Microsoft is backing down from many of the restrictive software policies it had previously outlined for its next-generation console, the Xbox One. An update to the Xbox One website details the almost total reversal of restrictions related to online check-ins, the ability to play games offline, region locking and secondhand sales of games.
In short, Xbox One owners won't be required to check in to the internet every 24 hours to play their games and used games will work on the system as they did on Xbox 360.
"As a result of feedback from the Xbox community, we have changed certain policies for Xbox One," Microsoft wrote on its official web site, saying its previously announced policies were "no longer accurate." Those changes were outlined in a post by Don Mattrick, president of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business.
"An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games."
"An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games," Mattrick wrote. "After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again. There is no 24 hour connection requirement and you can take your Xbox One anywhere you want and play your games, just like on Xbox 360."
"Trade-in, lend, resell, gift, and rent disc based games just like you do today. There will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360."
Mattrick also said that there will be no regional restrictions on Xbox One.
Just prior to E3, Microsoft outlined its policies for Xbox One games, explaining that the console would require an online check-in (at least) every 24 hours to authenticate ownership of video game software. Failing to authenticate game software would render the game unplayable, even for offline, single-player games. Microsoft explained that online requirements for Xbox One games would enable the offloading of certain computations to the cloud.
"There will be no limitations to using and sharing games."
Microsoft also outlined a vague used games policy, saying that restrictions on used games would be left up to publishers. Xbox One owners would be able to transfer game licenses for software to friends, but those transfers had their own limitations.
Consumers reacted angrily to Microsoft's restrictive and confusing policies on Xbox One, rallying behind rival Sony and its next-generation PlayStation. Confusion over Microsoft's Xbox One plans was most recently reflected on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, when the host said the rival PlayStation 4 was the only console that would play used games.
Sony reacted to Microsoft's announced policies at E3, saying the PS4 would not require console owners to check in via the internet and that software could be resold and traded as it was on PlayStation 3. "When a gamer buys a PS4 disc, they have the rights to use that copy of the game, they can trade in the game at retail, sell it to another person, lend it to a friend or keep it forever," said CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America Jack Tretton.
Tretton's announcement was met with a standing ovation from press conference attendees, a mix of fans, journalists, video game developers and Sony employees.
In today's update, Mattrick said Microsoft's earlier policies for Xbox One were designed for new benefits, "such as easier roaming, family sharing, and new ways to try and buy games."
"We believe in the benefits of a connected, digital future," Mattrick wrote. "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."