, both of which were interesting advantages that might have outweighed the limitations if give the chance.

Kyle Redd
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That's still there, actually. All physical XBOX One games that are sold on disc will also be available digitally from day one. So you can have your entire library disc-free, if you want.

And there's really nothing stopping Microsoft from implementing their family share plan for games that are purchased digitally, if they choose to keep it available, which they definitely should (but likely won't).

Chris Oates
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I meant buying a game as a disc, using it to install (so as to not download 25 gigs) and then essentially tossing the disc after that until I need to install again. They have kept that somewhat, in that I can use a physical disc to install, but I have to buy a digital license then get my hands on a physical disc separate from that.
And family share, selling of digital games are definitely gone for now. I hope they will come back in some form (with an opt in daily check) but without a daily check you can't realistically have them.

Kyle Redd
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True. I suppose it would have been valuable to many people with bandwidth caps or slower connections to be able install the game and then put the disc away. That is one feature that has been lost and could not be possible without the DRM.

But the family share for digital games is absolutely still possible. Microsoft won't allow it any more, but there's no reason why they couldn't. They could simply mandate that digitally purchased games must be played while logged into live, just as they do with XBL Indie Games on the 360 today (even though the 360 has no 24-hour check-in requirement).

Seriously though, that plan as Microsoft described it was never going to happen. There's absolutely no way they or any of the publishers would have allowed users to distribute free copies of all their games to any 10 people they wanted anywhere in the world, without any fee, and with the only restriction being that the copies could not be played simultaneously.

Why would publishers, who have wailed incessantly about the damage used games do to their profits, agree to a system which is even worse?

Curtis Turner - IceIYIaN
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"Xbox One games will be playable on any Xbox One console -- there will be no regional restrictions."
Thanks for treating me like a Human instead of some language/country.

"Also, similar to today, playing disc based games will require that the disc be in the tray."
I use Steam, so, their digital option is far better for me.

Ron Dippold
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Wait, did complaining on the Internet just actually accomplish something positive?

I'm sure the Military weighed heavily as well. Fallon's too soon to have turned this barge around that fast.

Biz W
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and the digital future with less publishers / marketers blocking gamers from quality entertainment slips further and further away

but there's one winner in all of this
http://www.google.com/finance?q=gamestop

Mike Lentini
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There's room for both digital and physical copies of games. Just because there are physical copies of games being sold doesn't mean that you need publishers for digital games as well (even though Microsoft is trying to enforce that). If you're upset by publishers still having a huge hand in digital games, buy a PS4 or a PC.

Amalia Contiero Syropoulou
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Wonder what happened to the rumored 720 name.

Rodrigo B
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Personally, I think they scrapped it because it would get out of hand in the long run. Can you imagine how "un-ergonomic" the name would get in the future generations if they followed Xbox 720 logic?

Xbox 1440, Xbox 2880, Xbox 5760, it would sound just weird on a marketing perspective. One still a stupid name though...

Addison Martinez
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I would like more information on this "one-time system set-up." It sounds like an internet connection is required, at least one time. Which still doesn't solve the riddle of what those without even a "one-time" internet connection are supposed to do...oh wait I know, buy a PS4.

Duong Nguyen
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Yes most likely 3rd parties will flash ur Xbox One for you for a fee if you don't have internet, then u can play Xbox One offline all day long, people in the military should be happy. Still the 100$ Kinect tax might be a disincentive.

Addison Martinez
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I can definitely see GameStop offering this. I would be nice if Microsoft would reimburse what ever fee third parties will charge for such a service.

max bowman
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This was a tremendous failure on the part of Microsoft executives. They want to stop used game sales so they lock a game copy to an xbone while still selling physical copies. The consumer has certain expectations regarding the value of what they have been buying for most of their lives, Not an easy transition to make, in fact it will just create hostility and loss of value for the brand not to mention loss of sales of the console. And the funny thing is that this used game market will probably disappear in a generation or less due to downloaded games becomes even more prevalent due to ease of purchase and attainment. But in order to grow this market you have to go the steam route and offer sales and below game store price for games. After a while this will make game online purchase a mainstream activity and kill the used game market. Not this crossing the rubicon in plain view of everybody.
But it will also be interesting to see what first sale doctrine says about downloaded games

Jay Johnson
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Now I'll buy an Xbox One.

