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Microsoft repeals controversial Xbox One DRM policies [Confirmed]

In a late breaking news story, Microsoft today announced due to feedback from the Xbox and gaming community they have changed “certain policies” regarding their controversial digital-rights management features of the upcoming Xbox One.

The details are listed on the Xbox news site, which is being hammered left and right, resulting in errors when trying to load.

According to the site Giant Bomb, the changes in DRM are the following:

  • No more always online requirement
  • The console no longer has to check in every 24 hours
  • All game discs will work on Xbox One as they do on Xbox 360
  • An Internet connection is only required when initially setting up the console
  • All downloaded games will function the same when online or offline
  • No additional restrictions on trading games or loaning discs
  • Region locks have been dropped

If accurate, this represents a complete 180 degree reversal on DRM, resulting in a significantly more competitive devices against Sony’s PS4, which has none of those restrictions. It also shows how Microsoft is more than willing to listen to user feedback on their device, which is still months away and can be changed significantly.

We recently wrote an editorial defending the contentious policies with most of our audience agreeing that in fact these rules weren't too off-putting.

We’ll update this story as more information comes in…

Update (Confirmed): Via the Xbox blog, Xbox head Don Mattrick writes:

"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."

Source: Xbox Wire (opens in new tab), Xbox Wire 2 (opens in new tab) (official blog post); via Giant Bomb (opens in new tab); Thanks, Auric J., for the tip

