After suffering a long and drawn out public criticism from video game journalists and the hardcore gaming audience, Microsoft has recently done a complete reversal of its two highly controversial policies regarding the digital rights management (DRM) restrictions of their soon-to-be released game console the Xbox One.
In the June 19 blog post by President of Interactive Entertainment Business Don Mattrick on the official Xbox site, he titled it “Your Feedback Matters”, arguably to save face over he and his company’s display of arrogance concerning their belief that the console would still be bought by the hardcore audience despite the aforementioned restrictions.
He would then say that the Xbox One, after a one-time system setup, will no longer require the owner to connect online every 24 hours to be able to play disc-based games. He also added that disc-based games will not have any sharing or reselling restrictions, allowing the owners full control over whether they want to give it to a friend for free or conduct any business transactions with interested buyers and retailers.
To further help repair Microsoft’s already damaged image, he also announced that games can be downloaded on their online service Xbox Live on their day of release; that downloaded games can be played offline; and that all Xbox One games will not be region-locked, meaning any disc-based game can be played on any Xbox One no matter which country they were bought in.
This move is commendable to a certain degree, as it shows that Microsoft has enough self-awareness that they understood that their main audience was not happy at all, and that they had to take severe action to avoid a disaster on the console’s release which was already indicated on an incredibly lopsided Amazon poll against Sony’s PlayStation 4.
It seemed to have work, as the Xbox One has already leapfrogged the PlayStation 4 to take back the lead in the Amazon charts for best sellers in video games.
However, the fact remains that they still believed that the majority of gamers, the people that care the most about new gaming consoles, would have gladly accepted all their draconian policies that would curtail the idea of games ownership. It will take much more effort on Microsoft’s part to win back the rest of the hardcore audience, especially considering the Xbox One’s price tag of $499 compared to the PlayStation 4’s much cheaper $399.