The Xbox One Just Got Way Worse, And It's Our Fault

Microsoft just announced that its much-maligned DRM policies won't look at all like they had originally been described. They're going to more relaxed, sort of like the PS3's. Good news, you say? No. Bad news. The Xbox One just got worse.

But what? Isn't all DRM bad and anti-consumer? No. Often it is, sure. If applied in the ways that gaming culture has been anxious about for the past few weeks, it would be disastrous. But that's not what was really at stake. This was:

These changes will impact some of the scenarios we previously announced for Xbox One. The sharing of games will work as it does today, you will simply share the disc. Downloaded titles cannot be shared or resold. Also, similar to today, playing disc based games will require that the disc be in the tray.


The Vision

Here was the simple vision of the Xbox One, selling and reselling games:

  • Every game you bought, physical or digital, would be tied to your account. This would eliminate current-gen problems like buying a disc, and then being unable to store it or download it from the cloud.
  • Because every single game, physical or digital, would be tied to an account, publishers could create a hub to sell and resell the games digitally. Let's refer to these as "licenses" from here, even though it's a loaded term.
  • Because reselling games would now work through a hub, publishers could make money on resold games.
  • Here is how this makes sense for YOU: New games could then be cheaper. Why? Publishers KNOW that they will not make money on resold games, so they charge more to you, the first buyer. You are paying for others' rights to use your game in the future. If the old system had gone into place, you would likely have seen game prices drop.
  • You also would have started getting a better return on your "used" games — because a licence does not have to be resold at a diminished rate.
  • How do you know that this would have been the case? Because that's exactly what happens on Steam. But wait!, you shout. Steam is CHEAP cheap, and it has crazy sales. We love Steam! Micro$oft is nothing like that. Well, no, it isn't now, but Steam was once $team, too. It was not always popular, and its licensing model was once heavily maligned. Given time, though, it's now the only way almost every PC gamer wants to play games.
  • Sharing games would have worked either by activating your Live account on someone else's Xbox One, or by including them in your 10-person share plan, which would not have been limited to "family.". Details on that had been scarse, but even the strictest limitations (one other person playing any of the shared games from your account) would have been a HUGE improvement over the none that we have now. We don't get that now.
  • The 24-hour check-in would have been necessary for the X1's store, which it is not for Steam, because the physical product (game discs) would still be available. This check-in, literally bytes of data exchanged, would confirm that the games installed were not gaming the system in a convoluted install-here-and-then-go-offline-and-I'll-go-home-and-check-in-and-go-offline-too-and-we'll-both-use-the-game methods.

You would also, as it happens, have been able to share and resell your digitally purchased games. That's a REALLY BIG DEAL. We won't be able to do that now, though. We still have to use the disc for games we buy physically. This is the loss of some of the most future-facing features of the system, things that changed and challenged the traditional limitations of console gaming. We are literally standing in stasis, refusing to move forward, at the behest of those who are loudest and not ready for the future.

The DRM Boogey Man Is So Last Decade

More than anything, the outcry over the Xbox One was a reaction to buzzwords that are easy to distance ourselves from. "Censorship", "retcon", "person who disagrees with Joss Whedon". DRM is right there with any of those for Microsoft's core gaming audience.

The real fear behind DRM on games is the idea that at some point in the future, you'll be told that you are no longer allowed to use the content you'e paid for. It's that you're "allowed" to use anything at all, instead of outright "owning" it. And in the past, shitty DRM has absolutely worked like that. Walmart MP3s and the like have taken their servers offline, stranding file formats and leaving them to die, forgotten.

That is not how DRM, by and large, works today. There is very little risk of any particular format dying off. The dangers, as such, lie in a dropoff of support, or at worst, confiscation. That for whatever reason, Microsoft would tell us to screw ourselves and stop supporting Xbox One games, or kick you, specifically, out.

Fair enough. But compare that to the benefits of DRM. It helps build an ecosystem that is easy and convenient and, most of all, affordable enough to draw customers. That's what Apple did with iTunes and music, and it's what Amazon did with books. The content was just too easy to get and too cheap to bother with pirating it. We could have had that with the Xbox One and games.

Here's a video game example of effective DRM in practice: World of Warcraft, more or less the most popular game of the past decade. WoW, a Massively Multiplayer RPG by Blizzard, is played entirely online — always online, even. Your account is not your property, Blizzard can ban it or remove items from it at its pleasure. Everything is within its right.

And yet, all Blizzard does is run customer support to users who have been hacked (oh, so many are hacked) or who accidentally deleted something or any number of other problems for their accounts. They were even years ahead of the two-factor authentication push, basically giving away authenticators at a loss, with in-game bonuses, just to keep customers from being hacked. Because Blizzard knows that its whole job is keeping its customers coming back for more. And it works. And no one complains.

Our Capacity

Today's news proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the internet has a voice. You're heard, and you can effect change in the things that you care about deeply. It's oddly fitting that the news comes as fan-saved Futurama gets ready to go off the air again. But today also proves how widely that nerd-influence can swing an entire generation of hardware, based solely on the whims of internet jokes based on information that isn't even accurate, and tinfoil fears about worst-case scenarios.

Cheaper games. Easier sharing. The end of discs. The Xbox One would have been just fine despite the chorus of haters, would have been a better system for ignoring them. Microsoft losing its nerve on this isn't just disappointing for the features we lose. It's unfortunate because it shows just how heavy an anchor we can be.

Republished from Gizmodo.


    I think it's PRETTY OPTIMISTIC that Microsoft would be the ones giving us cheaper games in the next generation.

      Optimistic is way too kind for that kind of naive/blind hope.

      People say, "Maybe they could make their games (almost - let's not kid ourselves) as cheap as Steam does!" I guess, not realizing that 1) PC is apparently the primary den of piracy, and 2) Steam's DRM is a one-time-activation affair (with a handful of exceptions) installable on as many machines as you like, not a once-every-day DRM check.

