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How Shedding DRM In The Xbox One Benefits Microsoft

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post-299-142419407033_thumb.jpgWith the reveal of the Xbox One at E3, gamers had all-but declared Xbox’s competitor, the PlayStation 4, as the victor in this particular console war. One feature of the One that seemed particularly vexing to Xboxers was the need for Internet connectivity. But as of today, this issue has been put to bed.

According to an official announcement made today, the Redmond-based company won’t be implementing the need for Internet connectivity for offline game playing. (As previously announced, this connectivity would have been required once every twenty-four hours, and without it, players wouldn’t have been able to play even a single-player game.) Don Mattrick, President, Interactive Entertainment Business, wrote that although Microsoft “believe in the benefits of a connected, digital future, â€ÂAn 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.

After the original announcement at E3, Xbox gamers were upset enough to state they had plans to purchase the rival PS4. This alone may have given Microsoft reason to change their always-on tune. But there could be more to this announcement than responding to gamer outrage: It could actually be less expensive for Microsoft.

With the Xbox One reveal in mid-May, Microsoft revealed their plans to increase the number of servers they would use to “power†the Xbox “experience†from 15,000 to 300,000 (“more than the entire world’s computing in 1999″).

Now that check-ins are no longer required, Microsoft may not need to add to their current server expenses, twenty times in addition to what they’re paying now. In addition, removing a dependency on the upstream servers actually benefits Microsoft, because it eliminates the possibility of breaking everybody’s Xbox should their update servers have a bad day. And let’s not forget how much damage a DDOS attack can do on Xbox’s that are required to check in. By removing the not-always-but-frequently-online component, Microsoft could be saving themselves a great deal of trouble later.

Unfortunately, one cool feature has been removed: 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.

That means the ability to play your game at friend’s house, even if the friend does not own it, is kaput. But it’s an acceptable trade-off, especially for people who live in remote areas, where connectivity is less reliable. (Yeah, imagine trying to connect and failing, only to be cut off from your game. Not a pretty picture.)

Updated: With this news, friends of the Master Chief may be mollified enough to purchase the console. After all, Microsoft has now been seen as a company who listens to its community, and a bit of humility can go a long way for your customer base, especially after its initial PR hit. And after the poor reception of Windows 8, Microsoft may want to avoid another backfire. But what’s good for fans may be good for Microsoft too.

This announcement doesn’t necessarily preclude the possibility that third-party games publishers may choose to impose their always-on requirement, just as EA did with SimCity 5. Microsoft might be wriggling off this particular hook, but other companies may be baiting another one at this very moment.

Source: Forbes

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I just finished reading an article this morning ( if I can find a link I'll post it) about how the DRM issue will now hurt us gamers. That in the long run games would have become less expensive. I called BS! Never in my life have I seen a company say, "Oh look, we're making tons of profit now, lets drop all our prices". The DRM issue is dead for now, although, I'm confident it will resurface at another time. It's going to happen like it or not.

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Never in my life have I seen a company say, "Oh look, we're making tons of profit now, lets drop all our prices".

While very true of companies in general, I think Steam's digital pricing model only serves to prove that video game publishers can actually make more by charging less. That's not an idea, its a proven thing.

MS said during E3 that they set up their digital buys to emulate Steam ... Steam is also introducing a "sharing" feature ... People LOVE Steam, but hate MS for trying to do the same thing?

The same people who've berated consoles for things like disc swapping, high game prices and the poor publishers (see anything related to the Gamestop model to further that) took to the interwebs and made a fuss over MS's plan to go about abolishing them. ? ...

We are now going to be stuck, with a next generation of consoles, that provides a marginal difference from the last gen ...

Better graphics, and better online/menu experience - YAH <--- /sarcasm ... but same everything else.

Edited by bobbo

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I just finished reading an article this morning ( if I can find a link I'll post it) about how the DRM issue will now hurt us gamers. That in the long run games would have become less expensive. I called BS! Never in my life have I seen a company say, "Oh look, we're making tons of profit now, lets drop all our prices". The DRM issue is dead for now, although, I'm confident it will resurface at another time. It's going to happen like it or not.

