The Xbox One Just Got Kinda Better, and Kinda Worse

Xbox One

Today Microsoft announced that in response to feedback, the Xbox One is changing its policy for disc-based games. It will no longer require the console to phone home every 24 hours. Games can now also be traded-in, resold or shared.

Don Mattrick, President of Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft:

“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.”

In a few key ways, this will benefit people. For example, people with spotty internet connections are now sorted, and edge-cases like taking your console away on holiday will no longer be a problem.

But there’s also an argument to be made that this takes us further away from a Steam-style store on the Xbox One that was described by this anonymous Microsoft engineer on Pastebin a week ago.

Here’s a piece by Kyle Wagner at Gizmodo on why these changes are bad:

“…compare that to the benefits of DRM. It helps build an ecosystem that is easy and convenient and, most of all, affordable enough to draw customers. That’s what Apple did with iTunes and music, and it’s what Amazon did with books. The content was just too easy to get and too cheap to bother with pirating it. We could have had that with the Xbox One and games.”

I use Steam a lot, and much of the time it is because I can pick up a heavily-discounted game on a whim. I can see myself doing exactly the same thing on a console too.

It’s important to note these announced changes only apply to disc-based games, but who knows what the knock-on effects are behind the scenes with game publishers.

I only hope this change does not affect the vision of making cheap, downloadable games a reality on a console.

Reckoner had its humble beginnings way back in June of 2013.

Founded by James Croft, along with Peter Wells and Anthony Agius they created what would go on to become one of Australia’s most highly regarded and award winning independent tech blogs.

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