      Massive logic fail. Since when does giving someone a total monopoly on something encourage them to make it cheap? Like... in the history of anything ever? If anything, piracy on the PC is what encourages the lower prices so that price advantage pirates have doesn't seem quite so big.

      I understand what you're trying to say, but your statement doesn't make sense. Microsoft would not the central force dictating the price of games on the X1.

      I believe the references to Valve's Steam service are valid. Valve changed the PC retail market and increased revenue to many publishers. The easiest proof of this is looking at the creation of Games for Windows and Origin. The increased revenue occurred from people choosing to no longer pirate PC games because of the a combination of moral choice and the benefits Steam offered the consumer.

      In short; It took 10 years, but Steam made games cheaper because it increased publisher revenue per unit sold. I agree, it may have been an assumption to say that this change would've happened with the X1 as well, but it was an educated assumption, based on historical fact, from a similar model, with a similar beginning...

      Which is more than I can say for the rest of the assumptions in these comments. =/

        Steam increases publisher revenue per unit sold BECAUSE of the sales. It's not the other way around.

        People procure products looking for a few key things. 1) Quality. 2) Convenience. 3) Price.
        If a pirate is beating you on price, (which they always will, because 0 is unbeatable), you can reduce price to the point where it isn't as important as factors 1 and 2.

        Valve proved this to themselves when they noticed that Russia had amazing piracy levels, but when they did their research and found that localization was a huge issue, they localized - profits soared. People were choosing to pay more than zero for better quality and convenience.

        If anything, piracy - the 'competition' - is what keeps Steam prices low. PC is the home of piracy, after all. If Steam had a monopoly and you had nowhere else to source your games, what incentive would they have to keep prices low? When has a monopoly resulted in consumer-friendly price-drops? Pretty much never.

        If that isn't enough for you, look at the most basic facts. Steam pricing is low. Steam is on PC. PC is the home of piracy. Piracy clearly does not result in higher prices. Take this equation, swap 'piracy' with '2nd hand sales' to look at consoles.

          Piracy can factor retail prices, but your process would mean Steam originally launched with cheaper prices to combat piracy. But they didn't.

          Valve launched Steam with pricing virtually identical (give or take $2-$3) to hard-copy sales. It wasn't until they increased publisher sales units that the digital retail prices began to drop, which was also highly due to digital sales returning 40% more revenue than hard-copy sales. This is where the "wiggle room" appears for the digital retail price to be reduce, by the publishers (in an effort to sell more units).

          Piracy was the reason for the model, but it is NOT the sole reason for the prices.

            Well, if anything, the prices themselves are the reason for the prices. An experiment was performed and it performed exceedingly well. Valve are exceptionally eager to point out their sales data to potential publishers/developers when it comes to the benefits of joining in on the sales.

            And the piracy thing isn't as much a proof for cheap sales as much as it is proof against it being responsible for high prices.

        As i mentioned below however there is one fine point of difference between Steam and MS.

        PC is an *open* platform. PC has a multitude of ways to buy games digitally. Steam got the ball rolling by being cheap to get a massive market share. But thats because it was in direct competition to other avenues at the time. What *keeps* it low is the fact that the PC environment has other ways - GMG, GG, Desura, Origin, etc. to act as a form of market compition.

        Console doesn't have this alternative "markets" on a digital only platform. It's a *closed* platform. You buy your games from MS and MS only. I severely doubt MS would ever allow 3rd party distributors like GOG, Desura and the like on their online shop. So the only "real" competition in that single online environment? Thats right its the *physical* shops which need to compete w/ each other but still needs to compensate for the overhead costs.

          I want to debate this issue further, but you've hit targeted the exact reason I no longer like consoles, and that is that they are a closed platform. So for that reason, I cannot counter-act these points because my ego likes them so much.

          I really dislike closed platforms. I swapped my first iPhone as soon as Samsung released the first Galaxy S, making the jump to Android way back when people were still going "whats Android?" and rolling their noses up at it haha

        There is no real correlation between prices and revenue made by publishers. Otherwise we would be seeing CoD/Mario being sold for $10 each.
        If Xbone users could share games with 10 people, then in the publishers eyes they would be getting 90% less sales.

        What I am trying to say is that Microsoft are pretty damn greedy and especially after the Xbox One stunt, it's particularly difficult to believe they would offer any sort of lower prices.
        "Microsoft would not the central force dictating the price of games on the X1."

        Perhaps not, but they surely get the final say in things? After having people pay X price for so long to the point where it's become the normal, what would stop them from pocketing any extra change instead of passing on the savings?

        Except piracy is not a big problem in the current console generation.
        It exists, sure - but not even at a fraction of the level of pre-steam PC piracy. Console mod-chips are not all the rage like they were in the PSone era.

        You're kind of right though - if you forget piracy as a motivator and look at used game revenue instead. If the publishers are making the additional profit on their used games, that could be the incentive they need to reduce prices over an XBone cloud service.

      Agreed. I doubt Microsoft would cut prices when they are getting away with $110+ for AAA titles. Those who think it would go the way of steam prices are kidding themselves.

      Would be great if they wana stop second hand but
      sell digital cheaper eg $60 to 70 ( better than 90-110 in aus)

      Microsofts past actions have haunted them and hurt them more than all the bad PR. Their conflicting ramblings confused me but anytime I sensed ambiguity I would ask "what would Microsoft want to add this for?" It may be cynical but fair-pricing-for-digital-content they are not, and anti-DRM they are not. As far as I am concerned they will take all they can.

      If CD Projekt RED built and released a console with every feature the Xbox One was going to have I would buy it. Not because I am a fan of theirs (I haven't played any of their games) but I feel I could trust them based on their current stance and past actions. If they said "always-online is needed for cool features" or "game sharing across accounts is way better now", etc.. I would believe it.

      Microsoft simply did not realise how little we trusted them and the policy reversal is them acknowledging it and changing to a model that requires us to trust them less.

