All you need to know about Xbox One’s DRM

June 7, 2013 • Gadgets and Gaming

Microsoft unveiled their new gaming console to the world on 21 May, and while not a lot was explained about how the system will work exactly, rumours started to circulate about the console’s heavy use of Digital Rights Management (DRM).

Microsoft's Xbox One console (image: Microsoft)

In a press statement last night, Microsoft aimed to clear the air in regards to what will be possible on the system and what won’t be, and it’s not good news for consumers.

For starters, players on the Xbox One will have to connect their console to the internet once every 24 hours to validate their copies.

“With Xbox One you can game offline for up to 24 hours on your primary console, or one hour if you are logged on to a separate console accessing your library. Offline gaming is not possible after these prescribed times until you re-establish a connection, but you can still watch live TV and enjoy Blu-ray and DVD movies,” Microsoft wrote on their website.

With broadband internet being a bit of a luxury for most people on the African continent, this will pose a serious problem. Microsoft also assumes that every gamer has a broadband connection – which is not true.

“Because every Xbox One owner has a broadband connection…,” the company wrote. Most users do have some form of internet, but to assume it’s a broadband connection could show that they are slightly out of touch.

Players will also be able to build up a library of games, which will then be made available to friends and family. “Your friends and family, your guests and acquaintances get unlimited access to all of your games.  Anyone can play your games on your console–regardless of whether you are logged in or their relationship to you.”

This is done through the fact that the games install from the disc onto the machine, and a digital copy is also created in the cloud. With this, players will be able to log into any console and continue playing – as long as they are connected to the internet and signed in.

When creating a shared library, players can elect up to 10 gamers to share that library with. “Xbox One will enable new forms of access for families. Up to ten members of your family can log in and play from your shared games library on any Xbox One.”

In what is also a slight blow to consumers, is that game trade-ins will still be possible – but only at participating retailers. And while Microsoft won’t charge for this, the retailers might.

“We designed Xbox One so game publishers can enable you to trade in your games at participating retailers.  Microsoft does not charge a platform fee to retailers, publishers, or consumers for enabling transfer of these games.”

“Third party publishers may opt in or out of supporting game resale and may set up business terms or transfer fees with retailers,” Microsoft added.

In what has become common practice, gamers lend their titles to friends to play. This will still be possible, but it can only be given to one friend – with two conditions: “Xbox One is designed so game publishers can enable you to give your disc-based games to your friends. There are no fees charged as part of these transfers. There are two requirements: you can only give them to people who have been on your friends list for at least 30 days and each game can only be given once.”

The response to the newly-announced DRM restrictions has caused an outrage among Xbox players, but Microsoft states that they may change the details at any time.

“As we move into this new generation of games and entertainment, from time to time, Microsoft may change its policies, terms, products and services to reflect modifications and improvements to our services, feedback from customers and our business partners or changes in our business priorities and business models or for other reasons.  We may also cease to offer certain services or products for similar reasons.”

Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor




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