Surprise Xbox One DRM Reversal Requires Day One Patch, Cuts Features

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."


    Why cant they keep the "features" just remove the online check and used game DRM, build in the ability to use offline profiles like steam does and you wont have an issue.

    And as for the disk needed gaming, its about options not familiarity, we didnt want to get trapped having to pay what ever extortionist amount MS/Devs demanded of us, i like being able to shop around till i find the cheapest option be it digital or brick and morter.

    Last edited 20/06/13 8:50 am

      The features are based on having that locked down system where the disc is only transport for data and not freely tradable... I wish they had stuck to a licence system that allowed discless play while connected.

        Exactly what i was saying, they should allow these features for people who wish to remain using always online, via licences or accounts, but provide the option of an offline mode where i can still play my games on my friends xbone without having to install and download them, i think most people would have been more accepting if it was a choice.

        I'm guessing its because the 24 hour checkin-in was there as a security feature to make sure the diskless gaming and family sharing features weren't being exploited.

        Maybe there's a way they could've kept the two without the 24 hour requirement and used some other method of security who knows...

        It's disappointing but I find it interesting seeing all the people who have suddenly come out saying that they didn't mind the check-in requirement and are disappointed to see all the new sharing features go.

        How about a license system that allows disc-less play while NOT connected. You know, like they do with all their other products - Windows, Office, etc., etc

          That system doesn't allow you to resell your license or trade it in. If you want trade ins you also need a way for the system to see you no longer own the game otherwise you'd install it then sell it and continue to play the installed version.

        Why not build something along the lines of "If you want these features (discless play, family share, etc) then you have to enable online mode with once in 24 hour check ins, restricted resale of games, etc. If you want to play offline, then you can't install the games and must use a license that is tied to the disc in order to play" model? It sounds like instead of looking for a middle ground that can appeal to both sides (and slowly migrating people to the online digital world idea) they decided to take their ball and go home.

          because family sharing full price games is one thing, but without everyone running the 24 hr checkins, there is no way to know who holds which license, so people might be buying used games at $15, then sharing them to 10 people, which obviously is not sustainable.

            So if they dont run the 24 hour check in then they dont get to be a part of the "circle".

      yeah good point... i don't have to checkin every 12 hours on steam... my profile can sit offline on any number of PC's and be able to play games... i can't earn achievements on systems that are offline but its mainly for my wife... it works... we share my game library... simple

      This is such an odd damage control release. They do not want to admit they were wrong, which allows them to believe that attitudes may change towards the way they want it to work, yet they basically are by backing down.

      This isn't a Steve Jobs "you don't know what you want until we tell you" but it feels like they believe it to be the case. They do not get it.

    hmm, closer to release date im gonna try and earn my self some money, put up posters offering people to use my inet connection for the day one update, $50 each person

      Are you the only one in the village with internet?

      Last edited 20/06/13 9:46 am

        Actually he may well be, when i lived in South Africa only a the most well off of my friends had internet at home and it wasn't fast enough to make online gaming viable

        Well with the amount of people that slammed the idea of needing to be connected to the internet every 24 hours, it would seem rowkack1993 might be the only one with internet.

          or maybe its that people like to take their xboxs with them when they go to places without internet eg holiday house, grandparents farm, work/hotel and they don't want to have to pay excessive data/internet fees to play an hour or two of single player call of duty 10: dog edition.

            I'm sure the 200kb autentication would have killed their monthly data plan.

              Well given that I'm on voda and there reception is terrible I wouldn't be surprised if I had to using Telstra roaming 3g. And they would round up to 1mb probably and charge me $20 for every time I authenticated. People like you you clearly never had to experience using a console away from home will ever get what the rest of us are harping on about. There is probably no point us even explaining our perspective to you guys.

                Boo hiss, I get the annoyance... no point squabbling over it now because they've changed the system anyway.... You can now play xbox one at your cabin in the woods !!!

    Something else for people to whinge about.
    At least Microsoft is giving the online warriors a chance to flex their consumer, or should I say second hand, muscle.
    I hope Microsoft figure out a new way to screw all these people who want to trade games and seem to have difficulty in connecting to the internet, while at the same time can complain online every day.

    I'd love to think it's regular gamers who prompted this change but the loosening of region restrictions and the timing suggest it's the US military backlash that tipped the cart. Still, a win is a win.

    Does anyone else feel like its almost a childish reaction? "Well if you don't want online checkins then you can't have anything else! You brought this on yourselves!". I don't see why they couldn't have an offline mode that requires the disc in the tray and leave the rest of the features intact. Major Nelson did harp on about how flexible the system is...

      Exactly what I'm thinking. Keep the DRM for online, e.g. still keep the check-ins for downloaded games etc and therefore allow sharing/reselling, but allow disc-based games to be played offline without DRM as they always have. People with unreliable connections can still be kept happy and there's incentives for the ones who do have good connections to go all digital instead; obviously the sharing, but also potentially cheaper prices etc.

      But in saying that, if it has to be one or the other I'd rather have no DRM, so I am happy to see these restrictions being reversed.

      Last edited 20/06/13 10:30 am

        You can't have no disc needed and no DRM check. It is impossible, all the people who want this are clearly looking to abuse the system and short change the developers. Install a game off line and give to friend to install and this repeats tenfold. Why don't people just admit it and say 'we were worried that with this intelligent 24hr check we weren't going to be able to exploit the X1' This is the issue. Get online with the console or don't bother playing on X1. I will be surprised if anyone in this thread has internet access with the way people bitch.

        Last edited 20/06/13 4:23 pm

          You clearly haven't read any of the very sensible solutions already posted about that inane excuse for the draconic daily-DRM.

    "You’ll have to bring your discs with you to have your games with you."

    OH NO! Nobody had to do that before! Oh boo hoo boo hoo.

