A week after the severe backlash against the Xbox One’s perceived draconian digital rights management (DRM), Microsoft has announced a complete reversal for the system. Now, when Xbox One consoles are released later in the year, they will no longer require a constant Internet connection as previously advertised, and Xbox One owners will be able to use previously owned games with no problem.
“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,” Microsoft president of interactive entertainment business Don Mattrick wrote on Wednesday. “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.”
This news is a major change for the Xbox One’s future. Previously, Microsoft announced that the system carried an “always online” requirement that the Xbox One must connect to the Internet at least once every 24 hours in order to work. If systems failed to check in, users could no longer play any games – even single-player games — until the Xbox One again connected to Microsoft’s servers. The Xbox One also previously had restrictions against used games.
Now, the Xbox One will only require an Internet connection during its initial setup right after purchase. Customers will be able to play offline games without being online, and users will have no problem trading games back and forth or purchasing used games. Previously, Xbox One optical discs were only intended to install new games, but now they will work exactly the same as discs for the current-generation Xbox 360.
Xbox One users will also be able to download new games on release day and play them the same as games on optical disks.
Gaming news site Giant Bomb first broke the news on Wednesday afternoon, announcing that an anonymous source had informed the site of Microsoft’s reversal on the Xbox One’s DRM capabilities. Soon after the Giant Bomb article was published, Microsoft confirmed the news on its website.
Last week, Microsoft touted the Xbox One’s capabilities at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), a yearly trade conference for the video game industry. While Microsoft hoped to show off the Xbox One’s improved graphics and new games, gamers instead trashed the system’s DRM system. Gamers almost unanimously hated the Xbox One’s always-online settings, and Sony’s Playstation 4 was widely touted as the “winner” of E3.
The Xbox One goes on sale later in Q4 2013 for $499.
Eric Brown is an IBTimes reporter who eats far too much pizza. He is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and currently resides in Brooklyn.