Xbox One Update: Microsoft Backs Down!

Xbox OneI wrote earlier this month about the upcoming Xbox One from Microsoft, the successor to the company’s popular Xbox console.

Its release was controversial because it was to come built-in with some of the most onerous DRM features I’d ever seen: an ‘always on’ connection that required you to ‘phone home’ to Microsoft every 24 hours in order to keep playing your games, and restrictions on loaning or borrowing games.

The Toronto Star, however, is reporting that after two weeks of complaints by online gamers, Microsoft has cavedand removed the most onerous of the restrictions:

“An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games. After a one-time system setup with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc-based game without ever connecting online again. 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.”

It may not be smooth sailing yet for the new Xbox, though—its new built-in Kinect sensor retains the ability to be ‘always on,’ ostensibly to respond to voice commands. And the inclusion of this formerly optional sensor ups the price about $100 from its chief competitor, the PS4.

Still, this is encouraging news. I don’t care much about Xbox—that is the Beloved’s toy, and he is quite happy with the model he has. But I do care about educating media companies of any stripe about DRM and why customers are entitled to use their purchased devices reasonably. So for me, this is a win for customers as a whole.

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