      Optimistic is a good word for it. But what the article is saying that this system is a good compromise between corporation and people. Because they profit off all of it and we get buy cheaper and cheaper games. That's what's implied by comparing it to Steam. Steam capilizes off every thing they sell. There's no undercutting them, yet, consumers get great games at great prices still. In other words, they manage to make profit on street level tactics.

    You can't have your cake and eat it too! People are never happy with one thing and then when a change is made they complain more...


      To many narrow minded people with no vision for the future.

        Or too many people with good memories.

        It is one thing to hope for the best when change comes, but to turn a blind eye on the past actions of a company when considering its plans for the future is foolish.

      Why does it keep being compared to iTunes, as well? You can still buy songs on CDs and share them around, that's not killing the industry either!

    This is exactly how I felt when I read this.... Fuck whinging gamers....

    Oh yay a hardware update....

    PC for me now.

      Because it's not like Windows update doesn't ever interrupt gameplay and require 3 resets in a row.

        You're aware that you can set windows updates to manual, right ?
        To do them when you're not currently playing a game or doing some work, right ?
        Right ?

    Nope, whichever way you look at it the original XBox plan was a turd sandwich. Totally useless to travellers, ex-pats and the military; useless to those in regional areas with poor connectivity. Lose access to your games if the Microsoft Servers go down; lose access to your games if you refuse to download a faulty system update which is bricking systems (as Sony recently had); lose access to your games if Microsoft suspends you from their online service. And anyone who actually thought the result of all this was going to be cheaper games was simply not paying attention to anything the big publishers have done in the last five years.

    What MS was offering was some kind of service, sure. But it wasn't a product the existing console market wanted, and it wasn't aiming to grow that market to new consumers who wanted these features, and it wasn't remotely competitive with Steam, and so I don't know in what possible world MS thought this was a product worth launching.

    I think Microsoft could have sold the positives better (I was personally behind them and I'm disappointed that they've backtracked) but at the end of the day, people don't really want change or innovation, they want comfortable and accessible.

    The see things like "online authentication" or "DRM" and think "Diablo 3" or "Sim City" and think that their rights are being taken away instead of the service allowing them to access unprecedented flexibility.

    No, the service is not suitable for everyone, such as people in areas with unreliable internet access - and it sucked a little bit that without online authentication even a single-player game with the disc in the tray would not work.

    But we can either have the future or we can have a shiner version of now.

    The masses have spoken.

      I'd disagree with people /not wanting/ change or innovation, people definitely wouldn't mind it if it didn't shit all over your freedom to play your games (or lend them to others) as you choose. I don't want bullshit FORCED on me, like the DRM that the author here moans so much about. I'm perfectly happy with a disc in the tray, so long as I don't have to call home every 24 hours. If Microsoft truly wanted to offer what you call unprecedented flexibility, I should think Steam, rather than the Microsoft pitch, is the model you're looking for. And that wouldn't be considered innovation on Microsoft's part, since Steam has already done it.

      But DRM = punishing the customer, there's no two ways about it. Even Steam, as fantastic a platform as it is, is still a form of DRM. But checking in every 24 hours? That's EA level stupid, and Microsoft should have seen it coming.

      Now I'd like to see them eat more humble pie and backtrack on that shitty Kinect deal as well, because as far as I'm concerned, Orwell is still spinning in his grave over that one.

      As you conclude, you seem to be of the stance that change has to be now, and it has to be the way that most benefits the makers, not the consumers. Change the priorities there and we can truly talk about the future.

      I don't want to be a slave to my technology, rather I want it to work well for me.

      people don't really want change or innovation, they want comfortable and accessible.

      They want both. They want innovation to be accessed from comfort, not forced to adapt to a new way that is discomforting for them at first. I can understand that.

        Gamers like the idea of innovation until they are face to face with it, then it just becomes too much

          That's because it's often delivered in a way that requires more faith than gamers are willing to give. The Xbox One is the perfect example of this; we can see the benefits, we're not dumb, but you're asking us to give up too much for something we're not even sure enough about yet.

          It's a bit of a cliche, but Steam nails innovation perfectly, finding compromise between what the gamers are comfortable with, and what the company is willing to try.

      It isn't simply a choice between having rights and having innovation (etc). You can have rights AND have innovation- just look at indie games. They can be very innovative, and you still own them. See? And why exactly do you feel the need to lose your rights at all? Think about it- do you really really want to no longer own the things you buy? Why lose that? Why lose your privacy? If a thing is shiny enough, do you feel that you're less of a person, or that you SHOULD be? This is all about respecting YOU- and you champion the people who attack you? Really? Meanwhile, I'm on my constantly-innovating PC, owning everything (yep I avoid the people who pioneered these sorts of attacks, and they did it on PC first), and having fun. And I still respect MYSELF just as much as I ever did. I haven't lost anything, why should you?

        I've already expended my quota of explaining to people why they don't actually own the video games they have on their discs/hard drives for this decade, and really don't have the time, energy or inclination to go into it again. The point is that the publishers that have licensed you to use the software can revoke that time whenever they like. Reselling used games is not a consumer right, it is a privilege extended by the fact that up until now, the tech to revoke the ability to trade/sell used games hasn't existed. It does now.

        What Microsoft proposed to remove was the ability to resell/lend out a disc. They gave us the ability to share the game with up to ten "family members".

        Which they now can't do because it requires authentication, which people are opposed to. Also, people like paying less for used games, even though companies like EA and Ubisoft instate a one-time code system that lock away part of the content unless you're a first-time buyer or pay an access fee, so you can use the content on the disc.

        How much of your game do you own? Only what EA says you can own, apparently. Enjoy your freedom while it lasts, I guess. Apparently Steam is going to start letting you lend out your games like the Xbox One was going to, except for some reason PC gamers think it's a great idea! Want to place bets on whether you'll lose your offline mode when that happens?

        Last edited 20/06/13 3:16 pm

          And people got tired of explaining it to you that they DO own the products on that disk.

