Microsoft Changes Its Mind on Xbox One’s Used Games and Always-Online Policies

Microsoft has backtracked on how the Xbox One will handle used games and offline play, following weeks of backlash.

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Microsoft has backtracked on how the Xbox One will handle used games and offline play, following weeks of backlash.

An update on Microsoft’s news site lists the following changes:

  • Xbox One games will not require an Internet connection every 24 hours just to play offline.
  • A one-time Internet connection will be required during system set-up, but that’s it.
  • Games on disc may be lent, resold, given away and rented, just as Xbox 360 discs are today.
  • Downloaded games will work without an Internet connection.
  • There will be no regional restrictions.

The story was first reported by Patrick Klepek, a well-connected reporter at Giant Bomb. A post by Don Mattrick, President of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business confirmed the news shortly after.

“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,” Mattrick wrote. “We have listened and we have heard loud and clear from your feedback that you want the best of both worlds.”

Mattrick did say that some of the features Microsoft had announced for the Xbox One will have to be taken away:

  • Games on disc will have to be in the tray to play them. Previously, Microsoft had said that games on disc would install automatically, at which point the disc would not be necessary.
  • Users will not be able to share downloaded games with each other. Under the original plan, users would be able to pick any nine people to share their game libraries with. This would have allowed two people on separate consoles to play a single copy of the game together.

As I’ve written before, Microsoft was trying to accelerate the demise of the disc by effectively making the physical copy worthless. This would have provided a couple of benefits, as listed above, and it would have given Microsoft greater control over its own games market and pricing.

But it also would have taken power away from consumers to lend, trade, sell and keep games for as long as they pleased, without being bound to Microsoft’s whims and servers. The fact that Sony didn’t adopt any sweeping policy changes on the PlayStation 4 only made Microsoft’s policies seem more draconian. The Xbox One’s approach required users to trade ownership rights for convenience (at least for those with a steady Internet connection), and it was a trade-off many users were not willing to make.

Now, what are the odds Microsoft will stop requiring Kinect and lop $100 off the price?

35 comments
Evan.Chen
Evan.Chen

Not allowing players to be able to share or trade in their second hand games with others will obviously cause problem, can't believe they didn't think this through before hand. This is the biggest reason the community disliked old xbox one policy. But coming back to the potential "Kinect being hacked" problem. Our PC computers are always connected to the internet with our webcams connected, I don't see anyone unplug their webcam every time they turn their PC on. Also, there are defiantly more hackers targeting PCs than those who targeting consoles. As long as MS can cut that price off, i don't think Kinect will be a problem at all.

goldenegg
goldenegg

microsoft stabbed us in the back but hey don't worry they are offering us a plaster for the wound, greedy greedy greedy, I do not trust these fools anymore i am switching to sony

NathanHamman
NathanHamman

Microsoft is just copying Sony. Sony decided that they didn't want used games being sold, microsoft wanted in on it. Once Sony decided not to force those policies microsoft followed.  Just get a pc they last longer and can play old or new games.  Lag switches do not work with pc because of a code written into the game to make it run at the same speed no matter the fps.

J.r.Richard
J.r.Richard

I've been an XBox guy from the beginning, and i'm sorry but i don't trust you. You will wait like 6months to a year, and then just go back to what you want have to be online, etc, can only use brand new games ect. I don't trust you. So im getting a PS4 where i don't even have to pay anything to get the gold online experience. Makes me sad, because i've always supported the XBox, but i don't trust you anymore.

SamaleMatina
SamaleMatina

I welcome the u-turn by MS but I would have bought the xbox one regardless. I have always used the xbox as media player first and gaming machine second and know a lot of ppl who do the same. The idea of one box controlling everything else and ability to seemlesly jump between tv, games, online media and hopefully media centre content it great. Have to sell a kidney to buy it though but i'm sold on the better kinect and other features of Xbox One.

MiguelDeCarvalho
MiguelDeCarvalho

My God , XBOX totally see that they will lose and now they change ! Hahahahaha LOSERS

Poor Guys . I still LOVE SONY because Sony don´t imitate. See Microsoft imitate tottally SONY .

My god now I saw that MICROSOFT only want Money ! 

