Two major features of Microsoft’s next-generation console are dropped by the company. These are regular online authenticity checks required to play video games offline and restrictions on what players can do with games after purchase.
Microsoft says, in an update issued Wednesday, the shift in Xbox One policy stems from consumer feedback.
“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,” Don Mattrick, president of Microsoft’s Interactive entertainment business, said in a statement. “We have listened and we have heard loud and clear from your feedback that you want the best of both worlds.”
The Microsoft statement says no internet connection will be required to play any Xbox One game. Also, avenues for trading, renting, lending or selling purchased games will remain as they are today with the Xbox 360.
Microsoft outlined how its Xbox One would function when it launches this November for $499; this move marks a full turn for Microsoft from several weeks ago. In earlier statements, Microsoft said users would have to check in online every 24 hours to play any games offline. Microsoft also planned the inability to rent or lend games at launch as limits to how games were used.
Sony, a well-known rival will be launching its PlayStation 4 this holiday, the options provoked harsh criticism from them. Sony Computer Entertainment of America President Jack Tretton emphatically proclaimed during a press conference at last week’s Electronic Entertainment Expo that the PS4 would not restrict games or require routine online checks.
“You told us how much you loved the flexibility you have today with games delivered on disc,” Mattrick said. “The ability to lend, share, and resell these games at your discretion is of incredible importance to you.”
Nonetheless, the Family option to share a games library with as many as 10 other people for example will be shelved due to Microsoft’s reversal of many features planned for Xbox One
Consumer feedback led to the changes, Marc Whitten, chief product officer for Microsoft’s interactive entertainment business, said in a telephone interview after the update was issued. “They tell us what they love about what we are doing and when we are doing something they don’t like, they tell us, too,” he said.
As it stood, some consumers saw the Xbox One as “a highly restricted system,” said DFC Intelligence analyst David Cole. “The idea of online connectivity is bad from a personal usage perspective. For example, many potential consumers are mobile college students or young kids being shuffled between parents. Having to always have their system connected is a major pain.”