            Actually, you were the only person disagreeing with me, and we ultimately determined we weren't arguing the same thing. Ownership of a CD/DVD is not the same as owning the content, you were arguing you had an implied right to transfer the license by selling the disc.

            Quicktooth up there thinks he owns his Steam games. There is no disc to be transferred and Steam doesn't currently allow the trading of licenses. So what does he own? Access to a game that vanishes when/if Steam says so, or if they ever cease operations.

            Last edited 20/06/13 9:44 pm

              When you have a compartmentalized game on a disk or cartridge, it is yours. Like a Blu Ray movie, it is recognized to be a legal copy, which has value. You could sell it for money. It is an asset. The video game or movie company cannot suddenly decide to recall all copies and suddenly obtain them all, as they would need your permission to break into your house and take your property. They own the IP, so you can't go out and legally say that you invented the Avengers or made the film... but you can watch the movie as much as you want.

              The same is true for a lot of Steam games. I just disconnected my router and loaded up "Evil Genius" which I bought for a few dollars on Steam. Now say I back up my hard drive... if I so choose, I can always play it. It doesn't matter if the Steam servers vanish. I could even sell my computer or my Steam account to someone else because it has quantifiable value.

              Again with the Avengers Blu Ray. I buy it. I decide to sell it to my friend for $15. Is that not my right? Is it illegal? If I did it in a police station, would they charge me? If I did it in front of any of the studio heads or Marvel Comics or anyone in the world, could they legally stop me? What then happens if I then decide to pull the same stunt in a police station, except lend a game to a dozen of my different friends... instead of Microsoft's new proposed arbitrary number of "10"?

              When you buy a movie ticket... you don't "own" the movie at all. That contract is for just you, just then. When you get a subscription to a service like Pay TV, it is just for that period... but you could watch it alone or with a group of friends. And that's exactly what it's like. In the black and white world of console gaming where you either own a game or you don't, Microsoft introduced a grey.

              I see a lot of rubbish about people who oppose DRM are not ready for the future. By giving freedom while taking it away... it is just another shade of grey.

                Thought experiment: I buy a game on Steam but haven't downloaded it. The next day, Ste closes down forever. Where's my game? What do I own? You can say "well I can play this game that's on my hard drive" but technically if you were banned from Steam you would lose that right. Sure, there's workarounds to make games work without steam but that's like me saying I'm not banned from a nightclub if my friend sneaks me in through the fire exit.

                What you are allowed to do and what you technically *can* do are two different things.

                  Well that's like saying you buy a car but when you go to pick it up, the car yard has closed down. The transaction hasn't been completed. You could probably legally recoup your money through your financial institution. In the nightclub scenario, the games would be like the drinks. In the Steam nightclub you may get banned, but you should still be able to walk out with your drinks even if you couldn't buy anymore. For the same nightclub scenario in the Xbone's case(prior to the 180 stance)... if you didn't check with the bouncer periodically, you'd have to throw your drinks up in a bucket and gtfo empty handed. In both of these cases however, ownership becomes a grey area, but I think since you've paid for them, you are legally entitled to have them. It's interesting but all online DRM is quite a grey area I think. With the case of disk/cart based gaming, it's like putting the drinks in your bag or car... which the nightclub really can't do anything about either physically or legally... since you've legitimately paid for them and taken it out of their area of control. The nightclub scenario is quite a good one... in that you could imagine Steam, the PS4, and the Xbone as 3 separate ones. Steam only does drinks on tap(digital), the PS4 does tap and bottled, the prior Xbone only does tap, but you need to check in regularly to make sure you've paid for those drinks and are not giving them to friends. People go to different clubs based on their personal tastes, some ppl don't mind about checking in, some ppl do mind a lot. And even after the change of policy, it's mainly from noticing that they weren't selling drinks rather than listening to customers complain about their police state policies. Likewise, even after the policy is changed... some ppl have a bad experience so don't want to go back, some ppl are interested in trying, and some have already gone to the PS4 one and have run out of money. Now it's just a wait and see.

                  No one gets to keep their drinks when they're thrown out of a nightclub. The bouncers grab you and throw you out. No bar/clu/lounge anywhere allows you to leave the licensed premises with an open alcohol container. If you're not done "drinking" (i.e.: you haven't downloaded your game), then that's it. You're not going to get refunded. You can stand outside wish you had your beer, but you can't access it except by subverting the rules. If the bouncers don't see you, you can sneak back in and finish your beer, but that doesn't mean you're following the rules.

                  The nightclub analogy is an unexpectedly good one because it seems to illustrate my point perfectly.

                  Many people prefer to buy closed containers (or discs) from liquor stores (retail stores) because it's cheaper, they can shop competively, and enjoy their drinks at their leisure and under the conditions of their choosing. All digital content is on tap, the only "bottles" are physical discs you buy from a retail store. The difference is, it's a bottomless bottle that never empties so you can sell it to your friend and he can enjoy it as well, as long as he doesn't care that you've already had your mouth on it. The analogy breaks down a little bit since there's generally no wear and tear or depreciation on digital content, like there is with physical items.

                  Since there's no magic bottles that can infinitely refill in real life there's no real equivalent to a game disc you can sell and enjoy over and over again.

                  Here's another question: every last Xbox 360 in the world is dead and cannot be repaired. You have a Halo 3 disc. You have every right to play the game you own, but can't. Does Bungie owe you a refund? Does Microsoft owe you compensation?

          "Licences" are only just now in the last few years being tested in courts, and so far the only place holding the word license as a valid term is american courtrooms, in europe "permanent licences" ie Cd's, DVD's, Games are a form of sale and are classed as a transferal of ownership of the license, in turn allowing you to resell them at your leisure. This is not to be confused with copyright laws.

      So you are saying that it'd be ok if a somewhat important group of people simply could not play with the console or was badly limited, as long as the rest of people would get an improved experience?

        Yes, absolutely. Sucks for the people that miss out, but sometimes that's just how it is. Just like all the people who can't afford the console. They have to wait until the circumstances are right for them (I.e.: when it's cheaper).