Rodrigo B
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I hope you can pass the first and only online check when setting up the system, and cheers :)

And for the record, I'm serious, no sarcasm. Probably won't be a huge problem but you'll need to have it authenticated somewhere else first before bringing it to the base, I guess.

Jay Johnson
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Even if I am deployed or away I'll just have my friends/family unbox it and get the check!

Dane MacMahon
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Wow, shocked.

Victory for the media more than consumers. You could really tell they drove the story and the outrage more than they ever did on Steam/SecuROM/etc. Not saying this is bad, it has a good outcome, but I wish the outrage was there as strongly before.

It's still $100 more expensive, but that could easily be countered by people wanting to keep their same friend list and achievements. We shall see... interesting.

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Dane MacMahon
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The media definitely joined in strongly, much stronger than they ever have about similar DRM concerns on other platforms, which they pretty much ignore.

John Maurer
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Console gaming is understood by a larger number of consumers, steam still brings up question marks from casual non-pc (there are alot of'em) gamers

Arnaud Clermonté
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If they have any brains at all, they didn't base that decision on the internet shitstorm of the last few days, but on actual rational calculations about staying competitive.

Addison Martinez
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I think the rational calculation to stay competitive is based on the "internet shitstorm." They are not independent of each other.

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Arnaud Clermonté
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FSM help you if that's what you base your decisions on...

Marvin Papin
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Ok, 10 years for that new generation, they have the time to come back. Like EA online pass or some other things.

They tried things, to pass in force, to tighten the rope again and again to see if it's going to pass and they come back if not. They still don't know entertainment industry. If people don't think that worth it, they do not spend money. (cf. nintendo)

That's the crisis and they are coming with their 500$ tv box which react to movement. Does somebody ther understand that we just want, after a hard day of work (that's probably it), that we just wanna sit down and take the controller and have a game.

Bob Johnson
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Sweet back to the stone ages.

Marvin Papin
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When you see what humans have done of the world, stone age could be a way better. :S

Nuttachai Tipprasert
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What's wrong about keep using something that "not broken", anyway? I'm just curious.

Doug Poston
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Buying music CDs from stores is "not broken" but, with digital downloads, few people do it anymore.

Almost all software is going digital download. Console games will follow eventually.

Done right, consumers will welcome it.

Amir Barak
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I dunno, I think the age of Steam seems more appropriate...

Kevin Alexander
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It is going to happen much more organically than the naysayers can even imagine. We'll be looking back at this line in the sand we've drawn and laugh toward the middle of these consoles life cycle in my opinion.

The only ones who will still find physical media attractive are video game "collectors". And that's totally cool in my book.

I buy vinyl.

Kujel s
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Well looks like I wont have to hack my system at some point after all.

Kujel s
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I should probably add this is going to hurt our borthers and sisters in AAA development. Yes many entitled kids were upset they couldn't resell their game licences but now it will be even harder to break even on AAA games. A collapse is coming either way but now it will happen a lot sooner then it would have otherwise and many more of our brethern will be out of work sooner :(

Joe Zachery
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So does this mean EA is going to restart their Online Pass system. That they stopped due to Microsoft helping them out. LOL really funny when you think about it.

John Flush
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They might have saved the brand right here as they probably have enough time to damage control it before release. Still, when the Navy (http://www.navytimes.com/article/20130614/OFFDUTY02/306140030) blasts your console that is probably a good time to about face...

Still, if there is anything this gen taught me is that the release window isn't when all the features will be finalized. Both MS and Sony changed their policies over the generation. I expect the next to be similar.

Will Currier
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I must say, I'm a bit surprised by the reaction. The internet thing I can understand (particularly after Jay's military post), but I would think the industry would actually be more in favor of the trade-in restrictions.

Admittedly, I don't see how they could really differentiate between exchanging a game with a buddy with reselling it to Gamestop, but even so, one would think that trying to give developers more of the pie would be a good thing. I've only ever resold one game; bought it for $60, resold it 3 days later for $20. Complete ripoff, since GS can just turn around and resell it for $55.

I think Tim at CAD put it well in this Silly: http://v.cdn.cad-comic.com/comics/sillies-20130521-08b3c.gif

Jorge Ramos
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You forget that many in the industry now also "play what they make", and support others that make something worth their off-duty time.

So these kinds of restrictions not only hurt gamers outside of, but also in the industry too.