STOP IMITATE SONY - STOP IMITATE SONY - STOP IMITATE SONY ! Don Dollar or whatever please use your brain not you´re money !

ggarza767
ggarza767

ps4 is still better than this Xbox 360 wannabe, really what have you to offer other than kinnect and "graphics"? whoever buys this is a moron

xxjames-or-jxx
xxjames-or-jxx

i have been a xbox fan from day 1...how could you do something like this to the ppl....you just made the ps4 look like gods...you need to fix the f-up....

StephyD'Angelo
StephyD'Angelo

Still not impressed enough to spend 2 weeks paychecks on this bs! 

Neuroman
Neuroman

Only Microsoft would be arrogant enough to try this in the first place. The customer has always been nothing but a major inconvenience to them. It is so ingrained into their culture they just can't help themselves. 

They have crushed the PC marketplace quicker than expected with Windows 8 completely disregarding the realities of the customer's preferences and now they are going to stall the gaming market, too. Only in this case there is some competition - thank you Sony.

If you have to purchase all new games anyway to operate Xbox one, then that is the perfect time to make a platform switch.  My Xbox 360 library is HUGE so my 360 is not going anywhere soon. But, Playstation here I come. Going with a Company which actually gives a _____ about its customers.

kpump1
kpump1

Microsoft had a chance here to offer the best of both worlds. If they truly are developing the cloud, and on-line etc. then Why not keep there policies for on-line purchases, anything on-line you can family share or access at your friends house, etc.

There vision of how they wanted things to be. And anything you buy the disc is same as it is now. It would give gamers the choice if they wanted to build cloud, or disc libraries and the advantages of there chosen medium. But now they look like 100% we are just going to do what sony did. They could have offered both, and then we would have decided what direction to take the content. Bad move MS. Yes and the all seeing eye, come one. Give the option to unplug the thing, It is already making the system $100 more, yes there is value (If you want it) But let the consumer decide if they want to use it. They will have it, you made that clear. Great I play with it think its sweet, I use it. Awesome! Or I think it is a gimmick my kids may use it , but to me it is just distraction, so I unplug it. Electrical tape is your friend as well, if you are paranoid about them video taping you, just put some electrical tape over the lens, Or just get a PS4. But they should let you decide on its use.

NicholasWoods
NicholasWoods

This is the stupidest mistake. This now makes both next gen consoles just an iteration of the same old outmoded system since the ness. Congratulations ill informed and short sighted internet. Enjoy the next gen you created. I will get out for some fresh air coz it's getting stale around here.

CoryKing
CoryKing

Now all they do Is make Xbox 360 games playable on Xbox one and lower the price and they have me back

CoryKing
CoryKing

Now all they do Is make Xbox 360 games playable on Xbox one

Tomnician
Tomnician

This would have allowed two people on separate consoles to play a single copy of  the game together. Where did they say that? They said household.

EnderWiggum
EnderWiggum

...and Xbone goes from 'do not buy' to 'maybe buy' in one day.  Thank you for listening to consumers.  (Yes I know the trade-offs are a bit disappointing)  

Thenatsou
Thenatsou

yeah no DRM EVERYODY GO BUY AN XBOX . its every sheep for every box. go microsoft give sony some competition to keep growing. MOST STABLE COMPANY IN THE WORLD. OF course we will give 500  to take our rights away and spy on us and then give it back and say that you listen ti consumers . whhhay go xbox

DarKbaldness
DarKbaldness

This is so stupid. I want to install games and store the disc away. I DONT WANT TO USE THE DISC AFTER I INSTALL IT. And I would really have liked to share my game library with my brothers so we can enjoy games together. THANK YOU IDIOT CRY BABIES.

Mylifebyzack
Mylifebyzack

This is hilarious. They're just trying to make up for their greedy handed mistakes because of loss of consumers.

E-Gabs
E-Gabs

@J.r.Richard You know that Sony is now going to be charging for PSN/PS+, right? The CEO apologized, but said it is something they have to do.

