I've been planning to write more on the Xbox One and it's restrictive, invasive DRM for a while now, but I also wanted to wait and see how it all paned out, or at least wait until the news calmed down a bit and we could all get a more clear cut and accurate picture of exactly what Microsoft are attempting to implement, and why exactly they felt the need to segregate consumers with such a divisive online requirement that would inevitably cost them potential sales.
With that being said, the sheer unprecedented turn of events that happened only yesterday, has spurred me on to to writing this inevitably drawn out rant of a blog on my feelings and impressions regarding MS's complete Xbox 180... or better yet, their new policy.
First of all I want to congratulate everyone who did stand up for their consumer rights, as most of us know all to well by now, being a gamer it has become common placed to accept getting shafted with unfavourable policies & requirements that exist primarily to part us with our hard earned cash while holding our gaming hobby to ransom, so the fact that more and more of us are getting tired of this, and are beginning to stand up for ourselves and our rights is a sign that I believe things are starting to turn in our favour (the gamers favour) so long as we stand in unison against that which threatens to cause our hobby harm, then we have a chance to improve gaming in directions we see fit instead of that of greedy, out of touch publishers, so with that being said, CONGRATULATIONS!
OK, better start getting to the point now. While I think most of us were aware that MS's policies in regards to the Xbox One's DRM would eventually have to change, I don't believe many of us saw this change coming before the console had even hit the shelves, especially when we have countless interviews/videos with MS corporate execs stating that they have no intention of changing anything. Major Nelson was quoted as saying " We're really not going to change anything" and Don Mattricks infamous verbal blunder "If you don't have an Internet connection buy an Xbox 360" certainly gives the impression that both corporate execs had no plans to remove the Xbox One's online requirements or DRM at the time.
So the big question knocking around in my head right now is, if the bad press Microsoft received at both the Xbox One reveal conference and the E3 show wasn't enough to convince them to remove the restrictive/invasive DRM, then just what was it that did?
I have a few theories that all culminate into one prominent theory on the matter, one being that Microsoft somehow realised that creating a wall (a insurmountable wall for some) between potential customers and the Xbox One, was not the brightest sales strategy, so they have been racing back and forth to fix this issue while trying to save face.
My next theory is that Microsoft simply did not expect such a PR shit storm to ensue following the Xbone reveal, lets be fair here, if you're going to announce to your potential consumers that they will need a constant Internet connection to play games, must register online at 24 hour intervals, can no longer resell their games and must install their games on the Xbone's hard drive before they can even play them, well then you've got to expect some backlash right? except MS doesn't honestly have that much respect for our intelligence it seems, they most likely hoped that all the fancy gimmicks would be enough to woo consumers into ignoring all the negatives and focus on the positives, positives like TV, Halo TV series, TV, COD DOG, TV, Kinect 2, TV, NFL, TV, Madden and TV and more TV. Because as a hardcore gamer those things somehow appeal to me... Wait, what?
My third and final theory is one that I share with many other users here and have seen floating around N4G recently, but now I hope to flesh these views out a little more as I believe it to be the more influential piece of the puzzle, I commented a good bit of my views on the blog of another user the other day so I'll expand upon it here. You see even though MS may be pulling a Xbox 180 (sorry couldn't resist) the fact that they even had the intention of following through with these anti-consumer policies in the first place speaks volumes of where Microsoft's loyalty's truly lie, they are still very much on the side of the publishers, and if you ask me this change of heart is more to do with a fear of loosing big on Xbone sales due to a rise in bad press.
It should come as no surprise to anyone that the rumour of MS going back on their controversial DRM policies came shortly after the Jimmy Fallon show, where seemingly unanimous cheers of praise from the audience where directed toward Sony's PS4 and their un-restrictive stance on used games, the people cheering in the audience are not gamers like you and me, they are commercial driven, ignorant consumers who move from fad to fad based off of whatever is the "in thing" at the time, the ill informed masses that buy what they are told and care little for the eventual poor state the industry may be left in if MS's damaging DRM policies were to become the norm, they are representative of the target consumer that I believe to be the core demographic MS was counting on, the consumer that would be willing to purchase the Xbox One without knowledge of DRM or used game policies, but unfortunately for Microsoft it would appear that those who MS where counting on being their core demographic (the commercial driven casual crowd) have caught wind of all the bad press and like any consumer who values their "consumer rights" at least when they realise it is being threatened, have chosen to stand against that which they feel threatened by.
Now I'm sure even after reading through this blog there are still many who plan to purchase an Xbox One, so if you are one of these people I have just one thing to say. Always remember this, MS had every intention of screwing over all of us by implementing online restrictions and intrusive DRM, so don't think their philosophy has changed just because their current policy has shifted due to fears of loosing out this coming gen, you wouldn't forgive a person trying to steal from your home but who then decides against it when caught because they realise everyone who finds out would think less of them for it, right? so then why forgive Microsoft when they pull a 180 for fear of alienating consumers and loosing out on sales? They are shifting direction due to necessity not compassion... Anyway I expect these issues of DRM and restrictions to rear their ugly head again when the Xbox One receives a decent install base, I doubt MS have honestly learned their lesson, not yet anyway, the features that they have removed like game sharing will be back but with strings attached, you can count on that.
Well I think that's pretty much it, these three points I feel combined are responsible for Microsofts hasty removal of the Xbox One's controversial DRM, well other than the NSA's PRISM program and data mining concerns some European countires have raised when the Kinect 2 is thrown into the equation (and quite rightly so) but I honestly can't say how much influence that had on MS's new direction.
Anyway thanks for reading my blog and as always please feel free to leave a comment, if you disagree or have something to add please do so.