          Whoa, while that was all sort of douchey ("I don't care how many of you get screwed as long as /I/ get more privileges") that wasn't what I was aiming for.

          My point is that Microsoft is a business. Catering to a few elite is poor business, unless each of them is willing to pay the share that the unwashed masses would pay in total, which is not going to happen. Maximising one's market share and putting the product into as many consumers' hands as possible is how this game is played, and that's exactly what they are trying to recapture with these measures.

            You've got it backwards. Microsoft was catering to a majority, while a niche market is left out in the cold. It sucks for them, but not everyone can be catered to when you're trying to drive technology forward. Some people just get left behind.

              If that were true and they knew it, there would have been no reversal. This reversal is not a PR move, it is a business move to make more money. Did you ever see that map with the world availability of the XBone vs the PS4 for launch day? You really cannot call that a majority. Even seasoned Microsoft fans were threatening of walking away, or worse, walking into Sony's own offer because they felt disgruntled or alienated about those policies. MS made a bold move, that yes benefited some, but apparently, not as many as they thought.

              When one does have unlimited, reliable, super-fast and cheap Internet 24/7, it is difficult to imagine that some else doesn't, let alone thousands. That doesn't stop it from making a reality.

    you shouldn't have to be online to play your own games, the sharing was cool, but the trade off was horrible. Nothing on the Kinect constantly spying on you?

      Except you can deactivate it and stop it from doing so?

        lol yeh after they heard of people cry about it then change their policy on the kinect

        If you can do that, then why can't you pull the plug on it? Face it. There is no guarantee the thing is 100% deactivated. It is just PR spin.

          They want it present to compel you to use it, and have it be ready to use at a moment's notice. It would be pretty terrible if it was left unplugged or even kept away where it was out of sight, out of mind.

          I don't use my Kinect and I unplugged it long ago because it was causing my Xbox to lag on startup. But if the new Xbox gives me reasons to actually use it, then I will.

          There is no guarantee the thing is 100% deactivated. It is just PR spin.
          Heres an idea - turn the damn thing around - let it spy on a wall.... SO HARD!

          Apparently the kinect only listened for the words"Xbox On", but I get where people are coming from to do with privacy.

          The real loss is now we wont have shared game libraries with 10 of our friends. That was a selling point for me.

          except privacy laws. Take your tin foil hat off. I can gaurantee you the only information they share will be something like gathered stats of numbers of people watching what, from where and at what times. no video or audio capture.

          What do you honestly think they will do. Record you eating pizza, masturbating and playing Call of Duty at the same time and sell it to sites on the internet?

            I think the concern was what OTHER people would do. People who don't give a shit about laws, like hackers. We've already seen this happening with loopholes exploiting unsecured webcams.

              webcams are ALOT easier to exploit than a kinect. this is tin foil hat shit, thinking youre going to get hacked. put a sock over it.

        If you can't disconnect it, you can't guarantee it will remain de-activated... Ever seen Short Circuit?

        If you can deactivate it, why can't you just disconnect it? Sorry I'm sure this has probably popped up before, but it's got me beat and I haven't seen an answer yet. Unless you can unplug it altogether, I'm not convinced it's fully deactivated.

          They always said "We at Microsoft will not use it to spy on you" it needs to remain on for the NSA.

          Microsoft aren't really bothered at all.

      Even when it's on it doesn't spy on you?? are you retarded? or do you just beleive everything Sony Fanboys crap out?

      I find the Kinect complaint is pretty nit-picky. For one thing, you can turn it off. Also, laptops, phones, tablets, and many PC monitors have had cameras pointed at your face and almost always online for about a decade, and no-one is whinging about that.

        MS tells us we can turn it off but if you ever say "Xbox on" the console turns on. This means they are not telling the truth at all. If the kinect was actually off then this functionality would never work.

          You can turn that off.

            I haven't come across them saying that. Do you have a source?


              "When the system is off, it’s only listening for the single voice command -- “Xbox On,” and you can even turn that feature off too."

            "Yes, you can turn the system completely off," the Microsoft rep said. "This would use no power and turn everything off. We’ll share more details about how it all works later." I believe this powering off involves the aforementioned power button.

            Dude they're just saying you can turn the console off with the powerbutton. This isn't what people were wanting. They were wanting to power down the kinect device specifically. It doesn't seem to mention that in the article itself.


              Says you can turn off the feature that listens for "Xbox On". If it uses "no power", the Kinect is off.

              "When the system is off, it’s only listening for the single voice command -- “Xbox On,” and you can even turn that feature off too."

                The kinect is still powered up, it has a current running through it. If the kinect was truly 'off' it would not be detected and would be able to be unplugged. Sorry but nup.

                  I've provided my source, where's yours? Microsoft themselves have said that disabling the "Xbox One" command "would use no power" -- in fact you quoted that a few comments ago.

      How is it spying? Do you really think the bandwidth needed for it to send video feed etc back to MS would go unnoticed or that they specifically have staff watching kinect feeds for some nefarious purpose?
      I don't understand why this is an issue? (seriously... not trolling)

        MS were one of the key participants in PRISM. Make no mistake, this thing will be used to spy on people when the NSA asks MS to so. Not really MS fault (the requests are legal), but I'd be hesitant to have any video capture devices in my living room right now.

        The fact that MS has a patent that allows viewing of content (such as movies) to be charged on a per-viewer basis is pretty damn disturbing.

    All of that could happen without a 24 hr check-in. Online check when launching a new game to tie it to your account and everything else would follow.
    To get everybody to stop complaining all MS had to do was come out and say that the RRP on new xbone games is $40. Saying 'oh this stuff you don't like could lead to cheaper games' was never going to fly. There isn't enough trust built up to take it at face value.
    A majority of post I saw of people complaining never trade games, so a single use locked to one account at a much lower price would have been acceptable. But give an rrp not some broad, non accountable statement like this might make things cheaper.