Jason Withrow
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+1 Jorge. I've seen a lot of posts out there since this change was announced blaming customers for hurting game developers as though the One were a selfless beast with no other objectives and everyone not on Team Xbox 100% this whole time should be ASHAMED. Those posters clearly haven't been on the site where game developers spend their time.

It should also be added that none of us want to make a game for a system no one was going to buy, because consumers hated it.

adam anthony
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Xbone will still need to duke it out with Ouya for last place.

Roberto Dillon
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And the Ouya is currently in the lead :)

Tony Dormanesh
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'wherever we go my games are always with me.' If they think that is some cool, new feature.. bla.

I go to my friends house, "Ohh yea, I have GTA 5. And because I have my Xbone, my "games are always with me". Let me input my password, download my profile, then download the 10 gig game, plus my DLC, bla bla bla.. We can play tomorrow maybe. Bogus

Bob Johnson
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Yeah that was a croc of a feature unless they let you start playing before the download is finished.

You can do that today with Blizzard games on the pc. You can get started playing fairly quickly while the game downloads and installs in the background.

Rodrigo B
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Correction: You can play a half-assed game while it downloads. I played World of Warcraft while downloading it, 10 minutes to download and access Kalimidor from boat, extremely low FPS and half the features missing or taking huge time to load-in. All in all, it's neat but not awesome, should not be a major point.

Eric Pobirs
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Wrong. This only applies if the game download is done the old fashioned way, as a big monolithic file that cannot be used until the download is complete. There is no reason for this and Microsoft has already demonstrated a better way to do this sort of thing with Office 2013. If you haven't tried it, it's quite a change from the usual task of installing a big app or suite of apps in this case.

With Office 2013, you access your account and say you need to create or edit a spreadsheet. So it starts transferring the core components of Excel and can be used in just a few minutes. The rest of Excel and then the other parts of Office keep downloading in the background, so if you discover you now need Word, it might already be there. Or enough of it to get you started.

How much of those ten gigs do you actually need to get going?

Even a sandbox game like a GTA has a fair amount of linearity. Major portions of the games cannot be accessed without hours of play. So you'd never know the difference if the data for those portions of the game haven't been downloaded yet. Even if you're accessing a game you've already gone deep into at home, depending on the broadband at your location of the moment, at worst you should experience the equivalent of slow load times.

This also means almost immediate access when buying a large game online. The capability has been there for many years. What was lacking was a market driven by portability via broadband. Ten years from now it will be trivial. Microsoft wanted to be first.

Rodrigo B
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You're comparing a text editing software to a game? Are you serious? World of Warcraft was a far fetched example given the huge size of their terrain files but in no way your game streaming experience would be even comparable to a complete HD file. This kind of content delivery might be ok for some games, mainly simple ones, but for so many other it just too complicated to implement, huge chunks of map files will seriously chunk down on data rate.

And I'm not saying you shouldn't have this kind of thing, I'm saying that making a big deal of it now it just uncalled for, the technology is not there yet. PS4 also has cloud computing but never made a huge point of it because they know the technology is not robust enough to call it "revolutionary" and fly flag "to the future!", that just ridiculous.

The problem with any kind of cloud computing is that, no matter how much "power" you have on the cloud, your bandwidth will bottleneck it all. And even if it's not enough to be strangled, the lag will not provide optimum experience. The fail for the outrageous claims of OnLive supporters don't ring any bells in the gaming community? Lag and hardcore gaming doesn't mix, and if a game requires on cloud computing to manage real-time processing (like Microsoft was showing on their demos) and not just background processing and data saving, your game will just comeout laggy and it will be a terrible experience if your internet slow down, which quite frankly, can happen to anyone at internet rush hours or any other high traffic situation. Downloading a file on your PC might hamper your gameplay experience if they share the same network. Cloud computing on gaming still too far away to be a comfortable solution, it works fine for small things like demos and such, not full fledged gaming and I believe the same goes true for streaming game downloads.

It could work wonders on games like FFXIII, it's a bunch of hallways to begin with, but it would be terrible in unlinear open world games, games that use and abuse progressive data management or simply games like God of War III (43GB for gods sake, can you imagine the work on those map files?). Let alone the fact that installing a game while playing puts further stress on the processor, which by the end of the generation is pretty much stressed with little FLOPS to spare in such things. Maybe that's why One OS was eating 3GB Ram of its system if I remember well. It is not at all-in-one solution.

