Microsoft Decides Maybe It Doesn’t Want To Ruin Xbox One, Removes Restrictions

xboxoneproductshotWell that was fast. Not even two weeks after Sony announced its upcoming PS4 gaming console wouldn’t have the insane restrictions on used and resold games that Microsoft had instituted for its new Xbox One device, reports say the boys from Redmond have decided that maybe some of their policies weren’t exactly the greatest ideas.

Initial reports from GiantBomb and WhatHiFi claimed that Microsoft is doing away with the always-online requirement.

Microsoft had previously said that users would need to check in periodically — as frequently as once per day — which means you couldn’t take your device somewhere that didn’t have an Internet connection.

This was particularly annoying to members of the U.S. military who were stationed in places — especially on ships and submarines — without constant access to the the Internet.

GiantBomb says Microsoft is also dropping region locks, so that people can bring their console with them wherever they travel, or again, wherever a service member is stationed.

Microsoft has also reportedly ditched its planned restrictions on trading or loaning games. The rules announced earlier this month said that games could only be resold to participating retailers, and that it was up to the publisher to decide whether a game could be resold.

Even more controversial was the rule about giving away a purchased game. Microsoft had said that users could only give away games to other users who had been on their “friends” list for at least 30 days, and then the game could only be given once.

Microsoft has now updated its Q&A to reflect the new changes, though the language used is still not exactly crystal clear.

For instance, on the issue of trading and reselling games, it just states: “We are designing Xbox One to enable customers to trade in and resell games. We’ll have more details to share later.”

And instead of an explanation about the change of policy on giving away purchased games, the Q&A has just removed that question altogether.

To that end, Microsoft’s Don Mattrick, who angered a lot of customers when he said last week that they could just keep using the Xbox 360 if they didn’t want to always be online, has posted the following explanation:

Last week at E3, the excitement, creativity and future of our industry was on display for a global audience.

For us, the future comes in the form of Xbox One, a system designed to be the best place to play games this year and for many years to come. As is our heritage with Xbox, we designed a system that could take full advantage of advances in technology in order to deliver a breakthrough in game play and entertainment. We imagined a new set of 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.

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.

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.

So, 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. Here is what that means:

An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games – 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.

In addition to buying a disc from a retailer, you can also download games from Xbox Live on day of release. If you choose to download your games, you will be able to play them offline just like you do today. Xbox One games will be playable on any Xbox One console — there will be no regional restrictions.

These changes will impact some of the scenarios we previously announced for Xbox One. The sharing of games will work as it does today, you will simply share the disc. Downloaded titles cannot be shared or resold. Also, similar to today, playing disc based games will require that the disc be in the tray.

We appreciate your passion, support and willingness to challenge the assumptions of digital licensing and connectivity. While we believe that the majority of people will play games online and access the cloud for both games and entertainment, we will give consumers the choice of both physical and digital content. We have listened and we have heard loud and clear from your feedback that you want the best of both worlds.

Thank you again for your candid feedback. Our team remains committed to listening, taking feedback and delivering a great product for you later this year.