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

  • Great if true :)
  • Now they should listen to feedbacks regarding wp8 too :)
  • They do... just not as much as they should.
  • Sure they do....XBox Music and media syncing is a great example
  • I wish they would listen about notifications tones.
  • I agree all the way here,,,what about multiple track selection and purchasing? Oh and while yur at it a credit card reader and app.
  • I totally agree. Just tweeted MS and Xbox asking why they didn't follow the Xbox Music model. I feel like they went from one extreme to another here when they could have compromised. Offer the Xbox Live subscription as a pass to utilize all the awesome cloud functionality they originally promised, and treat individual games like albums on Xbox Music. You can play them as much as you want with a subscription or you can just buy the games outright and skip the online business. Am I crazy or does that sound a lot more rational?
  • I'm sure the wanted wp8 features are coming. Just taking long.
  • Now I have to have the disc tray in the system, and the family share plan is gone. Damn it.
  • ^ This :( But I mean I guess "The needs of the many" perhaps this will be better for the console overall, and I will put to rest my personal feelings if it means more people will purchase the console.
  • You can still download games like they originally planned.
  • Yeah, but that 10 "family member" sharing is gone now. And now I have to lug around my Xbox One to play my downloaded games when I go to another family members' house.
    Why couldn't you guys just keep your fat mouths shut about something that didn't affect you in the least?
  • +1
  • If it works like it does on 360 you won't have to lug your console to play your downloaded games on another xbox, you just have to be signed in with your gamertag.  The family sharing being gone sucks though.
  • And of course, find the game on the marketplace to redownload (rather than in a central library, which sounded really cool)
  • I prefer getting it from my download history rather than finding it in the marketplace, but yeah a special location for it would have been nice.
  • The only problem with download history is when the game you're downloading to a friend's console is not the most recent, and is littered with tons of demos, movies, and other game downloads. Gotta go hunting. It would be nice if they somehow added a "favorite games" section you could put your games in for easy locating elsewhere. *sigh* I really will miss family share, the idea was grand. Maybe a few years down the line they can come up with a solution when everybody has calmed down
  • One the 360 you can goto your account and view your recent purchases, thats how i downmload all my games when im at a friends or get a new console.
  • +1
  • For me the family sharing was worth the other restrictions. Sucks. Too bad they cannot keep both!
  • They could, downloaded games (that can't be traded, sold, etc), could be shared (if they chose to).  It might in the long run be better for Microsoft to get to a digital age sooner...
  • Where does it say that family sharing has gone?
  • The line where is says digital downloads can't be shared or resold now, and the line where it says game discs will be used the same as they are on 360. Also, the official line at, "the sharing of games simply works as it does today, you will simply share the disc"
  • And they call themselves tech geeks, but cried wolf about DRM. Next they will be crying MS isn't innovating. I have no problem with it because there's always draw backs to any scenario.
    There's a simple solution to get both sharing with family without 24 hour checkings.
    Microsoft could implement a sales system.
    Since Xbox must get online while installing a game, Microsoft can do two things at installation. Tie the game to an Xbox account (with whatever) Check to see if the game being installed has been sold.  
    I.e. To sell a game, the seller must go back online and set the game as sold or transfer it to another xbox account before the new owner can be play it. Also the xbox website can keep track of where the game has been installed and only complete ownership transfer after the other consoles have logged on to the internet, to wipe off the game. With this, you can still have previous attractive features without the uncomfortable 24 hour lock-ins.
  • +1
  • I was looking forward to the mandatory install as you didn't need the disc after doing so. I was going to give the game to my son and he could down load it and we both could have the same game. So instead of having to pay $60 a piece to play together, we could have done it for $60 total. Morons are afraid of change. The 24 check is no big deal either. If you play on XBOX live now, then your internet is always on anyways. So what is the big deal if your XBOX checks the connection during the dead of night? I was hoping all of these DRM issues would help bring prices down like Steam. I guess we will never know now. I too was also looking forward to the family plan as I have 6 gamer tags in my household.Idiots!
  • "The 24 check is no big deal either. If you play on XBOX live now, then your internet is always on anyways."
    Many, many of us don't connect our consoles to the internet. Fortunately MS was able to understand this and chose not to screw us over.
  • You really should connect it to the net though, assuming you have the net. You're losing out on tons of great features (and updates) if you don't.
  • Well how are you connected to this site now??
  • This may sound crazy but I use a PC to come here, not my xbox. Wifi doesn't reach the room where the consoles and games are and I've no interest or reason to make it reach there.
  • Why would you even buy a next gen system then If you don't plan on connecting it to the internet and using the majority of its features?
  • You see, this may sound completely crazy but I buy consoles to play games; there are no online features I'm interested in.
  • That does sound completely crazy. Just my .02
  • I use mine to play games too. ONLINE with friends and other human beings. So if you buy a game that has mulitplayer capability, you can't play that half of the game. Makes sense. That means you are getting half of your value. Yeah, I see where you are coming from..... :-/
  • This wasn't a case of "the needs of the many" This was the wants of the loud whiny few spreading FUD and wanting status quo.
  • You must have an IQ of 160.