Bottom line, to depend only on your bandwidth to handle all of this things is just downright restricted. I'm sorry, but this obsession with "The future!" while not looking at the actual viability of the concept is just "ought be" logic rather than what it really is. If you want to reduce time while downloading a game, slice the downloads in different parts, download the single-player without online data or vice-versa whatever (not just the first level or the first room with half of objects/texture missing for the next scene). Streaming, while can be done, will not provide a smooth gameplay experience, in no fucking way. You wanna have it? go for it, but don't restrict physical sharing while in it.

Alex Foo
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Well now Microsoft can make a conter Ad to Sony's "Official PlayStation Used Game Instructional Video".

Camilo R
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Wow, I am very surprised. I'm surprised because they listened and I am more surprised they actually took action based on customer feedback without sales figures yet.

Nathaniel Smith
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I'm guessing they got so form of pre-order estimations from Amazon, Gamestop, etc, and they weren't what they were expecting.Probably far from it.

wes bogdan
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Well from what I read if YOU buy disc games they must be in the tray NO one time installs AND I expect CLOUD sharing is gone as well so NO 10 family/friends play games anywhere...of course we still need kinect and perhaps the play your game anywhere because it's got a cloud copy OF your games so any Xbox one Will work might return but without brain dead policys no one wanted.

Everyone already accepts dash updates so they could simply upload the data during the do and install should be dl n install but that would allow ms to give off line play outside of dash updates when we're online anyways and still data mine but invisibly rather than aggressively.

How much of the bd do YOU expect to install or being faster than a saturn do you expect to need to at all?!!

Eric Pobirs
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Yep, pretty much all of the cool new features are killed by this decision. No publisher is going to allow their products to be part of such a sharing scheme without the levels of protection originally promised.

I'd like it if they'd offer an opt-in choice to get those features. I have no problem with my Xbox calling home once a day, much as my TiVo already does. I was looking forward to being able to share games with my nieces and nephews like I did when they were kids and lived close by. I was also looking forward to having access to my library from any Xbox One rather than lug one around if I'm stuck in a hotel for a week on a business trip. This happened recently and if you aren't into the Las Vegas sort of activities it's a really boring place to be stuck. If I were in the same situation a year from now and the hotel offered the use of an Xbox One in the room for $10 a day I'd gladly take up on the offer. I expect a lot of place would just make a regular feature of the accommodations.

But all of that is history (or alternate history since it never came to be) if there is no option to accept the DRM check-in. I'll just continue to get by with the gaming hardware that is reasonable to bring with me: laptop, smartphone, 3DS, tablet, etc.

Kujel s
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I'd suggest Ouya for console gaming while on a business trip, it's small, lite, and can connect via wifi easily.

Duong Nguyen
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I never understood the "sharing benifits" and the expected benefits from increases sales from strong DRM.. if u can share with anyone in your "family" which include friends, then that would be a massive incentive for your friends not to buy the game. Since the "sharing" never expires, so instead of making 1 sale per individual the publishers would be making 1 sale per group. A massive order of magnitude decrease in sales.. That's why Sony abandoned the "share" concept as well.

Marck Ernest Thornton
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Wow, there's a massive amount of comments here. I'd like to enter the conversation and ask everyone, doesn't this seem intentional? It's all a big PR stunt. Perhaps, they never really intended those features to be released at all for any number of reasons and now they're pretending they listened to consumer feedback and they're an customer oriented brand.

Working in the video game industry you see these PR stunts all the time. We have all see "leaked" info, developers "double-crossing" publishers, etc. All in the name of PR and brand image. I'm skeptical about Microsoft's original intentions.

Nathaniel Smith
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Unlikely. They did some irreversible damage to their xbox brand. Many consumers that were loyal to 360 are now exclusively onboard for PS4. They are going to have to work even harder now for marketshare than they did with the 360, which they shouldn't have to do, but is now the scenario they have put themselves in for next gen.

Matthew Mouras
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@Nathaniel: Consumers are fickle. Remember how the Red Ring of Death was going to end Microsoft's console business? Yeah... how'd that pan out for all the naysayers? As soon as there is a killer exclusive or two a year from now, no one will care what Microsoft's stance was on DRM before the console was released. Staying away from the console because of a DRM scheme that never came to be isn't even a principled stance... it's just silly. They listened to complaints and changed their policies. Isn't that about the best customer service you can receive?