They said the same thing when advertisements were starting to creep into games, "hey, if we can put adds in the game then they will be cheaper" hmmm.... I see ads in games all the time but don't see the price dropping at all!!! Yah, i have to leave the disk in the tray to play!!! Guess I'll be buying all digital from now on..... hmmmm....CONSPRIACY THEORY TIME... maybe that is what they are trying to get at all along???!!!??! LOL

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While very true of companies in general, I think Steam's digital pricing model only serves to prove that video game publishers can actually make more by charging less. That's not an idea, its a proven thing.

MS said during E3 that they set up their digital buys to emulate Steam ... Steam is also introducing a "sharing" feature ... People LOVE Steam, but hate MS for trying to do the same thing?

The same people who've berated consoles for things like disc swapping, high game prices and the poor publishers (see anything related to the Gamestop model to further that) took to the interwebs and made a fuss over MS's plan to go about abolishing them. ? ...

We are now going to be stuck, with a next generation of consoles, that provides a marginal difference from the last gen ...

Better graphics, and better online/menu experience - YAH <--- /sarcasm ... but same everything else.

I can agree to a certain extent, but here's the kicker for me. One of the things I like about my console is when I'm done playing the game I can trade it in. Yes the prices for trade in can be low at best at Gamestop, but when you collect a few together and take advantage of their trade in specials it can be a little less painful. I bought Borderlands for the PC, kind of hoping it would pull me to the PC part of the gaming world because I liked the game so much. It didn't work out that way. So now I have a $20 game sitting on my PC that I digitally downloaded, now what?

There a plus and minuses for each and every gamer and the way they play. The trick for the companies is to please as many of the audience as they can to capture their dollar. Who knows what this change will bring. One thing I've said in another thread is that DRM will be coming to consoles. It's just going to take ALL console manufacturers to work together. It didn't happen this go around because Sony said no to DRM. MS caved when they saw how much it hurt their audience. Trust me, it's coming whether we like it or not. Now as to whether or not games get cheaper because of it, well, that remains to be seen.

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I agree about the money, and after the always connected was changed, that became a vote back to xbox. The electricity or internet connection frequently decides to do its own thing here and go out. I really didn't want a $500 paperweight that couldn't even be used offline. I used to be a faithful Nintendo player and left the "complicated controllers" consoles to Cajun. Well, once he taught me how to use them, I really like our xbox. He used to be a PS gamer, but switched and preferred. I really wasn't looking forward to learning another controller and system. I don't think I've even played on the Wii in about a year, lol. But, I also agree about the discs, at least there is some trade-in value there versus losing the payment of digital download if you don't like it or finish it. I still don't see us getting the XBO immediately, but maybe when Halo comes out, lol.

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I am a bit (actually a lot) behind in the info stream for the new gen systems. But if they do shift all to DRM, then when they take down a server for a game wouldn't the game then become totally non functional? I am a game hoarder and like the ability to buy used games and add to my hoard, additionally I have been without the internet for over a year (till just a month or so ago) but still played a lot of my games, so MS just blew me out of the water. Since I got my 360, I have preferred the online play of it much more than that of the PS3 due to crowd you meet, but I feel that is going to change. MS initial decision, even though they back pedaled from consumer loss and dissatisfaction, has erected a barrier for me that I don[t believe will be readily breached, and my intent is to still go with the PS4.

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I think that a viable DRM scheme could have been put in place this generation by MS, but they had some bad hooks in parts of the implementation, and then they blew it with their execs not communicating the right message. The plan all along had been to further restrain the further transfer of disc-based games beyond the point of original sale a [plus to publishers, a take-away for gamers], in exchange for the publishers relaxing the current pervading DRM schemes on digital sales; which is you buy it, you own it for life, no trades]. But MS never focused the messaging on talking about these two ends of the deal in one sentence. I never heard of them talk about it as a trade-off in their primary press events; maybe they did and I missed it. Some of their execs talked about it that way in follow-on interviews after E3; but by then they were into come-from-behind PR, which is never as effective. And then some of their execs (like Mattrick) obviously didn't get the memo. MS intended this move to be a stepping-stone to an all-digital console in generation 9, but they never communicated that effectively.

Valve and its partnering devs and publishers have figured certain variables that can be toggled to lower prices for consumers, but still make the suppliers interested in playing. That works when the market competition demands lower prices, as was the case with PC gaming versus consoles. I am guessing that MS sees that the technologies of consoles are going to be at parity for the big players from here on out, and that exclusives may no longer be a generation-winner [although they seem to be resurging on the XB1 and PS4 after a fall-off this generation]. That may mean that the first one to get to a model and pricing closer to Steam than the $60 retail-disc model may gain a competitive advantage. Not the same as Steam, but closer to it.