  • You might wanna check the preorder comparison of the One vs. PS4. It wasn't even close and we're talking worldwide. Sony was about to dust Microsoft. Thank GOD Microsoft seen the light and listened to the majority (preorder numbers confirm this) and not the minority. I for one am very grateful Microsoft back tracked. Now I can keep rocking a Xbox and working on my gamerscore :)
  • Proof, or you are lying out your ass.  And no, linking to IGN's "uh, we are going to pull numbers out of our ass as we have no concrete numbers to back it up" isn't proving anything.
  • How bout you Bing it before you talk out your ass. It's common knowledge if you read any news/tech sites you should know that. Since Microsoft backtracked (Thank GOD) so fast that should tell you something. Still here's one of many links I pulled off Bing.
  • @tbonenga
    1. Idiot fucking whiners with a lack of vision and an appetite for memes and misinformation have delayed what would have been a real next-generation console. PS4 is P3 2.0. XBox One is now XBox 360 2.0.
    Either way. If you try to find the source of the article you linked to (you, obviously, didn't, but that's okay, you win, misinformed word vomiting smart ass), then you would see the source is ultimately:
    Oh? That's weird? an IGN article? Huh. Fuck me. It's strange how clicking a few times will get you to the real source no matter the FUD spread.
  • Actually sales were just a red herring, it was actually the government that made them do it... =[
  • Do you realize everyone have to buy their own games now? You can't play your friends game for free anymore. Nor can they play yours, besides disc. What if your friend is 3000 miles away. What do you do than. Can't share disc or digital. You know what that means, you gotta go out and spend $60!!!! Dumb!
  • Wasn't It was 10 family members linked to your account????? Not all your friends... If you buy a $60 dollar download could you easily resale it after you beat it or get tired of it? NO you couldn't. Now you can resale your game and recoup $20-$40 bucks. SMART. I prefer the 360 route you don't. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.
  • You're an ass-hat. Yes you could've sold it, you probably would've made more as opposed to being bent over by Gamestop. Goodbye cheaper games, thanks, the mentally deficient end of the internet.
  • JJ,
    right you are.
    I think it is Xbox 360 2.0 and PS3.5. Even with this step backwards, the Xbox One is a generation ahead of the 360. The PS4 is just same shit, only shiny.
  • Is that true about the disc in the tray and no more family sharing?
  • If you buy the game digitally you will have the family sharing enabled. Not if you buy it physically
  • No you won't
  • "If you buy the game digitally you will have the family sharing enabled. " Not true. Family sharing is now completely out, digital or otherwise. From the article: The sharing of games will work as it does today, you will simply share the disc. Downloaded titles cannot be shared or resold.
  • Nope. Sorry. Try again. Buying a digital version does NOT ALLOW you to trade, sell, or transfer the game to someone else, let alone share between the family. Pisses me off MS changed their stance on this. Should have took control of the story BEFORE all of the FUD began.
  • This doesn't make sense. The whole purpose of the unified DRM was so that legacy disc support could still be there, but they had a vision for digital distribution and the capabilities of that. Nowhere in their statement does it say that digital downloads will NOT have the share features they talked about before. The statement is specific to disc based games. They still maintain the discless advantage of digital games and can draw gamers to digital only purchases so they can digitally share their games, but they now no longer offer that for disc purchased games. I'm disappointed because they were trying to drive innovation in digitally controlled games, but the market wasn't ready for such a jarring transition. However, they did not say they are abandoning their digital distribution vision for games purchased as digital downloads...which I am happy about. The market will learn to love digital only games eventually.
  • "Nowhere in their statement does it say that digital downloads will NOT have the share features they talked about before." Actually it does state specifically that "Downloaded titles cannot be shared or resold."
  • Well f*** me sideways. Microsoft just can't go halfway can they? Best of both worlds my ass.
  • It could complicate the user experience, which is why I believe it's an all or nothing approach here.  I for one would rather they have stuck to their original policy.
  • I'm with you on this. The lack of family sharing is kind of frustrating on the 360 already and the cost of buying 2 games is eventually going to exceed the cost of buying an extra console, and I was pretty excited about the family sharing. My husband and I love playing video games together. Now, there's no point in getting two of them. I'm still getting one, but this hurts. Really bad. I'm sure that MS got with the game publishers and figured out a way to please all of the people who were disappointed about it. My whole problem with that is most of the complaints I saw were coming from people who were "going to buy a PS4 anyway." Why let the competitors fans dictate what WE Xbox fans get? I understand they're looking out for their company and their customers, but GDI this fucking sucks.
  • Completely agree. People already hurt having to pay $60 (if they want day 1 release) or wait 3-4 months for the price to drop. I would LOVE for the Steam model to be available on Xbox One. Hope they implement this in the near future though.
  • I was gonna buy 2 consoles. When this came out I was back peddling and considering going with a ps4. Now I'm back to the Xbox one. I plan to go ahead and preorder in the next day or so. I'm extremely happy and you're not. I guess MS can't make everyone happy. I'm just glad they stuck with a formula that made the 360 #1
  • So, as you can see from my comments above, I too was pretty upset about the family sharing being removed; however, if the following is true (posted to Reddit by a supposed engineer who worked on the xbox one DRM) it sounds like family sharing wasn't going to be all it was made out to be: "First is family sharing, this feature is near and dear to me and I truly felt it would have helped the industry grow and make both gamers and developers happy. The premise is simple and elegant, when you buy your games for Xbox One, you can set any of them to be part of your shared library. Anyone who you deem to be family had access to these games regardless of where they are in the world. There was never any catch to that, they didn't have to share the same billing address or physical address it could be anyone. When your family member accesses any of your games, they're placed into a special demo mode. This demo mode in most cases would be the full game with a 15-45 minute timer and in some cases an hour. This allowed the person to play the game, get familiar with it then make a purchase if they wanted to. When the time limit was up they would automatically be prompted to the Marketplace so that they may order it if liked the game."