Rodrigo B
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I believe that given the way they were scrambling and dodging nervously the last week (did you saw major nelson "interview" with Angry Joe?) I think they were serious on their points, no stunt.

It's not atypical for Microsoft to make these mistakes either. They always talk about "the future" and how "innovative" they are, but since their R&D department is almost non-existent, they just buy new technology, they always are one step behind (Windows Vista, Windows 8). Making no research on target demographic, marketing for an unspoken, ideal, almost utopic consumer and removing a lot of things people love to replace it with something they don't care (Windows 8 desktop button - windows 8 metro system), then they backtrack and put the features back saying "how they love to give consumers many options" and act as nothing has ever happened.

This One fiasco is so Microsoft-ish.

Chris Oates
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You DO realize that Microsoft has one of the largest R&D budgets of any company on the planet, right?

Rodrigo B
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Like the one they used when developing 360- oh wait, no they didn't developed it, they bought it from STI, or the Kinect, which was also bought technology and developed on MSR department later.

Yes, they do have a R&D department and they invest big money on it... but if you want to count the good things that came out of it compared that the good thing they just bought the rights to use, you'll see Microsoft has a pattern to buy things rather than put their own sweat on it (that's what I meant), and I'm talking about Microsoft as whole, not just their gaming division. And actually, from what I heard from people who worked in there, the R&D department and rights management department pretty much overlaps, they have R&D and invest a ton lot of money on it, but not exactly on what you would call "research", it is mostly the "development" part, that explain how much they burn on R&D and still delivers nothing of much impression. That's what I heard anyways, so excuse me if I'm wrong.

Either way, all the other points stand.

Dominik Gotojuch
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Instead of launching into half-assed sarcasm, I suggest you follow publications and presentation from Microsoft Research centers. There is plenty of interesting stuff in there and a lot of is long-term research, not just centered on developing technology according to contemporary trends.

Also, name one recent technology that was built completely from scratch. As far as I am aware, we are all standing on the shoulders of giants and any developments are based on previous work. Bought or not.

Larry McCartney
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While yeah, you're right. It's cool(somewhat) that they actually listened for once. But you know what? I don't trust them anymore. After investing so much money and time into the 360, and for Xbox Live since the release of 360 they went and tried to screw me over and my rights as a consumer. Take away my privacy, and much more than that.

I'm not alone, other people have invested the same or if not more into the 360. Probably the Xbox too. They were nobodies in the console race when the original Xbox came. They showed us all the research and development they did. That was so amazing. 360, they showed videos of their design aspects, their new controller, and all that. This time around after making billions of dollars they went hush hush, told us nothing until they were less than a year from release, and told us how and which way they wanted to screw us.

I won't put another dime into a company like that, I won't put another dime into Xbox live, not for a "Thank you" anyway, I want a full-out public apology just like they did with the RRoD and gave console buyers extended warranties and all that. They need to show more humility for this mistake they made.

Rodrigo B
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You mean the guy comes at me on rhetorical question and condescending tone and I have to answer it humbly? geez, talking about being passive.

And I do know what MSR is and what their are doing, or else I wouldn't be citing them in my explanation. But no, nothing that I see from them is exactly extraordinaire or coming from the scratch, most of their "technology" already exists in other corners of the industry, that's how they got them. It's not all just about money invested, there is no direct correlation between money and effort, unless there is real effort there to begin with.

And thinking about it now, you are right. RECENTLY technology research did shift to a crowdsourcing model instead of relying shoulder of giants (Microsoft is a giant you know). My complaint comes from the fact that they had this "buying model" even before the crowdsourcing became all the rage, this goes back to Windows 3.1x when most of technology giants were hardware focused. This model seem to have died in 2007 given the extreme economic success low hardware gadgets showed since then. But before then,it wasn't the norm just look at the cell processor for example, Sony formed STI already in the second year of PS2 cycle to research a processor from the scratch, and they have done that in most all of their other hardware till then (camera, TVs and such). Four hundred million dollars (consider inflation) through four years of research to come up with cell, aside from the investment to integrate it in the PS3 architecture. Microsoft, well, did what they always do: bought the rights to use Cell when the research was done and delivered it hastily in tricore architecture. As a costumer and someone who worked with the asian side of the economy, this speaks big about these two companies and how they treat workflow.