We have had and still do have DRM on consoles; this was just a change in where it was implemented. Disc-based games on consoles have [almost] always required you to have the disc. And digital console games have [almost] always tended to not allow anyone but you to play them. While I agree with the reasons behind MS' approach, their PR handling of it was botched, and I do not agree with the tech approach, either. My opinion is that DRM should always be an on-game implementation, not at the platform level. But MS and the Xbox have a history of making things standard, so I guess they felt obliged to have the realization of this trade-off implemented at the platform level. Still, I feel that if the pubs and devs are the ones demanding no used games sales, then they should be the ones who bear the burden of implementing it and any bad press that goes along with it. Either only sell your game digitally, or require a certificate-check for your disc.

I personally prefer the Steam model myself. I do not have a need for physical media or the boxes they come in. And I love being able to log into my Steam account and download and install any and all content that I have paid for. MS took the unlucky path of trying to build a bridge between gamers and the publishers, and took on a monkey that they should have placed somewhere else.

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Alright, lets look at this from a new angle shall we?

Lets say M$ was going to release this new idea to the world, but they were slotted to go on after Sony?

Lets, just for a second, think that Sony came on, went through their things with great detail to keeping things they way you like it, showing off games, and never saying a thing about trading games, cause, lets face it. If they would have saif it before M$, they would have looked stupid.

Then M$ comes on stage, Turn 10 talks about how pretty their game is without showing us anything about the handling characteristics, then they move on to the system. They tell us, We have a new exciting thing we are going to give to all players. We will be moving the gaming community forward with a system that will push the boundaries of the the quip pro quoe, we want to make a system, that can do it all, play it all, and give it all when you want it...

Would you feel differently, after hearing this info in reverse. If I would have heard you will be paying for PSN, Sony had very few console exclusives, would you be asking yourself why Sony didn't step up their game a bit? Or would we still be asking these questions, even when we all know these are the future of gaming anyway?

I would like to add, I am still a 50/50 support, when it comes to M$ and Sony, I play my system equally and enjoy both. At this time I am leaning to the PS4, but that doesn't me there wont be a change it the guard, depending on what I see in the near future. I am a bit bothered that M$ has pulled the bundles at this time, because they a re done with the "Day One" pre-orders, which is stupid, there should be enough systems for all on day one, no matter when you decide to pre-order...

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Solo - haven't you learned anything from Forza ? The "Day One" logo on the XBO controller adds like 5 hp ... or 50k "transistors" ... LoL

I think Sony got away with skirting quite a bit of bad press over playing up the Xbox PR mishaps, but I won't rehash that can of worms. And I think you're totally spot on in thinking the roles would be reversed with switched presser times at E3.

Things that still get me ;

in general;

- a number of the next gen games REQUIRE an internet connection, regardless of system ... all the bellyaching due to "always on" meant squat.

regards PS4;

- PSN+ membership is now required for MP ; I understand it's going to make PSN better in the long haul, but wasn't that PSN's strong counter point to LIVE?

- the launch line up seems lacking, and has nothing that makes me want to keep my PS4 preorder ... no GT6, no Destiny, no sale?

- how/what does "share" actually do ?? I don't want my PS4 spam posting to facebook - or my own facebook feed being spammed by my friends' PS4's ...

regards XBO;

- Live membership is still required to access many features I already pay for - ie Netflix

- I'm still going to have to put my disc in the system tray ... An unreadable disc means an unplayable game ... losing that feature hurts me the most ...

- I'll have to run updates BEFORE I can participate in a muster, because they wont automatically do it while I'm not gaming ...

- If there's an option to "opt in" for the connected functionality that was taken away - I'll be all over it ...

- I'm REALLY glad Mattrick got the boot to Zynga ... this launch was a HUGE cluster of misinformation to the customers ...

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I don't know guys, I think Microsoft did bad enough job that it didn't matter if they were first or last @ E3, and I think that is why Mattrick is gone, everyone at Microsoft realizes how terrible the X1 presentation looked/sounded to a lot of core gamers. Now that alot of additional information is out it doesn't sound as bad to a lot of gamers. I am sticking with my PS4 pre-order but will likely get an X1 when my 360 dies. Toast is saving his $ for the X1 so I will have access to it to check out when he is not on.

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