Some thought the Console Wars were over, but have Microsoft just pulled the greatest policy turnaround in the Games Industry?
Originally broken by Patrick Klepek of Giant Bomb, Microsoft have officially confirmed a total and utter reversal on their increasingly controversial DRM policy for the Xbox One, including:
- No more always online requirement
- The console no longer has to check in every 24 hours
- All game discs will work on Xbox One as they do on Xbox 360
- An Internet connection is only required when initially setting up the console
- All downloaded games will function the same when online or offline
- No additional restrictions on trading games or loaning discs
- Region locks have been dropped
The decision comes a week after Microsoft's disastrous E3, where Sony dealt a stunning PR blow by revealing the PS4 would continue with the current Status Quo of Digital Rights Management on consoles - with no restrictions to the trading and sharing of disc-based games, and no system-level online requirement. Xbox executives from Don Mattrick, to Larry Hyrb, to Phil Harrison, have all repeatedly told the press that Microsoft are not threatened by Sony's policies and would not change the current plans for the Xbox One, but a matter of days later the company has done just that.
It's a remarkably bold statement from Microsoft, a company rarely known for such quick turnarounds on controversial aspects of their products - see the current argument surround Windows 8 and the Start screen, for example - and for sticking to their guns, good or bad. But it does make the upcoming scuffle between the Playstation 4 and Xbox One infinitely more interesting, after essentially eradicating 90% of Sony's advantages from E3. With now only a higher price and the mandatory-bundling of Kinect against them, Microsoft have put the Xbox One back on level playing field with the PS4.
It's going to be a fun 5 months before these consoles release.