      Yep. If they had of been willing to actually talk about things on this list when they announced the system it may have been better received. They needed a frank and open presentation about how this all works right and why it's good for us and they never delivered it. Instead they tried to downplay the whole thing and act like it was no big deal.

      Last edited 20/06/13 10:34 am

      This is the biggest complaint I have about everyone who's whingeing about how we just 'lost access to the future'. We still could, but they don't wanna, because we wouldn't take their absurd DRM with it.

      The 24hr check-in was bullshit and didn't need to be a part of that future. You check in when you activate a new product, like Steam, and half of peoples' problems are over.

      Better yet, they could've kept the sharing scheme for people who are proving that they're online by purchasing digitally-delivered (discless) copies, to try and ENTICE people to the shiny new future instead of holding a gun to everyone's head and telling us 'this is how it's going to be'.

      But noooo. If they can't have their pointless, unnecessary, draconian DRM, you can't have nice things either. It's such passive-aggressive bullshit.

      Yeah. Did you see some of the one-on-one interviews with the Xbox higher ups? Every time they got asked about the DRM features, they totally went quiet and basically just repeated the same line, and now they are back tracking because they have realised people won't buy their console. Maybe they shouldn't have been so quiet about it..........

        That's exactly it. If they had the vision and had of just come out and said yes it will check in every 24 hrs but this is so you can play without the disc and still have the ability to share games.
        To try and sell the vision with details rather than a grandiose 'it will be a brave new world' spin. The fact they wouldn't answer made most people think it was actual worse they what we being said

          The fact they wouldn't answer made most people think it was actual worse they what we being said

          Well to be fair most of the pro-XBOX One stuff we're hearing now is speculation backed by little trickles of info. Even if only half of this stuff was true it would have put the XBOX One in a dominant position, but the fact they didn't play any of it up would indicate that there's either barely any truth to it or there are unforeseen conditions that come with it.
          The majority of the responses from Microsoft were vague mutterings about the Cloud, even though all this stuff indicates they had like fifty aces up their sleeves. If you had to justify the 24 hour check-in and you had pages of cool and useful features to list off, you wouldn't just say 'we want developers to be able to Cloud... and we're all connected... maybe more power?'.

    All the shininess could still be offered for digital games, and just treat disc games the same as they always did. If you're buying a game on a disc, you probably want it to work the same way it always did. Otherwise you're probably fine with the always-online DRM stuff.

    Like I said in the other article:

    There are better ways to move forward than to accept Microsoft as our unconditional Corporate overlords. For instance they could have easily made offline profiles that work this way and online profiles that work the other. They could have made putting the disc in over-ride the DRM. All the positives are still totally possible. There's a lot of ways to go about what Microsoft were attempting and they chose poorly.
    Early adaption of new tech is great but you can't just take whatever is on the table because it's closer to what you want.

    There was some good stuff that got lost but at the end of the day it's worth it. Even if only to put the fear of god into them. Their belief when they pitched it was that we could be strongarmed into it, they intentionally jumped the gun to get ahead of the competition, now they know why that's a bad idea. Now they know the particular points we're not willing to concede and their next attempt will fit that better. They're not going to give up on this because industry experts are always going to tell them the current/conservative model will be dead in two years, so think of this as a negotiation to ensure that when we do get these features we get them properly and far closer to our terms than theirs.
    This offer had some cool stuff in it but it was 100% for their benefit. This was the offer you walk away from the table over. After this expect their next offer to over compensate towards our benefit to bring us back, and they'll work towards theirs after the system has been established.

    Self-entitled gamers do not see how the DRM meant only 21 countries could play the Xbone when it's launched and limiting their market to the US and parts of EU and virtually alienate Asia. This article is rubbish and shitaku again shows how out of touch they are to the average gamer.

    Kyle: Word of advice typing STUFF IN CAPS does NOT make it FACT. Sorry but this article is just ten different levels of whining and whinging all on its own. DRM is not 'last years boogeyman', tell me about, please, how DRM protects anyone except pirates?

    Oh and Kyle, this really is just a little infantile rant of an article, its condescending, insulting and rather rude to anyone and everyone here on Kotaku. :)

    Last edited 20/06/13 10:23 am

      You mean SonyTaku right???

        Fail to see how its Sonytaku given the absolute adoration for the 360 here?

      Yesterday you were going to be able to buy a game and share it with 10 friends who could all play it - as long as nobody else was playing that 'copy'.

      Today, you can only do that via giving them the physical disk.

      Kylie fails at articulation, not point.

      That being said, changing it to how they have is basically passive aggressive. They could made it 24 hours IF you want to share and no online if you don't use that feature.

        Now you can share that disk with 11 friends :P

          And the friend you just met at the Mana Bar but haven't added to your friends list yet.

      Well to be fair to Kyle he was writing for those gizmodo people, and we all know what they are like ;)

        It's also a US article so it doesnt take into account some of the "features" won't really be working for us anyway =P

    They can still do that stuff with digital games.

    But they shouldn't have messed with disc based games, and a required internet connection for single player games should be seen as ridiculous because it is.

      Yep, agreed. My major issue with the XBone all along was that they were trying to force the limitations and restrictions of digital distribution onto physical. If they want to use their new DRM model for digital distribution and keep the traditional model for physical that'd be fine with me. And it would have provided an option for those people (both of them :P) who liked the new model.

      But if they're just going to stick with a single system, then they've made the right call by going back to the traditional one. If they'd kept going down the track they were on they'd have faced an absolute wipeout at the hands of the PS4.

        I would have been interesting to see what would have happened sales-wise had they stuck to the original plan.

    I dislike that anyone who had issues with microsoft's policies are now somehow backwards Luddites who want to live in caves, according to this article and the comments above.

      Yep, its insulting that the author is so stupid as to label us; the people with brains who don't want to be saddled with needless unwarranted DRM and other restrictions "Just because", as whingers simply because he lacks the mental capacity to fully understand what hes even driveling about.

