Microsoft has just pulled a major U-turn regarding the Xbox One, announcing it will ditch the console's controversial restrictions on used-games and offline usage.
Don Mattrick, President, Interactive Entertainment Business for Microsoft wrote on the the official XBox blog
, "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. 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."
The announcement follows a huge backlash from both consumers and press alike after the company revealed exactly how the console would work at the company's press conference during E3 three weeks ago. In particular, three major restrictions were revealed: users need to check-in online every 24 hours in order to keep games playable, games need to be registered online before being playable, and the lending and sale of second hand games would have restrictions. All these have now been abandoned. The console was also set to be region-locked but this has also now been stopped.
In comparison, the PlayStation 4 - the details of which were revealed only hours later - is set not to have any such restrictions, allowing for gamers to simply treat the device as a traditional offline, dedicated games console, with a second-hand games policy to match. Combined with a lower price than the XBox One, this had lead many to declare the PS4 the 'winner' of the upcoming battle to be the dominant next-gen console. With Microsoft's backtracking, though, the fight becomes considerably closer.
However, there are some downsides to Microsoft's decision. In completely scrapping the digital verification it has also had to scrap some of the positive aspects of a disc-free console. The proposed ability to login on different consoles and access your games has now gone. Gone too is the ability to share games with up to 10 family members.
Fueling the controversy after the E3 announcement, Mattrick later stated that users that required an offline games console could always by an Xbox 360. However, as the uproar not subsiding, his tone was rather more humble today, finishing his blog post with the word "Thank you again for your candid feedback. Our team remains committed to listening, taking feedback and delivering a great product for you later this year."