Don Mattrick, President of Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft, took on an apologetic tone while addressing Xbox fans:
“Since unveiling our plans for Xbox One, 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.”
Highlighting the previous restrictions, he added: “You told us how much you loved the flexibility you have today with games delivered on disc. The ability to lend, share, and resell these games at your discretion is of incredible importance to you. Also important to you is the freedom to play offline, for any length of time, anywhere in the world.”
Don Mattrick’s full statement can be read here, but the specifics outlined are:
- An “always-on” Internet connection is no longer required for offline Xbox One games
- Online authentication checks (previously stated to be “every 24 hours”) have been removed
- Disc-based games run as they do on Xbox 360, and so can be freely sold, traded or rented
- Downloadable titles will function offline
- Xbox One games will work on any Xbox One console, implying a region-free system
- A one-time online system activation is required at set-up
This complete reversal of Xbox One policy is likely a direct response to last week’s E3 trade show. Sony managed to garner public favour after it was announced that their new PlayStation 4 console would not only allow used games with no restrictions, but also retail for $100/£75 less than Microsoft’s Xbox One.
The issue has prompted serious discussion from all corners of the industry over the last week. It will be interesting to see where the conversation leads as we head into the new console launches this holiday season.