Microsoft has been publicly pilloried for weeks over used games and online authentication restrictions it announced for Xbox One, and the blowback has convinced the company to change the controversial policies for the next-gen system. In a blog post explaining the changes today, president of Microsoft's interactive entertainment business Don Mattrick laid out the changes.
"We appreciate your passion, support and willingness to challenge the assumptions of digital licensing and connectivity," Mattrick said. "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."
To that end, Microsoft is dropping the requirement that Xbox One systems check-in with Microsoft servers every 24 hours or be unable to play games. The system will still need to connect online for an initial setup, but after that, it can be used entirely offline. Additionally, rights to games will work the same as they do on the Xbox 360 today. Players will be able to lend games to friends, sell them, buy them used, or rent them without restrictions. "It will work just as it does today on Xbox 360," Mattrick said.
On top of that, the Xbox One will have no regional restrictions, allowing players to play games from any country on hardware from any other country.
However, with these changes, Microsoft is also eliminating some of the functionality it previously said would be possible with Xbox One. For example, downloaded titles will not be able to be shared with other players, and disc-based games will require the disc to be in the system's tray in order to run.