Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Breaking New: Microsoft Concede, Full Turn Around On DRM And Limited Licensing.

If you haven't heard it yet, then you're going very very shortly. 

Microsoft have publicly announced on 'Xbox Wire' that they will not longer be implementing their once controversial 'limited licensing' polices.

Roughly 40 minutes ago Don Mattrick, President of the Interactive Entertainment Business posted the following to 'Xbox Wire':

"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."

This is a seriously big announcement for Microsoft to have made. 

It's a statement that is openly acknowledging their misstep with regards to their new Xbox One 'limited licensing' policies. 

It's showing that they have listened to the furious and obstreperous community support against DRM policies, and other similar policies, that would remove any form of consumer rights to use their bought product in the way that they see fit. 

Furthermore, it shows that the numbers and statistics across the web that have translated into, what could probably be assumed as poor pre-orders for the new Xbox One, have hit home and brought them to the realisation that things needed to be re-evaluated in order to stay in the running.

More over, it shows that we -the consumers- have expressed our dislike and through deciding with our wallets, have helped Microsoft to recognise that we don't hate their product -we are in fact extremely excited for it's release- but we DO hate how they have turned against the very people who have helped propel their gaming products to the status that it holds now. 

With all manner of web sources from Amazon's Facebook to BBC news, announcing Microsoft's struggles and disadvantage after Sony's presentation during E3, it would certainly have been foolish not to have made even the slightest change to some policies in general. But the fact that they have chosen to address the biggest and most contentious policies is not only surprising but also extremely promising. 

Without a doubt this is a great success for the consumers. 

With the Game's industry having such an avid and passionate consumer base, I believe it's important for both sides to push and pull, to vocalise and listen, and ultimately foster a relationship between consumers and developers/publishers that can meet the needs and wants of both parties. 

It's ambitious I know, but this event shows that we can make changes when we think with our money rather than just on forums and voting poles.

What's really exciting now is the potential this change Microsoft has announced can have towards levelling the playing field between Sony's PS4 and their Xbox One. It's truly all about games now, and that's were the focus should've been since the beginning of each console announcement. 

This is the greatest success and outcome that we, industry and consumers combined, could possibly have hoped for. And I'm positively, sincerely, and genuinely excited about this news and the future of next-gen gaming - I hope you are too!

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