But you're right, now even Sony, which historically always were hardware focused, crowdsourced PS4 development given the extreme bad reception Cell had. And it shows, the gap between the big two this generation is hardly noticeable unless CUDA-like technology on PS4 is confirmed. PS4 was made with the new trends in game development in mind: no more extensive hardware hardcoding, common use of high level languages and wide margin for code blotches, that is the reason behind a PC like architecture 8gb RAM.

I retract my point about Microsoft R&D department, it is the norm now, and sincerely apologize for the mistake. Should have noticed the new trend. Pretty stupid of my part.

I still stand on the rest however. I know these two companies from long and I know they do crap too, Sony is no angel (but again, which institution has been?). On a scale, Microsoft is just worse, this One fiasco is not in anyway surprising to me, I saw it on Windows 8, I saw it on Windows Vista, I saw it on Windows Millenium, I saw it on many years using Windows OS and how every little feature felt like an un-ergonomic restriction. Xbox One, as originally conceived, has Microsoft written all over it.

Vicente Cartas Espinel
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Just check the publications and project from Microsoft Research, the number of things they publish (and how cool are a lot of them) is simply impressive.

Saying Microsoft does not R&D and just buys stuff is simply false, and there are more than enough proofs out there of it.

Rodrigo B
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Please read again, I'm not saying they don't have an R&D, it was bad use of words, I explained later that I meant that their R&D is focused on first buying technology and developed it from there, nothing from scratch. It's not the money they burn on their departments, this is not about money, it's about effort. And all the things they pulled there, seriously, didn't impressed me.

Erin OConnor
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The good news:
- There will no internet connection required to play offline Xbox One games "after a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One"
- There will be no 24-hour connection requirement for the console
- Used game sales and borrowing of games will have no limitations
- No regional restrictions

The bad news:
- Kinect is still required
- It will always be on. It will always be watching. The 5th edition Kinect is your friend! Trust the Kinect. The Kinect wants you to be happy.
- We will /only/ use this "non-personal" information for marketing purposes only
- By allowing us in your home we promise we will only allow the NSA to spy on you M-F from 8am - 9pm
- We will not show your wife the pictures if your mistress for a small monthly payment of $49.99

Miroslav Martinovic
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xbox! shut down completely!
...i'm afraid I can't do that, Dave...

...HOWEVER, nobody can prevent you from taping the camera over with something... probably... hopefully...

jolon bankey
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Go Microsoft! Great customer analysis and pivot.

Brilliant way of pulling the fat from the fire.

Kevin Goyon
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Am I the only one thinking that it's a mistake, a big return to stone age? They basically drop all the systems they anticipated for the dematerialization of the games!

The option for sharing your full library to 10 peoples was just 10 times better than borrowing a disc.
The ability to sell (even if it's only 1 time) a digital game is just the first answer to "what to do with used digital games?".

Do you really imagine yourself buying CD instead of downloadable games for the next 5 years? If not, you'll find yourself way more embarrassed by this U-turn...

Matthew Mouras
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People don't like change. I remember the vitriol that was spewed all over the internet when Steam launched. It took them time to win over their customers by demonstrating real value with the DRM service. Unfortunately, Microsoft will not have that chance in this generation.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Dimitri Del Castillo
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If you think gamers had anything to do with the reversal, guess again. The Microsoft execs just want to be able to keep the yellow ribbons stuck to the back of their sports cars.

Gil Salvado
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And here I thought they wouldn't pull this off until a quarter post-release. Great move, but it still leaves a bitter taste in ones mouth after saying "Well, we told you. Told you from the very beginning."

Still, the PS4 remains its advantage in cost-benefit ratio and as well in consumers sympathy.

Anton Temba
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I wonder if this backflip will come to bite them back later, since all this time they developed this console with this specific design to begin with, restrictions, kinect integration and the like, only to flip it on its head at the last minute because of peer pressure.

I guess either they are not completely confident with their initial system if they're willing to make a move like this.

Michael Joseph
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I don't buy it. They are using this to cut features in the short term to make their deadlines (so they're taking advantage of this push back) and in the long run, they can always make users accept a new EULA (or most likely the existing EULA will make every allowance for them to do what they ultimately wish to do) and then to implement desirable changes incrementally.

What Microsoft's outward (and let's say tentative) change reveals is a look at the only real power citizens have in the world today... the threat of a boycott of a product. Politically there's really no answer to corporate power.

In a capitalistic government where even the elected are largely determined by money, the only power IS money and for citizens that is their collective spending power, not their individual votes. (incidentally this is why any campaign contribution no matter how small is anathema to any democracy.)