      I swear almost every single article on Kotaku i read ranges from lazy bare bones pathetic, making no sense, to crying about some imagined racism or sexist problem or flat out insulting the readers with an ounce of intelligence and then the comments are just as ignorant. I'm honestly flabbergasted.

    My modem died last Tuesday. After organising a new modem to be delivered I recieved it yesterday only to find that its not the modem but something else. A technician is coming out next Tuesday to address the issue. So that's 2 weeks so far with no internet at home besides my phone. I've taken into account that it is also quite possible that it won't get fixed next Tuesday. But hey, that doesn't bother me because I have Steam offline mode. Why would anyone like the idea of a 24hour check? I sure as hell don't.

      The checkin was kilobytes and the console has built in wireless - tether to your phone for 5 minutes and you are done - providing you have that capability :)
      I understand the no internet issue - I have had issues for 3 months (with 300+ disconnections) but for the ease of having my entire library digital and able to be shared I would've been happy. It's more a case that technology today is demanding that our internet infrastructure is brought up to speed.
      I know I can still buy digitally but the benefit of being able to purchase games at the cheaper retail price (like Ozgameshop) and play them straight from the HDD like a digital purchase was a huge benefit I thought.

    Why weren't articles like this prevalent before they changed their mind. I was not a MS hater, but will fully admit that I did not understand a lot of their features as described above. And I have read a lot of articles on these consoles. MS clearly failed in getting this information to me.

    You, sir, should have been in charge of MS public relations.

    I don't see why they can't be extra features for having Xbox GOLD.

    WoW was a bad example, Private Servers are a big thing and have been for a long time. Lots of people playing on them...for free.....because there is no DRM on WoW....

      Yep we had a private server going for around 2 years. Only 1 legitimate account that would 'harvest' patches and information etc. Then apply it to the private server. WOrked amazingly well. All updates as they rolled out, all gameplay elements etc. We even had the ability to ride flying mounts across Azeroth before the official servers did lol (kinda broke the game but oh well, it was fun)

        Private servers tend to be way more fun with all of the awesome custom content, plus it was really easy to make custom items/monsters/bosses when servers used to run on SQL databases, just use a creation tool on the net and run it as a batch file on a front end. Good times. xD

        OT: As Ambrew said, comparing an MMO to a Single Player experience is stupid. You expect an MMO to be on, as it's designed for you to connect to other people to enhance your experience, to complete content, whereas when playing single player, you're not connecting to another player(or players), nor are worlds usually persistant, no need for it to be Single Player other than to stop games from being 'pirated'.

      Also the fact that WoW is a MMO and being compared to single player gaming. Just because its probabily the biggest game of the decade doesn't mean every other single game created should work the same way. Its bad on the industry. Sure I love the support Blizzard gives its consumers but I truely doubt M$ could deliver a service anywhere near that standard.

        Yeah. Just because WoW is always-online doesn't mean Skyrim should've been. It's very annoying that people can't grasp this.

    What exactly is stopping Microsoft enabling download trades? It seems like they've made an arbitrary decision to disable sharing of downloaded games simply as a slap in the face to the people who argued for a more inclusive next generation of Xbox.

    Every user that wrote a comment on every website/blog/forum saying "This is BS, not getting an xbox now, only getting a PS4 now" or along those similar lines, better fucking buy an XBOX 1 now. Cause you're the sole reason this shit is now in place.

    Yet to read a comment yet that says, thank you Microsoft for listening to me, I'll repay the favour by buying your console now.

    Last edited 20/06/13 10:36 am

      Oh no Markymark! If we don't are you gonna 'fuckin beat us up'???????

      I'm going to be honest here. I'll buy one eventually, but I'm in no hurry. They tried to bring all this sneaky shit in, and they only changed their minds when the preorder data came back. Rumour has it that at game stop it was 17 PS4's for every xbone. They didn't change it because they were listening to me personally.


        Honestly the change is a *good* thing. While I won't be grabbing XBone off the bat at least its now on my radar. Before the anouncement I wouldn't have touched it. And neither would my co-workers who don't play per se but have their own kids who do play when they found out about the restrictions =/

      I actually jut posted on my facebook page that I will get one now, eventually (I know that might not be any consolation for you, but just in case)

      If it helps, I posted a, "You didn't fix all my problems, and you took away the good with the bad when you could've left it, so now I might buy after PS4, if I have the cash handy."

      Not to mention that if you have two similar products and you want to choose between them, maybe you should choose the one that was friendly to you the entire time, and not automatically switch to (what is still the worse option) who was threatening to fuck you up, then reconsidered when they realized they wouldn't get your money.

      Nothing happens in a vacuum.

    There are better ways that they could have implemented their vision, but yes, it is a shame they have caved to short-sighted gamers.

    Now they don't even have their vision to sell to gamers. Only inferior more expensive hardware and a camera which still hasn't proved that it can add to gameplay.

    "Publishers KNOW that they will not make money on resold games, so they charge more to you, the first buyer."

    Bwa ha ha ha ha. Yeah right. Even MS kept the same RRP.

      Yep. Those games were never going to get cheaper. The extra money they were going to reap from used game sales was going straight into the pockets of MS and the publishers, little if any was going to go to developers and absolutely none was going to come to consumers in the form of cheaper games.

        That's exactly right. A lot of people claim that you support developers by buying first hand games.

        That is a load of rubbish as it is the publisher that gets the lion's share and even if the game sells well the publisher can discard the developer on a whim because they the publisher can!

      I *love* how *EVERYONE* who defends the online only/non sharing is always quick to jump to the assumption that games prices will drop and quote Steam straight away..

      Forgetting the fact that Steam gets away w/ it because PC is an *OPEN* platform. There are *many* ways to purchase games digitally on Steam - GOG, GMG, GamersGate, Desura, Origin, etc. all available online on your PC. Competition is what lowers the costs.

      Consoles are a *CLOSED* platform. Are you really going to think MS is going to let other vendors start up their own "virtual service/shop" on MS Live'? No you will buy all digital stuff via MS thats *it*. Your only "competition" is *surprise!* the physical shops which will *still* charge at a higher rate due to overhead costs!