    You can see the whole post here:
  • This was based on a rumor, not substantiated information. Per Microsoft, it would not have worked this way. Those in your "family" had full access to games in your library. The ONLY exception is if you and one other of the family was already playing a title that you wanted to play.
  • Don't start bashing MS, they're just trying to please all of the whiners while fighting the what seems to have been a Pro-Sony media blitz from the like of Cnet, The Verge, Engadget, and more who are also pro Apple. At one time I loved Tom Warren, but since he closed his site and moved to The Verge, his articles are suspect as if he can't express himself freely like he once did.
  • I agree that several news outlets spread false information such as reporting on "used game fees" even after Microsoft said that there were none. However, I found Engadget's coverage of the Xbox One to be very fair. In my opinion it was Kotaku that had the worst reporting, anything they said only seemed to have the purpose of feeding the flames.
  • Thank you so much for mentioning that! Engadget was surprisingly fair but OMG Kotaku got to the point where I couldn't even read any article that mentioned the Xbox One. They purposely said some off the wall mess and encourage the insane belief that if you liked the X1, then you must be a shill or whatever the hell that is. It felt like a feeding frenzy of fanboyism there.
  •  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.
    I was hoping to see game prices drop or " go on sale ". I was never really worried about Microsoft or Sony for that matter. I worrie about Activision and EA.
    Another important question i want answered is will indie game makers still be required to have a publisher?  
  • Go back an re-read this section from the post: "Downloaded titles cannot be shared or resold."
  • Also, how would this DRM policy reversal only affect Disc-based games?  the DRM for Disc-based games are on the disc.  Digitially downloaded games have a certificate that's installed on your Xbox to authenticate playing rights.  You cannot share that digital cert with anyone else now.  You can go to another console and access it there.  Without the 24hr check in, you cannot share or transfer the game to someone else, even the family.  Otherwise, how could Microsoft enforce the usage rights if the console doesn't check in?  Do you use Zune/Xbox Music and have a Music Pass?  If so, you know that your device must check in every month to validate usage rights becuase your subscrition is on a month-to-month basis.  You cannot share the music unles someone else has a valid Music Pass, but it still has to go through a verification process.  But don't forget, games are more expensive than music, so the analogy isn't quite the same.
  • Hmmm. As a software developer and analyst, I can easily think of a way to make it work. Ignoring the minutia of details:
    Have digitally purchased games be sharable as originally intended. If you enable this feature on the Xbox, a 24 hour check in is required. If you disable this, all sharing is nullified instantly. People you share with require this checkin to be enabled to have access to your shared games. To turn this check in on or off, you require a connection to the Xbox servers; It has to know your decision so it can disable your shared games etc.
  • Yes as a software developer I am sure we can all think of abstract features (i.e. we have no idea with the underlying implemetation  really looks like) that would make this work.  
    However, I think in this case Microsoft has to look at the big pictures.  The broad world can't understand something as simple as the start screen in Windows 8.  It would be a huge leap to think they could understand the nuances of turning these options on and off and what it really means.  Further if you compound this to "a subset of your friends who have enabled this feature you can share with but the others you can't" and "The game installed on your hard drive that you installed from a disc can't be shared but the one that is installed on your hard drive that you downloaded you can"
    I fully expect these features to return over the next couple of years, but out of the gate it has to be one way or the other or it is entirely too confusing.
  • Yep, I was thinking the exact same thing. Surely that would be the best solution to avoid disappointing people looking forward tot his feature.
  • If the sharing remains, I can guarantee that no one will be buying disc games, besides those couch potato chip eating bitching gamer fools who'd buy a $60 game just to sell back and earn 8-10$ bucks.
  • We go out ..wait in line to buy physical copies while you want to stay home, on the couch and buy digital copies.. And you have the audacity to call us a couch potato.. Wow you guys needs to grow up... Its like halo 2 all over again with you as the whiney kids and us as the actual gamers...
  • I stand by my words!
  • Yes, that's why the DRM was good.
  • The sharing is gone!!!! Ben Rudolf tweeted a link...
  • Yes, the future will have to wait for the rest of us to evolve... =/
  • Agreed, the vocal minority killed a great forward looking feature which would have benefited mainstreamers like myself.  Thanks alot aholes! 
  • Yep.  Friggin crying, morons.  Way to ruin that part of the next generation!  >_<
    "Wah, my Xbox One must call home every 24hrs and can't be offline."
    Whiney bitches.  I'm not cancelling my Xbox One pre-order, but this just made me sad.
  • Same. Saw some article on something unrelated to the Xbox the other dsay that said people don't really want something new, they want more of the same. This kind of shows that to be true. People weren't bothering to even consider the benefits. Now, it's basically the xbox 360 with an updated Kinect and some cloud servers. Yeah, the cloud is neat, but I want to share with my brother in another state
