Have Gamers Postponed A (Better) Future?

June 20, 2013 in Daily Bulletin

After Microsoft launched the next generation Xbox One it announced that it would include a set of DRM (digital rights management) policies that would add certain features but also place certain limits on games. Gamers reacted badly and drove a sustained few weeks of negative media coverage. Yesterday Microsoft revealed that it has reversed its DRM policies. The twist? Several media outlets point out that ultimately what Microsoft had originally announced would have benefitted gamers the most. As Kyle Wagner writes:

  • The Xbox would have tied every physical or digital game to a player’s account, and allowed the creation of an online marketplace where players could trade games with one another.
  • Currently when people purchase used games retailers like GameStop make money. Under the Xbox One’s system game publishers – the people who actually develop the games – would have made money, which would ultimately lead to better games.
  • New games would also have been cheaper since publishers would know that they’d generate returns on their investments in other ways.
  • Xbox would also have allowed gamers to share their entire gaming library with ten people free of charge. Without the DRM Microsoft can no longer offer that service.
  • Xbox One appears to have been unfairly maligned by gamers – popular games and platforms such as Steam and World of Warcraft had similar policies without the corresponding outrage.
  • Now the Xbox resembles the gaming consoles of the previous generation – holding console gaming back for another half decade or so.

We primarily drew this from a report on Gizmodo, but pretty much every major tech site has a similar article with additional interesting points.