EDIT: A related power (tactic really) is let's call it counter- advertisement or negative advertisement where individuals or groups/trade organizations/etc vocalize their opposition to a product or company and lay out rational reasons for doing so.

Dave Hoskins
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Sony knows that the physical disk copies are naturally on their way out. They are just letting it die peacefully.
The fat fingers of Microsoft blunders it's way through as usual, not getting anything right on the first attempt in years.
All they have to do now is double that RAM speed, remove the camera, reduce the size if that big ugly black box, and knock £50 off the price and I might purchase the XBone instead of the PS4! Probably not though.

Nick Harris
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Knock $230 off the price, more like:

ONE = $679 = $499 + $60 Xbox LIVE Gold + $60 Titanfall + $60 Forza 5
PS3 = $449 = $399 + $50 PS+ including PlanetSide 2 and DriveClub†

That makes ONE $230 more than the PS4.

†Okay, so I'm not counting the cost of the Kinect here, but most people don't seem to even want it. If you factor in the cost of an optional $60 PS4 Camera, then ONE is _only_ $170 more than the PS4, a snip for a brick

Jorge Molinari
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I was initially pissed at the reversal because I loved the family sharing feature. But I have to admit it sounded too good to be true, so maybe it was. In any case I was very close to pre-ordering an Xbox One; Now with this news I’m leaning towards the PS4. I never liked Kinect and was probably giving too much credit to the MS cloud computing thing, thanks to the above commenter for opening my eyes. This change in direction 5 months before release will likely wreak havoc in the final product. It is one thing to spend $60 on rushed software, quite another to spend $500 on rushed hardware. As with everything in tech, the best approach is to wait and see, but I’m leaning towards PS4 once like I was before E3.

Matt Ployhar
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Nice flop flop on their parts.

I see it largely as an admission that Secondary Sales/Pre-Owned, & Game Loaning is a serious issue for the Developers making games for Consoles. Talk about a lose lose choice. A) Piss off your consumers, or B) Strangle your Developers.

F2P isn't going to work too well for them either since it takes years to even build up a sizeable enough install base to start monetizing off of.

If I were them I'd cut my losses - circle the wagons with Windows - fix that cash cow - which is on fire. (Start button anyone?) Turn Xbox into a glorifed PC Gaming Cert Process. They're pretty much already there. Perhaps they should reach across the table to Sony & both admit they have bigger problems than duking it out on an antiquated Console business model.

Just my 2 cents. : )

wes bogdan
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Well the 24 hour window was stupid imagine moving across town,out of state EVERYTHING IS hooked UP BUT internet can't BE hooked UP for 7 days simply adjust THE policy TO check when we're ONLINE : dash updates,buying dlc on xbl marketplace OR playing online.

Using these parameters YOU could still play offline whenever YOU wanted/needed BUT ms would be guaranteed a connection FOR uploaded data BUT only when you're avaible to do so.

Dash updates are the best trojan horse for this sort of checking because everyone must dl and install to play so 4 x a year they can 100% have this done then we could get digital sharing and selling back. IMO

Nick Harris
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I can only surmise, but I think the underlying reasons for this mess are two-fold:

1) Microsoft are Engineering driven, whereas Apple are Design led.

Apple brought us digital downloadable multimedia, including games, that we can't sell and no one complained. Everyone loves iTunes and the App Store. Apple synchronised their devices via iCloud and no one bitched about being information super-highway havenots. Apple brought out the iSight camera in 2003 for a mere $150 and soon integrated it into all of their displays and no one got paranoid about the NSA spying on them. Neither Xcode or OS X Mountain Lion are available on disc, but come as big fat downloads as everyone has Unlimited Fibre, right?

