Microsoft does an Xbox 180 on Xbox One DRM, always-on policies

Xbox One
But the console will look the same, right?

Microsoft confirmed reports that it's doing an about-face on its used games and "always on" policies for the Xbox One.

"Today I am announcing the following changes to Xbox One and how you can play, share, lend, and resell your games exactly as you do today on Xbox 360," wrote Don Mattrick in an official blog post today.

The Microsoft president of interactive entertainment business went on to say than an internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games.

The system will only require a one-time connection to setup a new Xbox One. After that, gamers are free to play any disc-based game without going online again.

This does away with the much-maligned 24-hour check-in requirement that would have made even offline, disc-based games null and void with a day-long dropped internet connection.

Trading in the trade-in policy

Just as important, Mattrick announced the end of Microsoft's short-lived used games policy that would have banned certain types of trade-ins of disc-based games.

"There will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360," he wrote, noting that games will be required to be in the system now.

Previously, Microsoft set up the Xbox One with a one-time lending policy for disc-based games that would only be possible if the recipient was your friend on Xbox Live for more than 30 days.

Although "downloaded titles cannot be shared or resold," this policy is the same as the one in place on Xbox 360 and PS3 today. Also the same, digitally distributed games will be playable offline.

Microsoft's final about-face regards its original intention to region-lock games. There will be "no regional restrictions," which would have put Xbox One owning importers and travelers in jeopardy outside of Xbox One supported countries.

The downside to these changes

Overshadowed by gamers' pitchfork and torches uproar over Xbox One's used game and "always-on" policies were some novel check-in-required sharing ideas. They are now unsalvageable.

Microsoft's new console was destined to allow gamers to access their entire games library from any Xbox One, including disc-based games.

"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," Microsoft explained earlier this month.

Xbox One was also going to be the first console in which ten members of a broadly defined "family" could log in and play a game bought by one person, further extending this idea of a shared games library.

Both ideas are now unfeasible without 24-hour check-ins, as Xbox chief product officer Marc Whitten told Engadget, "that functionality goes away."

Geez, thanks for the feedback

Microsoft's mea culpa is in direct response to consumers' reactions following E3 last week.

"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," admitted Mattrick.

"I would like to take the opportunity today to thank you for your assistance in helping us to reshape the future of Xbox One."

He noted that consumers like the flexibility they have today with disc-based games and realizes the importance of the freedom to play offline, for any length of time, anywhere in the world.

Sony didn't PlayStation around

More than anyone's feedback, however, Sony's lethal shots at its competitors may have been the drive behind Microsoft's newfound DRM stance.

Revealing a console - the PS4 - that's not only cheaper than the Xbox One but also doesn't require online check ins and supports used games was a huge score for Sony, one that left Microsoft on damage control.

We've reached out to Microsoft for further clarification on its new policies and will provide an update as soon as we have more information.

Matt Swider