Biggest U-turn yet? Microsoft axes DRM restrictions after web outcry

20/06/2013

In one of the most striking examples of internet protest power yet seen, Microsoft has reversed its controversial decision to impose restrictions on pre-owned games on its upcoming Xbox One console.

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Microsoft initially said that gamers would need to log onto the internet via the Xbox One once per day to keep playing and imposed a number of restrictions on lending or selling games.

The firm has since been beset by protests from angry fans, with many taking to popular online forums such as Reddit threatening to switch to Sony’s upcoming rival, the Playstation 4.

A recent Facebook poll run by Amazon (shown above) asked gamers which next-gen console they wanted to buy. After three days and 40,000 votes, 38,984 opted for the Sony console and just 2162 said they would buy the Xbox One.

Responding to the criticisms, Microsoft has now abandoned plans and removed the daily online authentication requirements for its forthcoming console.

Microsoft interactive president Don Mattrick said the company had "heard loud and clear" from its customers.

"You told us how much you loved the flexibility you have today with games delivered on disc," Mr Mattrick said in a statement posted online. 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."

The statement, which was for some time inaccessible due to heavy traffic, went on to backtrack fully on the controversial aspects of their DRM - digital rights management - plans:

• "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."

The rules apply to games bought as physical discs only, and do not affect games downloaded via the online Xbox store.

"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," Mattrick said. "We have listened and we have heard loud and clear from your feedback that you want the best of both worlds."

Microsoft also scrapped its plans to let customers ‘trade’ downloaded games online in exchange for money off new titles.

At the major E3 video game conference in June, Sony used the widescale backlash against Microsoft's plans to boost the popularity of its rival PlayStation 4 machine. At Sony's E3 press conference, company executives made it clear that PS4 would place no restrictions on pre-owned sales and wouldn't require daily online authentication – the announcements received a huge applause.

Read the Microsoft statement here

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