      Aaaaaaaand now people are giving Microsoft shit for changing their policy to one that they themselves were whining for.

      Never change, Internet.

      Exactly. Also people are whinging about the loss of family share. Seriously??
      People are amazing sometimes...

    It is a big shame that they did this in order to please the majority, because in doing so, 2 of the best features of the new Xbox are now gone. In return we get region free games, day 1 digital, ect... So it's not all bad, but it is a shame nevertheless.

    The even sadder thing is, the damage is probably already done for a lot of people who have their mind set on a PS4... Hopefully they do gain enough support back for this to be worth it.

    I didn't even know these were features being offered. Maybe they needed to stress this harder as a reason for the tighter DRM, people would have been less opposed.

    I hope there's a way we could choose to stick with the E3 version of XBOX One (maybe just decline the day-one patch?)
    The possibility of playing my XBOX One games on any console (such as at a friend's house) without transporting the disc, and sharing my Xbox Live account with my family were great ideas.

    This would mean the Cloud service is gone too?

    I wouldn't like to see XBOX One turn out to be the same as XBOX 360 with a visual makeover - as it loses it's cool features.

      You can probably decline the patch, but like any other update, you won't be able to connect to Live until you install it.

      And no the cloud service will still be there. Only games that don't rely on the cloud will now be able to work completely offline, so Forza etc will still require an internet connection.

    TY M$ for allowing offline play.. the funny thing is they went to far back...

    Why didnt they just keep the 24hr check-in (which I was one that said I did not want.. but stay with me) so we can use all the features.. but allow it to be offline to.. I.e. use the disc to do the checks that would other wise be made via the servers for the online mode..

    While I did not want to be forced to be online every 24hrs the ideas they had were really good, they just needed to allow people to have the option.. They went to far forward (maybe next gen M$) but now I think they have gone to far back..

    I know its a touchy place (game dev and console dev) and there will always be people unhappy, but at least M$ has listened to what most people wanted.. just wish they were able to find a middle ground :)

      the problem with that is your mate could be offline using the disc to play the game and you could be online using the console install to play the game. If your mate has disconnected his Ethernet cable microsoft would never know and 2 people could play the game at the same time.

        and where is the difference with the 'share games with 10 family members'? they had stated that one family member could play the same game as you at the same time.

        my point is that there is a middle ground they could have taken, and while yes my example was not perfect it was a start of showing the middle ground.

        I do get what your saying though Link, but like I said, my example was not (and was not meant to be) perfect..

    "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.”
    Um. What? Who the hell is going to go to someone else's place and download several games that can be up to 50GB each, and how in the fuck is that a better option than taking a couple of discs over there?

      Yeah I never understood this. Until we have better connections in Australia this isn't even an option.

      Exactly, the internet is shit in my area, and we're not even on the NBN roadmap yet. I'm loving the fact that now if I'm going to a mate's house to have a game, I can take my disc there instead of going in the morning, signing in and downloading the game so it's there in time for that night.

    The way I'd have it is: if there's a version of a game on your console, it should be authenticated via online checks or via the disc the system if you're offline. Simple.

    I guess going "back to the way things are now" is much easier for them than making alterations to the new way they wanted to do things. Maybe some of the sharing/library things will come eventually to Gold members.

    I’m a PC gamer but buy consoles for collection reasons and having valueless data discs on a shelf is what turned me off collecting PC games. So I’m personally happy about the changes, but sad to see it’s going to negatively affect so many people. I had no idea so many people were looking forward to the Xbox One as it was.


    Thanks to internet wankers bitching about stuff (yes, I understand the irony of that statement), we now get lumped with a machine which, I feel, has taken a step BACKWARDS from progress.

    But MS is also the one to blame. They caved to the opinion of the village idiots, instead of trusting in their own vision. A middle ground could have been reached, I'm sure. Now, they've just dragged everybody back to the stone age.

    Last edited 20/06/13 10:52 am

      What the hell man?

      They're doing exactly what Sony is doing. They're withholding features out of spite it would seem, but otherwise, people should be praising that they still listen to the majority (not the 'village idiots' as they so claim).

      Although, with them backtracking on these policies, I can no longer avoid people in my life who make the stupid decision of buying an Xbox One.

    I agree. I was totally looing forward to xbox one. Now not so much. How are consoles suppose to evolve if no-one is willing to upset the naysayers?

    Though so many people should be rejoicing (not me because I was very happy with their policies), it seems as though it has had little to no effect on the obstinate, pugnacious gamers of the internet.

    Haters gonna hate. People are scared of change, even though this sort of innovation was a step forward for gaming.

    I'm happy for the people that this has positively affected, but it appears as though a lot of people have already made up their minds.

    I do hope that there is a way to continue with their original vision. I know both Sony and Microsoft has both said they envision a digital future. I'll cross my fingers but I won't hold my breath. For now at least, everything is the same as always. Awesome, I guess.

    The easy solution: Physical games remain physical, same tradein and DRM policy as now.
    All Digital games (ie downloaded) can be shared and downloaded, but require the 24 hour check to be used.


    Great news, now what about the Kinect?
    Let's not forget about the privacy invasion with the Microsoft NSA relationship,
    as well as no point to being used by Hard Core gamers.

    My friends and I have zero interest in Kinect, if they don't sell it without the Kinect or
    there is no way to play my games without the Kinect connected.
    Well we are simply still not interested.

    Just so you know, the "Family" sharing wasn't what Microsoft was purpoting it to be.

    It was actually a glorified demo mode. The "sharing" was restricted to your family members only being allowed ot play the game for 1 hour before being prompted to buy the game from the marketplace.

    So it's probably a good thing they rolled their DRM back. The shitstorm when everyone found out about the REAL sharing would have been FAR worse.

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