    Ok, let's go through this bit by bit shall we?

    Every game you bought, physical or digital, would be tied to your account. This would eliminate current-gen problems like buying a disc, and then being unable to store it or download it from the cloud.
    I never saw buying a disc as a problem. As for downloading it from the cloud, that would still be possible if Microsoft worked a better idea into how it is implemented.

    Because every single game, physical or digital, would be tied to an account, publishers could create a hub to sell and resell the games digitally. Let’s refer to these as “licenses” from here, even though it’s a loaded term.
    There was no mention of a "hub" ever being on the cards. Working on some magical future assumption.

    Because reselling games would now work through a hub, publishers could make money on resold games.
    Once again, where is this magical hub you speak of? No one ever had this idea, nor would they.

    Here is how this makes sense for YOU: New games could then be cheaper. Why? Publishers KNOW that they will not make money on resold games, so they charge more to you, the first buyer. You are paying for others’ rights to use your game in the future. If the old system had gone into place, you would likely have seen game prices drop.
    Microsoft and publishers could already be doing this on Xbox Live now with the 360, but the FACT remains that online titles are more expensive than their physical medium counterparts.

    You also would have started getting a better return on your “used” games — because a licence does not have to be resold at a diminished rate.
    Ummm no. Everything deminishes in value, especially games.

    How do you know that this would have been the case? Because that’s exactly what happens on Steam. But wait!, you shout. Steam is CHEAP cheap, and it has crazy sales. We love Steam! Micro$oft is nothing like that. Well, no, it isn’t now, but Steam was once $team, too. It was not always popular, and its licensing model was once heavily maligned. Given time, though, it’s now the only way almost every PC gamer wants to play games.
    The part about Steam I'll give credit for, but again, Microsoft can do the "cheap games" thing already if they want, but they didn't and won't.

    Sharing games would have worked either by activating your Live account on someone else’s Xbox One, or by including them in your 10-person share plan, which would not have been limited to “family.”. Details on that had been scarse, but even the strictest limitations (one other person playing any of the shared games from your account) would have been a HUGE improvement over the none that we have now. We don’t get that now.
    Due to scarce details on how this works (do they get full game? demo? timed version?) I won't go into this much. But I was impressed with the idea, we just needed more details in order to be 100% sold on this. Microsoft's PR failed big time on this.

    The 24-hour check-in would have been necessary for the X1′s store, which it is not for Steam, because the physical product (game discs) would still be available. This check-in, literally bytes of data exchanged, would confirm that the games installed were not gaming the system in a convoluted install-here-and-then-go-offline-and-I’ll-go-home-and-check-in-and-go-offline-too-and-we’ll-both-use-the-game methods.
    Wait, what? You make no sense here at all. Xbox One games would still be available via physical mediums too, so why not work with that rather than work against it? Oh wait, you mention this as a means to combat account sharing and piracy right?

    I just wish they had the option for people to still use the original plan if they choose. Everything in my house is always connected, i'm not a paranoid schizophrenic scared of the nsa, and would love the options of sharing titles with 10 friends. I don't care about trading in games or buying second hand titles, I've got every 360 game i've bought and I usually buy them day 1. Whilst not everybody has a stable internet connection, the new plan is great for them, I do however and liked the forward thinking ideas M$ had and wish they could still cater to me.

    Ok, let's play the blame game. MS could not have explained these features any worse in my opinion. The people who stand up on stage and represent them couldn't have come across as being bigger douche bags if they tried. They do not seem like genuine human beings, they seem like corporate a**holes who speak down to gamers like we're (all) a pack of gun-toting, red blooded, sports watching macho men. If they had taken the time to break down the features in the simple way you have above with this article, maybe people wouldn't have been so against them.

    Next we have the mass of gamers who 'made their voices heard'. FFS people, how many of you do not have internet connections? How many of you actually took five minutes to consider both sides of the argument, that these changes might in some ways move the industry forward and create new opportunities? There was no notable group of regular people who took up MS's cause, perhaps because of what they would be up against, but seriously, when you read the article above, it is pretty clear that MS were onto something pretty interesting. Next is the media.

    Would people really care so much if sites like this, IGN, Polygon, and even more tech oriented ones like Gizmodo or the Verge didn't build up all the sensationalist rubbish? I swear there were seemingly endless articles on these sites that just served to get more clicks by stoking the fires beneath angry video gamers everywhere. Where were the articles like this one when it actually mattered? Why bother talking about it now when it's too late? It comes across as a bunch of journos just wanting to squeeze the last bit of juice out of the 'topical story', and strangely enough, many are now turning gamers against the decision, when they were arguing against the alternative up until today. I haven't read any articles that outright support MS for this new change, although there were countless ones against them. Where does the angry horde of gamers get their ideas from, if not sites like Kotaku or IGN? I can't imagine how frustrating it would be for MS people to be reading articles like this one NOW, after the change has been made. What are they supposed to do?

    Finally, the blame can be laid at the feet of Sony, who joyously paraded around their stage dissing the Xbone's policies without showing off any really compelling games. Why do we buy game consoles again? You could see the delight on their faces, as they revelled in their competitor's poorly explained direction. By not going ahead with a similar plan, Sony have singlehandedly kept gaming where it is today, where stores like EB Games make massive profits off used game sales that do not benefit the people who actually made them in the first place. I read articles about Steam apparently looking into lending digital games, which seemed like a direct response to the MS direction. This would improve the DRM existence we all know today, but why should they bother with such ideas now?

    So now the hypetrain for MS has fully come off the tracks. They were damned if they did, and damned if they didn't, but at least they had a new vision for gaming that would take it forward. Of course there were warranted concerns with the new ideas, but as the article above points out, DRM for things like iTunes and Steam don't concern people at all. So hurray, the angry horde can indeed be heard... but then why does this whole situation leave such a sour taste in the mouth?

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