The internet exploded this afternoon as Microsoft announced that they were reversing their DRM decisions for the Xbox One.
Experienced gamers bombarded social media as they shared their numerous opinions on Facebook and Twitter.
This was followed by intense discussions between teen gamers, leaving their parents confused and in the dark. If you’re like a lot of parents, you have no real idea of what this whole mess is about yet. I’m going to take this opportunity to fill everyone in that might be wondering.
Let’s get started; shall we?
First, I want to explain what DRM means. It stands for Digital Rights Management. These are the systems that hardware companies put in place to prevent people from misusing or inappropriately distributing software. (The keys that you enter whenever you install a version of MS Office are a form of DRM.)
Rumors had been flying for more than a year that the next generation of game consoles was going to be very restrictive when it came to used games and offline play. We heard reports from “reliable sources” throughout the process that confirmed all of this, but we didn’t know the details until Microsoft came out two weeks ago and announced their stance.
They put up a post on their blog that indicated that the Xbox One would require that the console be connected to the internet at least once every 24 hours and that the transfer of games from one account to another would require an undisclosed process and a potential fee. The announcement of this process limited the viability of sharing games with friends and family and could have crippled the used market.
Sony responded by announcing that they were making no such changes to the DRM for their games during their 2013 E3 press event. This prompted a massive spike in pre-orders of their Playstation 4 compared to the Xbox One.
Fans, media outlets, and bloggers shouted from their proverbial rooftops about how tone deaf Microsoft was with regards to the needs and desires of their potential customers. The feedback was so loud and so persistent that Microsoft was backed into a corner.
Today, they responded to the public outcry by walking back all of their DRM statements and confirming in a blog post that the game licensing will work for the Xbox One the same way that it does on their current product, the best-selling Xbox 360. People can purchase games, sell them to stores, share them with friends, etc.
This change in plans means a change in the overall market for the consoles.
Both systems being on similar footing in regards to DRM is a good thing right now. The two of them may not be separated by much from a competition standpoint, but this will help consumers (and especially non-gaming parents) make decisions based on what matters: the games.
This has been a very basic breakdown of the timeline for the DRM debacle that has impacted the beginning of this console generation. Check back later this week for further comparisons regarding these two systems and my initial recommendations.
In the meantime, sound off in the comments. I would love to hear what your thoughts are on the topic.