As the specifications for Microsoft's upcoming Xbox One have emerged, more and more gamers have expressed, forcefully, their dismay at the developing picture of a console that is totally built around DRM, taking away cherished customer rights like lending or selling their games. Microsoft has stubbornly refused to acknowledge that this might even be a problem (see their talking points memo for an example of the lengths the company was prepared to go to in order to dodge this question), but the pressure appears to have built to a breaking point. Yesterday, the company abruptly announced a complete 180' reversal from its rigid DRM commitment, such that the Xbox One will have about the same level of DRM as its predecessor, the Xbox 360 (which, it must be said, is DRMed up to the eyeballs).
“After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One,” Xbox executive Don Mattrick wrote in a blog post, “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.” Mattrick added that Xbox One would be region-free; any Xbox One disc would function in any Xbox One console.
Additionally, Mattrick wrote, players will be able to “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.”
Xbox 180: Microsoft Fully Reverses Xbox One’s DRM Policies [Ryan Rigney/Wired]
The monthly Report on Business magazine in the Canadian national paper The Globe and Mail profiled my work on DRM reform, as well as my science fiction writing and my work on Boing Boing.
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