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4138491?start=0&tstart=0

Clearly, Microsoft utterly fails to capture people's imagination and lead them into their utopian vision of the future. Their PR message is consistent only in its inconsistency and incoherently smothered by layers of legalistic permissible use cases. If Apple had made ONE it would have cut through the messy Gordian knot of Blu-ray discs not being able to be technically resold a second-time despite being able to be resold once, but with the spectre of a potential publisher driven caveat of a specific authorised store deauthorising it for you for a fee that the publisher felt it had a right to despite the fact that it could make the physical copies cost more than the downloadable versions and that used sales allowed them to make money from the purchase of DLC by every pair of hands the disk passed through unimpeded...PHEW...by simplifying their Apple ONE by replacing the Blu-ray drive by a second HDD to give it 1TB of local storage. Part of the reason why iTunes, etc. has been accepted is that everything is affordable, many games on there are shallow play-whilst-waiting-for-the-bus affairs, but they are often under a dollar and get bought, in quantity, on a whim. AAA games could fit into this ecosystem if they were rented. Multiplayer games could be rented for a fixed, non-reducing, fee each month, but with free DLC being provided to its loyal community of players and to attract latecomers. Campaigns could be split away from their traditional packaging (often people only buy Call of Duty for the Multiplayer and never touch the Campaign as they are 100% focused on improving their rank), however it doesn't make sense to rent these for a continuous time interval as that would force players to consume one at a time as rapidly as possible for fear their time with it would get cut off before they had made reasonable progress. Consequently, campaigns should be sold for discontinuous play intervals that total a matter of hours, requiring repeat rentals to complete, but freeing the player to switch between a variety of rentals without feeling that they are 'against the clock'. At any time these games can be upgraded for a fee to a version that they can permanently keep. There is still a reason to offer demos of finished products (never unrepresentative betas), with a message coming at the end of the first level, or the accumulation of an intermediate level of XP, that the player's progress / high score / achievements can only be retained if they choose to purchase, however as they may not have the funds in hand at this point they should also be able to indefinitely suspend that decision, pause and switch away to some other activity. More use of episodic game development would help spread production costs and lower risk, whilst many may accept never-ending Soap Opera narratives all based on the same engine, with just new stories, performance capture and artwork. One key to the success of digital downloads is to make them cheaper. Nintendo's viable alternative is to make 'a game that people will want to keep':

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/194309/Miyamoto_Bleszinski_wei
gh_in_on_used_games.php

2) Microsoft are heavy users of Facebook, Twitter and Skype.

This is a bad thing. Not all of their intended customers are remotely interested in these things. A more profound concern is Mark Zuckerberg's attitude that privacy is passé largely because it is an impediment to the snowballing of his user base to mine for profitable market research stats. Many embarrassing incidents have demonstrated that even sensible, educated, people closely connected to Government can't be trusted not to behave like a right Twit. Whilst the incredibly dubious and foolhardy phenomenon of smartphone "sexting" has recently migrated to Skype:

http://www.cosmopolitan.com/sex-love/advice/skype-video-sex#slide
-1

This combination of avante-garde techologies being so heavily used by Seattle first-adopters has resulted in them thinking the general conservative consumer will happy accept an invasion of their privacy in exchange for credits and achievements - using the super sophisticated Kinect sensor to track our eyes as we opt-in to watching ads on live TV, only later to charge us more to rent a movie depending upon the number of people in the room:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2331985/Xbox-One-t
rack-EVERYTHING-watch-TV--reward-watching-ads.html

http://kotaku.com/5958307/this-kinect-patent-is-terrifying-wants-
to-charge-you-for-license-violation

When the engineers making ONE are happy to give up their privacy to Mr Zuckerberg, leave a permanent 'datawake' of compromising Tweets for future employers to find and conduct the most intimate relationships over a network where every bad relationship could spawn a bitter sex tape, it is entirely unsurprising to me that ONE came with all these intrusive aspects. How hard would it have been to have just made an Xbox that played games at 1080p60?

Nick Harris
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People seem to miss Family Sharing, but I thought it was solving the wrong problem. So, rather than try to bring it back, as they could, for Digital Downloads, Microsoft should allow gamers to LEND to a third-party regardless of whether they were downloaded or installed from a Blu-ray. Technical explanation follows:

Just login to specify a time interval and have LIVE put the game on their HDD overnight if they haven't already got it cached. Queue an alert for the next time they login (this could also be a Tweet visible via Windows Phone, etc), so they know to check their console. Temporarily mark your digital certificate as being disabled until some date / time.

If the person fails to login for a week when you've lent them something for a month, they only get 3 weeks to play it before it reverts to your ownership. As you explicitly lend out you aren't restricted to merely 10 family members, or find that the game you wanted to play has been checked-out of the family library by your sister living in another state. The internal clock, separate from the local date / time, is set to the correct time on every login to disrupt attempts at piracy. The lender may not even have to login again to unlock their game at the end of the specified time interval. So, that is two online check-ins for a loan that could last for months.


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