Xbox One-Eighty: Microsoft Reverses Xbox One’s Online Policies

After the rather loud outcry, Microsoft has reversed their always online requirements and used game sale policies.

In an official blog post on Xbox.com, Don Mattrick came forward and set forth their new policies – which actually upholds their old policies – supporting offline gaming and game rents/resales.

“My team and I have heard directly from many of you, read your comments and listened to your feedback. I would like to take the opportunity today to thank you for your assistance in helping us to reshape the future of Xbox One,” wrote Mattrick.

Here are the new Xbox One requirements/policies:

An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox games
After an initial, one-time setup that requires an online connection, you will be able to play any disc-based game without an online connection again.  In contrast, the previous policy required an online check-in at least once every 24 hours on your own home console, or once every 4 hours on another console.

Game trading, renting, and resales of disc based games same as current gen
Without the requirement of an online check-in, there will no longer be a restriction to verify or to identify the owner of a used game.  As such, you can do whatever you want with your discs, as you can in current generation.

No regional restriction
The Xbox One will not be region locked, allowing game imports and travel.

Disc-based games required to be in tray
Because the online check-ins are no longer required, the previous identity verifications no longer apply. While previously the game only need to be installed to play because it could be verified as yours, now the game will be required to be in the tray while playing. A little more inconvenient, sure, but no different than how things work for the current generation.

This news comes, no doubt, to great applause to those who would have been most affected by the online check-in requirements: active military and on-campus students.  The stationed military often retreat to games to pass the time, but there isn’t exactly a stable high-speed connection at a Middle Eastern forward operating base.  Similarly, students’ online connections are often QoS-restrictred for things like online gaming to maintain even bandwidth for an entire university.  In both cases, the Xbox One would have been nothing but a glorified paperweight after 24 hours, and, up until today, the official Microsoft position was: “Need to play offline? Get a 360!

A few questions come up (yet again) with these new (old) policies: will the family plan still appy (where the game could be played by 10 people in a household no matter where they were)? All of these policies refer to “disc-based” games, so where does this leave us with downloadable games?

Just about all consumers would consider these policy reversals a victory, but what kind of precedent are we setting? BioWare famously caved when the loud outcry of angry gamers dislikes the ending of Mass Effect 3. If the industrial giant Microsoft is not immune to the loud outcry of angry gamers that are notoriously resistant to change (which, statistically, only includes a fraction of the entire gaming populace), then how will it be possible to introduce something truly different? I’m not saying that the console lockdown was a good thing (it wasn’t), but I’ve always been of the opinion that the company has the right to make whatever policy they want. It was my responsibility as the consumer to vote whether or not I supported that policy with my wallet.

Well, we got what we wanted, right?

Written by: Dwight Tejano

Dwight is the founder of Open the Fridge, which he started in 2008 and rebooted in 2010. Due to the nature of early adopting, his bank account is normally empty. He likes to sing in world-renown choruses to forget such things.

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