With the turn that arrived in Microsoft completely reversing their DRM and “always online” policy in the Xbox One, that calls the question into light: should Microsoft have yielded on this? Was this even that bad for consumers to begin with? I personally was excited for the changes to the console generation that Microsoft was introducing with the Xbox One; now let me explain why.
DRM (Digital Rights Management), though being quite anti-consumer, doesn’t mean that those anti-consumer growing pains may lead to a better, more consumer-friendly future. Now don’t get me wrong, the ability for the consumer to be able to exchange, share, and trade-in games is great, and brings power back into the consumer’s hands. My problem is that this seems to be a short-term fix to something that, in the long-term, will become a serious issue.
As Kyle Wagner outlines in his opinion piece on Gizmodo, having this digital push could prove extremely innovative when creating consumer rights for digital purchases. Even the idea of this “transfer of a digital license” via the game transfer system originally in place on the Xbox One to someone on your friend’s list is more right to any digital purchase we have ever had before. Of course, Kyle also presents the idea that publishers could create digital hubs where users can sell digital licenses to one another for a slight profit for themselves, and money that can actually go to the publisher/developer instead of GameStop or BestBuy. Of course that’s just speculation, but the mere idea is exciting nonetheless.
My point is more along the lines that even that idea coming up in a conversation with the original Xbox One’s DRM set-up proves that there are exuberant amounts of innovative possibilities out there and this digital-focused home console could provide some of them. Steam users have been buying games in stores, such as Skyrim, just to take them home and install them directly into Steam for years. How was the Xbox One’s idea of discs being ways to install games any different? It really wasn’t. PC users have been buying licenses through Steam for many years, and seem to love it.
Now the Xbox One has, quite literally, reverted back to exactly where the Xbox 360 is. Even the wording for the new DRM policies says, “just like on Xbox 360,” which is both a good and a bad thing. Good, because the consumers don’t have to worry about losing their freedoms, bad because the room for innovation can’t really happen if we are leaning on the crutch that is the previous generation’s policies. There will always be growing pains when adjusting to innovative ideas and a possible change in the way we play and consume games. It’s normal, it’s natural, but we do have to let it happen. Complaining, arguing, yelling, and sending death threats before we have the console and before we’ve even experienced the way those policies work shouldn’t be the status quo.
One step forward – two steps back.
I really believe that in the long-term, when we are on the precipice of an all-digital future within the next five to ten years, we could have used these early-trained policies to adapt to that. This is just going to make that inevitable change to digital only more challenging for the consumer.
I am on the bandwagon that wants this all digital future, and that was ready for these policies. I know I am in the minority, and I am not faulting those who weren’t ready for this. I just want to propose the idea that having moved backwards now, may not be to our advantage in the near future.
you say that you are for the original xbox one’s “features” and that they could be good, but why? I didn’t really read any points where any of these features would be a boon for the consumer, or anything other than a hindrance really….the idea of creating a system for digital license transfers is the only thing i’ve read here that could be considered a plus, but we never really got the particulars of that and why that would benefit us…would we actually see money for the selling of used games, or would we get a couple microsoft points? Ultimately, i would guarantee we’d make more through selling a physical copy at the store, and we hardly get anything there…..people have been touting what could have been after these features had the chance to sink in and evolve, but the fact of the matter is that these features would more than likely go the other way, slowly becoming even more anti consumer, because why on earth would a business like microsoft with a track record of pushing buggy and flawed software and experiences ever do anything to put money in our pockets over putting it in their own? The whole family game sharing thing has now been proven to have been a glorified demo program, that we aren’t truly able to play full games, only 15 min.- 1 hour of these games, this was a feature that many people praised microsoft for, another feature that they tried to pull the wool over consumers eyes on, basically outright stating that we could play full games, when the truth was anything but that…..there are companies that i would personally trust to utilize and expand business models like these that could benefit us, and microsoft is most definitely at the top of the list as not one of those
My point was that if we shut down any kind of new idea that is trying to innovate before we can experience it and actual make a critical analysis ourselves, then we are stagnating innovation before it can happen. We need to try these new things, and allow companies to experiment, because otherwise we won’t be able to find any other way around it. If the Xbox One had come out and all of its features had been horrible, the same outcry would have happened, except even worse, and MS probably would have pushed through this patch to remove the DRM. At least at that point, we could say for sure one way or the other.