  • What's funny is that a lot of the people I saw complaing about the always online feature are people who bragged about being on a particular website all the time anyway. I really hate that they just stepped back a few years and now all we have is a redesigned Xbox all because of some whiny asses who are complaining about something that isn't even a factor to them.
  • The only part I disagree with in this is the fact that the armed forces have no way of getting internet acess. I believe that this is probably the biggest reason that the change occured. Otherwise they seem to give off the vibe of "screw the troops" which never goes well in america.
  • Uh, didn't Sam Sari report here that Microsoft had a plan that would have removed that requirement for our beloved Armed Forces?  Oh Sam, where art thou?
  • This is what pisses me off... It makes it seem like the entire armed forces have no internet access which is completely false. As a military member I have always had internet, hell I had internet access in Afghanistan. While I know having internet in Afghanistan isn't something everyone has but the amount of service members who have access to internet stateside and that are overseas in non combat zones greatly outnumber those who do not. I'm not saying screw those guys but ever time someone uses the armed forces don't have internet do not have internet argument it irks me.
  • I agree some people are just f##king cry babies now I have to an 4.99 warranty for disc incase my kids scratch r break my game I was looking forward to no disc and sharing my game library f##k ps4
  • They are blu-ray discs, so they are much more scratch resistant than standard dvd discs.
  • I'm just going to buy digitally. Forget the disc.
  • I agree i might just buy digitally. I hope the digital version let me share with family. And i hope they are cheaper so i don't go to the shop to buy
  • You won't be able to share them with the family and the games won't be cheaper (and shouldn't cost more.)
  • Hope you didn't want to share that game with your kids or friends.
  • Nope. Wasn't planning to do so anyway. I wanted the "horrible" DRM polices that we're set in place beforehand. Sharing was actually better that way. Besides I'm 18, I better not have kids.
  • How is sharing games better in the Xbox 360 versus what Microsoft had planned with the Xbox One?  With the Xbox 360 you NEED the disc in the drive to play.  With the Xbox One, you install it, and can share the same game with up to 10 family members.  That could be anyone in your family.  it doesn't have to be your children.  I don't get how that is so damn hard to comprehend.
    Now, if you want to play a game with a family member on another Xbox One console, you MUST buy the game twice or more.  So, COD Ghosts, or Halo 5, or insert some other game you would love to play would have cost $60.  Now, its $60 TIMES (how ever many family members you want to play with.)  How is that better?  I'll answer it for you.  It's not.
  • Don't have to tell me. I understand. This backtracking sucks. >_<
  • The family share plan is still there. Idk where you read that.
  • The share plan is dead.
  • Great news I guess. I mean the DRM wasn't really that big of an issue for me to start off with.!!
  • They just needed to alter dat 24hr check-in mess......disc less gaming was way better now we have to take our discs to our friend's place n load it in tray everytime we need to play....... :/
  • what a shame everything needs to be checked in now a day and im fine with that damn cry babies
  • Loss of family share hurts. I was looking forward to this feature and could live with the drm stuff. But the mob has spoken and its good to know MS listens.
  • Except I don't beleive it was the majority of people.  They should have tried to quantify the number of bitchers to the number of pre-ordered units.  I would place a major be that the bitchers were quite small when compared to the ones that pre-ordered.  A LOT of people were looking forward to the shared game with the family concept.
  • Most likely the majority were PS4 fanboys with no intention to buy XB1.
  • Sure. But I don't think the majority of those were strictly "Sony Fanboi's"
  • Its called "hack job". They're concerned PS4 has nothing new to offer. Might as well make the competition look bad in order for them to look good. Our theory. Lolz! No matter, XB1 has more to offer and more value than the PS4. We all saw those awesome features demonstrated.
  • I was looking forward to it and had pre order my xbox one
  • The Xbox 180. The family sharing was a massive thing.... That is a huge pity. They should still allow it for downloadable games. Also, having to have the discs in is just pants. Come on guys, that is a real pain in the backside. I have to be honest, they should have sat and thought about this a little longer. They just have messed up over and over again with this system. They took the majority of selling points and ruined it. Idiots. They had appalling PR leading up to this, and made no effort to sell us on the plus points. The odd things they did mention, that were huge, like the family share and taking your games anywhere is culled, rather than come up with a work around, real shame.
  • I hope that the drive is quieter then the one in 360. And I gotta admit, it is nice and quiet playing a digital game. I just wish we all could have found some middle ground on this
  • like a option for all the cry babies to opt out of having these great features
  • Also, the fact you could switch games using Kinect was good. Now I have to swap discs, just like now. Poor show this. I can't help but feel there was middle ground here that they could have taken which retained the selling points but relaxed the negatives. The highest stumbling block for me was the price. You don't even get a headset in the box! And MS will clearly charge the Earth for them. Plus a game and a second controller. Gonna be 1 expensive rig.
  • Great? You are an idiot then, no more disk free consol, thus no more fast switching from one game to another, start match in one game till it loads play another one, now thanks to Sony and you fuckers all that are lost
  • You can still download games to the console, you just can't share them or have others on your family plan play them. The small glimmer of hope in all of this is that the fast switching is a part of the hardware and has nothing to do with the game if you were to go completely disc-less.
  • Which means in order to go disc-less, you need to buy it from the Xbox Marketplace. But, that also means you cannot sell, transfer or share it with anyone else (friend or family members.) For me, I will be buying the digital version from the Marketplace. I have no problem doing that. But not everyone else shares the same opinion as I do.