Should Microsoft Scrap The Xbox One’s DRM?
The Xbox One releases in November this year, but going by social media not many people care. Microsoft have alienated a lot of fans by announcing that the Xbox One requires an online check-in once every 24 hours. If you can’t connect then you’ll be locked out of important features, such as playing games. Additionally if you want to lend a game to a friend then you need to transfer the game’s rights to them, which means you can’t play it anymore until you have the rights back.
Obviously these features are very unpopular. The online check-in in particular seems very poorly thought out. If you move house and you’re without internet for a few days then you’re stuffed. Or if your internet just drops for a couple of days then you’re locked out of a bunch of the consoles features. You’re at the mercy of your internet connection. Additionally, can Microsoft guarantee the service won’t go down? If the service drops out for a day then you could be stuck sat there. Xbox Live has had issue with outages before, in particular there was an entire holiday season plagued with issues. If that happens again then this Christmas there could be people unable to play their brand new console.
Taking that control away from the user just seems an incredibly poor decision on Microsoft’s part. Furthermore, with Sony’s announcement yesterday that their PS4 has nothing of the sort then they’re left looking pretty stupid. This brings me to think: should they back out?
Why They Should Drop It
Microsoft still have plenty of casual fans locked down. Although this news is sending shockwaves through the community who closely follow games, there are tens of thousands of people who have no idea the restriction exists. Those people will be buying the Xbox One on it’s brand name, regardless. But an overwhelming majority of people who do follow games closely are voicing their intent to support the Playstation 4 instead. Those customers are important as they’re the ones who buy multiple games a year and keep the system supported. By announcing they’re dropping the requirement it shows they’re listening and displays a sense of consumer support that Sony have now gained. If they do that as soon as possible they can earn back some purchases before the console releases in November.
Why They Shouldn’t Drop It
Microsoft however are in a position Sony aren’t in, Sony never expressed a desire for these restrictions in the first place. If Microsoft do backtrack it sends a potentially dangerous message that the consumers have the power to bully Microsoft into doing what they want. It’s important to earn customer trust but if they bend to the will of the public after coming out so strong on the topic it makes them look weak. Every decision announced from now on they’d have to be prepared for the public to band together and demand it be changed. By sticking to their guns they seem confident that they predicted the negative feedback and deemed it acceptable. Microsoft already look like the less unorganised company of the two, when it comes to their vision for the console, they risk losing even more fans if it appears they have no plan.
Whether they keep the restrictions or not, they need to prove themselves between now and November. Right now they’re suffering from a major drop in public support.
Do you think they should keep the features or lose them? Give me a shout on Twitter at @PanelsAndPixels and let me know.