In one of the biggest stories of the year, Microsoft has announced that they are reversing their DRM policies on the Xbox One and that an internet connection will only be required when using the console for the first time and there will be no mandatory 24 hour checkin. After a week that had to feel like months to MS, in large part due to their own attitude coming off as pompous to say the least, the company is now clearly showing that the requirements to enjoy their next-gen platform were simply self-imposed.
Sharing and renting games will now work the same as it did before on the 360, and it is worth noting that Redbox set up a website to poll gamers on their thoughts of the next gen in a thinly-veiled attempt to show that people were pissed off about the Xbox One’s limitations without actually saying it publicly. MS also managed to piss off the military, who I’m sure will be getting large supplies of Xbox Ones pre-setup if possible so an internet connection won’t be required.
Microsoft all but admitting defeat here is a good sign for not only the Xbox One’s future, but the company’s gaming future as a whole because it shows that they are capable of responding in a responsible manner to issues being brought up about their practices. This means that Sony, whose stock surged after the Xbox One was announced without the PS4 even being shown, will have slightly less of an edge going into this holiday season’s console sales war. They’ll still have a big one in the form of a $400 price point vs. a mandatory $500 Xbox One, which also includes an accessory that many gamers presently find needless and MS hasn’t really done much to sell people on it being a must-have.
Fortunately, the Xbox One’s game lineup at E3 was incredible. If exclusives like Sunset Overdrive, Dead Rising 3, and Forza Motorsport 5 live up to their potential, early adopters will have some top-notch games worthy of a lot of their time. A consistent game release schedule would probably serve the company better than having a big launch since that strategy didn’t do much for the Wii U — even with that console having full backwards compatibility, while the Xbox One lacks any. Microsoft gained a lot of lost traction today, and while there’s still a lot of work to be done, this is a giant leap forward for them and it’s impossible to not feel better about the system’s future after today.