Just a month after having to perform a U-turn on the inclusion of the Start button in Windows 8 and Microsoft have found themselves backtracking again, this time on their controversial Xbox One Digital Rights Management (DRM) policy.
Microsoft’s previous Xbox One DRM stance was, in my opinion, quite draconian in nature (and lets not even get started on the Kinect issues here). Considering that a fair proportion of console owners will be kids I thought it quite harsh that the software giant would want to impose heavy restrictions/costs on the second hand games market.
I know that my own kids simply cannot afford to buy many games at all – they will get the odd high profile title through the year for birthdays and Christmas and then play them to death. Once they have finished these games they look to trade them for other titles that they wish to play. If they weren’t able to do that then they would not touch the Xbox One with a barge pole.
As it is, the damage is done – my younger son, for instance, ran a poll in his class at school – out of 30 children 28 intend to now buy the PlayStation 4 and 2 will swap their 360 gaming for the PC platform.
Microsoft will, I believe, lose this console round very badly indeed now, despite today’s announcement which says,
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.
But will that signify the end of DRM in games and devices? Most likely not, even though the use of DRM itself can, potentially, increase security risks.
You see its all about the money and protecting revenue streams. Microsoft, however, may have just done incredible damage to one of theirs, for a short while at least.