You win some, you lose some. In changing its drastic Xbox One DRM policies today, Microsoft will actually be cutting some of the cooler features announced from the console. Everything has a price, folks.
"There’s a few things we won’t be able to deliver as a result of this change," Marc Whitten, VP of Xbox Live told Kotaku, "One of the things we were very excited about was 'wherever we go my games are always with me.' Now, of course your physical games won’t show up that way. The games you bought digitally will. You’ll have to bring your discs with you to have your games with you. Similarly, the sharing library [is something] we won’t be able to deliver at launch."
That means that two features are being cut, at least for now, from the console. Microsoft's concept of having your full game library travel with you is gone. Its offer to let you share games with up to nine other "family" members is gone too.
Those sacrifices are the cost of the new DRM policy that, Whitten says, will give people an Xbox One experience with disc-based games that matches what they had on the Xbox 360. Games won't have to be registered online and players won't have to connect to the Internet in a 24-hour period to play offline disc-based games. "The way to think about it is it works the way it does with 360," Whitten said. "You can give them, loan them, trade them, play them. They will work exactly as they do today."
It's clear that Microsoft was not planning to make these changes. Even though it's June and the console doesn't launch until November, Whitten said that Xbox One consumers will have to download a day-one patch to enable the Xbox One's offline mode. Presumably, without it, the console will still think it's living in the Xbox One era of E3 2013.
Microsoft also announced today a loosening of the Xbox One's region restrictions. "You could buy a console in any country and use it any country," Whitten said. "You can use any disc in that console."
How did Microsoft get their initial plans for the Xbox One so wrong? "We believe a lot in this digital future," Whitten said. "We believe it builds an amazing experience — the ability to have a broader sharing platform and my content coming with me, [but] what we heard is people still wanted more choice… they wanted the familiarity of the physical disc."