Pre-E3 surprise, Microsoft has finally gotten their stuff together and released pretty much all the details regarding used game DRM and Internet requirements for Xbox One. Some of this stuff doesn’t sound bad, but make no mistake Microsoft is firmly screwing consumers (or would be consumers I suppose).
Here are some of the the details, as posted on Xbox.com, each followed by my thoughts:
A new generation of games with power from the cloud: Because every Xbox One owner has a broadband connection, developers can create massive, persistent worlds that evolve even when you’re not playing.
And yet, not everyone who likes gaming has a broadband connection or even access to a broadband connection. Plenty of rural areas have bad Internet providers with slow speeds and absurd daily allowances and monthly caps. Microsoft obviously doesn’t consider these people worthy of owning their system. And obviously, people never have issues with their ISP resulting in having no Internet connection for a couple of days.
After signing in and installing, you can play any of your games from any Xbox One because a digital copy of your game is stored on your console and in the cloud. So, for example, while you are logged in at your friend’s house, you can play your games.
I would say this is good, because it is, but you’ve been able to do this every generation by simply bringing the physical game with you.
For an optimal experience, we recommend a broadband connection of 1.5Mbps. (For reference, the average global internet connection speed as measured recently by Akamai was 2.9 Mbps). In areas where an Ethernet connection is not available, you can connect using mobile broadband.
Such a joke. Remember when you could play games have a fantastic experience even without an Internet connection?
While a persistent connection is not required, Xbox One is designed to verify if system, application or game updates are needed and to see if you have acquired new games, or resold, traded in, or given your game to a friend. Games that are designed to take advantage of the cloud may require a connection.
And we all know Microsoft is going to push “the infinite power of the cloud” on to as many games and publishers as it can, so you might as well say you’re going to need an always on connection to play games even in single player.
With Xbox One you can game offline for up to 24 hours on your primary console, or one hour if you are logged on to a separate console accessing your library. Offline gaming is not possible after these prescribed times until you re-establish a connection, but you can still watch live TV and enjoy Blu-ray and DVD movies.
Wow, really? Gee, thanks for letting me play my single player game for 24 hours offline Microsoft. Here’s the scenario, your Internet provider has quite an outage, it’s going to take a few days, maybe even a week, to repair. You can’t access that fast Internet you pay over $60 a month for to surf the web on your PC. During this time, you may want to play a game. Too bad, watch TV instead because Microsoft is forcing you to check in every 24 hours. Horrible, horrible, and horrible.
At Xbox, we’ve always believed in a connected world of games and entertainment. With Xbox One, we are planning for a connected future. We can’t wait to show you what’s to come.
I plan on being connected to my PlayStation 4, where I will be able to enjoy my single player games without ever needing an Internet connection.
Buy the way you want—disc or digital—on the same day: You’ll be able to buy disc-based games at traditional retailers or online through Xbox Live, on day of release. Discs will continue to be a great way to install your games quickly.
Will the digital versions be cheaper? No? Then what’s the point?
Your friends and family, your guests and acquaintances get unlimited access to all of your games. Anyone can play your games on your console–regardless of whether you are logged in or their relationship to you.
They present this like it’s some awesome bit of news. I expect people to be able to play games I buy on my own system. This isn’t a selling point or good news.
Xbox One will enable new forms of access for families. Up to ten members of your family can log in and play from your shared games library on any Xbox One. Just like today, a family member can play your copy of Forza Motorsport at a friend’s house. Only now, they will see not just Forza, but all of your shared games. You can always play your games, and any one of your family members can be playing from your shared library at a given time.
The only bit of good news here. Unless there is some sort of family verification method, which I don’t even know what that would be, I see gamers sharing their games with friends for free. That’s good, and I can get behind that. I’ll buy a game, you buy the other, and we’ll share them.
Today, some gamers choose to sell their old disc-based games back for cash and credit. We designed Xbox One so game publishers can enable you to trade in your games at participating retailers. Microsoft does not charge a platform fee to retailers, publishers, or consumers for enabling transfer of these games.
Gee, thanks Microsoft! It’s nice that they’re going to enable publishers to allow you to trade in your game if they so choose. We should be grateful that Microsoft, and the publishers, will jump in bed with GameStop and Best Buy so that gamers can trade in their $60 worthless disc for maybe $15 tops.
This is where Microsoft is screwing consumers. It’s not “some gamers,” it’s A LOT of gamers. Whichever publishers that even allow you the option of trading in your disc are only going to allow you to trade it in for next to nothing at a “participating retailer.” You wanted to sell your game to a friend for $30? Nope, not happening. You wanted to sell your game on Amazon or Ebay, or some other way? Nope, that’s not happening either. Participating retailers only, that way you have no option but get screwed if you want to trade it in.
Xbox One is designed so game publishers can enable you to give your disc-based games to your friends. There are no fees charged as part of these transfers. There are two requirements: you can only give them to people who have been on your friends list for at least 30 days and each game can only be given once.
Again, thanks for nothing! This is opposed to now where I can buy a game and give it away to friend, who can then give it to another friend, and so on. That cycle ends at one now. You’re not going to play it anymore and your buddy can’t afford it? Well, screw that person, that game has no option but to sit on your account until the servers for Xbox One are turned off. Fantastic!
No loaning games, and no renting them. Rejoice gamers, the connected future is almost here!
You can read about Kinect and privacy here as well.
This is absurd. There’s literally no reason to buy any game for Xbox One physically at this point. It’s impossible for you to actually own any game under this system. It’s complete BS that if you purchase a disc and no longer want it that your only course of action is to either let it sit on your shelf or take it to a “participating retailer” for a few dollars. You can’t give it to your buddy, or sell it yourself.
Why even have a disc? Why bother wasting any money burning a disc, getting the cases, wasting the ink and paper for the boxart, and shipping it out? Probably because retailers like GameStop, Best Buy, and Wal-Mart would have little incentive to sell the console if they couldn’t sell the games as well.
Microsoft is going to try and force anyone who wants to buy an Xbox One into a digital, always connected future kicking and screaming. What happens if Microsoft’s magical network of infinitely powerful clouds gets hacked and taken offline like we saw with PSN a couple of years ago? That can mean weeks, or a month, of you not even being able to play a single player game.
What if you’re playing a game that is powered by this magical cloud, and your Internet starts messing up? Your Wi-Fi connection gets spotty and your connection speed slows to a crawl? Will the game be unplayable? Will it be a distorted mess like can happen with OnLive?
It’s clear that Microsoft is less concerned with making a gaming console as they are with controlling your entertainment. “I’m sorry, you paid $60 for that game but you haven’t checked in with our servers in 24 hours, you can’t play that game anymore until you connect again.”
Even if you buy a physical copy, you don’t own it. You’re paying $60 for the privilege of being able to play that single player game. Because it’s powered by clouds, stored on your account, or whatever stupid reason Microsoft has invented for forcing you to sign in once every 24 hours.
No GameFly, no RedBox, no borrowing from a friend. Thanks for nothing Microsoft!
This is all needlessly stupid, and only exists because Microsoft thinks everyone wants to be all digital, always connected, and third party publishers think they are someone entitled to money from the sale of used games.
There’s just so much wrong with all of this. My goodness.
Guess who is still playing his SNES and N64? This guy! Guess who won’t be playing an Xbox One in 20 years. If you guessed “no one will be,” then you guessed correctly.
This image is from NeoGAF, and I think it sums everything up:
Congratulations Microsoft, you’ve just taken my interest level in Xbox One to zero.
This is me…