goldenegg
goldenegg

@J.r.Richard yes i agree mate this is just a gimmick for initial sales of the xbox one, they will turn on the weak people who stay with them

goldenegg
goldenegg

@StephyD'Angelo I agree with you stephy they just want to continue ripping us off, loyalty means nothing to them, they should  at least give discounts to people based on the length of  time we have been a gold customer for, I have been for 5 years

unitedtruth
unitedtruth

The reason MS wont allow the downloads and disc is simple. Money. Picture this, when you are a global company, there are many business (like gamefly, gamestop, ect.) That you are partnered with. These partners offer a buffer between the customer and xbox, so if the customer has a problem they can return the product to the partner I.e. gamestop in this example. When you come out publicly without letting your partners ( being 3rd party developers of hardware and software, gamestop, ect.) know that you have a plan to cist them more money or possibly put them out of business. You have a problem. This system has worked great up until now, xbox has made their money, along with the resell companies. MS has asked these companies to adopt certain rules like with stolen games, purchases, ect. They woke up and MS tried to screw them with no jelly. So if MS wants happy retailers, they cant be pissing in the same toilet. Because if not, these places can be pro anyone else, and not push MS products.

Shepard82
Shepard82

@NicholasWoods The power of the technology fearing mob :( This is the last in long line of new technology being destroyed by shortsighted fools....instead of new gen console that was at least trying to introduce new service to gamers,gamers are now getting same thing only more powerful.....and I think most gamers didn't mind,it was the vocal dumbass majority in their mothers basements and gaming journalists that drank the Sony 'pro-consumer' B.S that did this...

If Sony is such a pro-consumer company,why did they fight tooth and nail to introduce DMCA for music and movies? People hate X1 like they hated 360 and original Xbox because of the producer,not the the product...and Kinetic doesn' bother me at all...

 People are afraid of NSA watching them through Kinetic yet post every bowel movement on social sites....beyond insanity

newmanjb
newmanjb moderator

@Tomnician From MS's licensing page: "Give your family access to your entire games library anytime, anywhere: Xbox One will enable new forms of access for families. Up to ten members of your family can log in and play from your shared games library on any Xbox One. Just like today, a family member can play your copy of Forza Motorsport at a friend’s house. Only now, they will see not just Forza, but all of your shared games. You can always play your games, and any one of your family members can be playing from your shared library at a given time."

No mention of household there, and it specifically says being able to play a copy at someone else's house. There was still a lack of clarity from MS on some of the details, but Phil Spencer told Penny Arcade Report that "he believed that two people can play one copy of a game concurrently."

Ars Technica has reported that the "only limitation, it seems, is that only one person can be playing the shared copy of a single game at any given time." I take this to mean the original owner can play whenever (per the official statement at the top), and one other person can be playing one game at that time as well.

This random Internet image is the best explanation I've seen, if accurate:

http://i.imgur.com/Ayguitt.png

Would have been really helpful if MS explained it that way.

silicondrifter82
silicondrifter82

@DarKbaldness  Lol what are you gonna do when that 500 GB non removable hard drive fills up with 10-50GB sized games?  You're a f'ing idiot.  Please go choke yourself.

DarKbaldness
DarKbaldness

Go enjoy getting $30 back from your inability to research before you buy $60 game and $3-$5 trade in bucks.

commentonitall
commentonitall

@Shepard82 @NicholasWoods 

It has nothing to do with anything that was said online or by people who play games or as you so eloquently put it "the vocal dumb ass (FYI it is two words not one, if your going to insult the intelligence of someone make sure you can spell and use proper grammar) majority."  It has everything to do with system reservation numbers.  Sony was killing Microsoft in that department.  Most retailers only had 8 or 10 XBOX ONE systems available to pre-order, while Sony had 20 or 30 and they were selling out of them.  Microsoft reversed on their policies because they were afraid of early sales numbers and have tried to spin it into them listening to the consumer and who can blame them.  The fact is Microsoft listened to where the money was going and reversed their direction.  They still have some major problems though.

1:) The system is $100 more and it is clear Sony is advertising their specs in a way that shows on paper they have superior parts (DDR5 vs DDR3).  The average consumer will look at the difference and choose the cheaper product that is technically superior

2:) People don't like things forced on them and consumers feel that Kinect is doing just that.

3:) Microsoft claims the "power of the cloud" makes up for the technical short comings compared to the PS4.  The problem is the current real world model does not allow for this to happen without latency and most the extra computing power can be applied to AI scripts and other programming, but in it's current form it will not improve graphics.  Look at OnLive, Latency kills the experience.  I know Microsoft claims to have 300k servers, but the current architecture of the ISPs in the US does not allow for the speed they will need to actually use that extra power.  That is why Microsoft said the power of the cloud will makes games better in the future and not at launch.  That means you are banking on technology that may not materialize during the XBOX ONE's lifetime.