In case you missed all the fireworks yesterday, the gaming world shifted again with Microsoft reversing their DRM and online policies. The story developed throughout the day after Patrick Klepek from Giantbomb ran a story about the changes coming to the Xbox One which later Microsoft confirmed.
The rundown is this:
- There is no longer an online requirement.
- You will only have to be connected during the initial setup of the system.
- No more 24 hour “check-ins”.
- Downloaded games will still work whether you are online or not.
- You XB1 disc based games will work in the same manner as your Xbox 360 ones did
- You will be able to trade and loan your discs as you see fit.
- All region locks are gone.
In my opinion this is a huge flip-flop on the part of Microsoft, I expected this somewhere down the line, but not this soon. Along with the public outcry, there had to be some unfavorable preorder numbers or the Jimmy Fallon effect that made this come about so quickly. Either way it’s a win for gamers of all stripes because now we get to focus on the important part, the games.
The ball again is in Sony’s court and I have to wonder if this muffles some of the feel good rhetoric promoted at E3. What if anything will they do to possibly sweeten the pot now that the feature set playing field is even more level.
With all that being said there are still many questions gamers should be asking.
Will gamers now feel “safe” to buy their XB1? There will surely be a PR bump from this mea culpa, but will those new adopters forget the other bits and pieces that they previously weren’t happy about like the always connected Kinect? A friend of mine brought up a great and possibly troubling point in reference to MS’s all seeing eye. He pondered “since the XB1 needs the Kinect to function what happens if it craps out? Does that make your XB1 pretty much useless? How will MS deal with warranties on the peripheral, will they be tied together in some way?”
Also, since they are dropping the proposed plans of reselling your digital titles, how will that impact their digital marketplace? What if anything does that do to the pricing scheme in that realm?
Consumer still have some months before these systems launch, being diligent and asking the companies directly about your concerns will be key in the seemingly ever moving landscape we find ourselves in as next-gen gamers. My suggestion to you is to think with your head, not your heart, and especially with your wallet.