Tag Archives: digital rights management

Microsoft Caves to Community Demands for XBOX One

Xbox One

Another dramatic shift looks like it’s coming from the chastened Microsoft.  The pre-E3 M$ had pretty much given indie game developers the finger, which is absurd since the games developed for and distributed across XBOX Live have been some of the best of the generation.  One of them (Walking Dead) just won Game of the Year!  Once again, the folks at Xbox360achievements.org are on the trail:

Microsoft may be preparing for another turn-around, this time in regards to self-publishing.

When the Xbox One was announced, Microsoft said that it would not allow developers to publish their own games on the console, a move which disappointed many independent studios. As a result, the developers of exciting titles like DayZ and Fez II responded by saying they would not bring their games to Xbox One.

However, if the latest rumours are to be believed, that may be about to change.

This Wednesday, Microsoft will be holding its Build Conference in San Francisco. It’s an annual shindig aimed at software developers working with the company’s tech. And it’s here that some are speculating a second change of policy in as many weeks may take place.

Internet sleuth Superannuation tweeted last night, “Some people seem to think Microsoft will announce some self-publishing/indie Xbox One stuff this week at their Build Developer Conference.”

Meanwhile, on the same subject, Markus “Notch” Persson tweeted “I know something about this, but I’m not allowed to say. :(“ The tweet has since been deleted.

Adding a little weight to this speculation is the fact that when invitations were sent out pre-E3 2013, gaming press were assured the event was PC and mobile only. However, now the event has expanded to encompass the Xbox platforms.

It’s worth re-stating that this is currently all speculation. Indeed, if it wasn’t for Notch’s deleted tweet and Microsoft’s recent dramatic turnaround regarding DRM on Xbox One, we wouldn’t have given it much weight.

Fingers crossed. A larger selection of games for Xbox One is always good news.


Microsoft Caves to Community Demands for XBOX One

Xbox One

Just breaking out of Microsoft HQ is an announcement that should serve as a relief to longtime Xbox players and bolster confidence that community feedback can make even Microsoft bend. After scathing reviews on their plans for Internet requirements and DRM restrictions, Microsoft has rolled back all over their changes for the XBOX One, save leaving the price point $100 higher than the Playstation 4. I wish someone would bend on backward compatibility, but I think even the price point is going to come down after launch. Here’s to all of us for pitching a royal fit. Official announcement below from Microsoft’s most arrogant employee (ok, that may be a stretch given the competition) Don Mettrick:

Last week at E3, the excitement, creativity and future of our industry was on display for a global audience.

For us, the future comes in the form of Xbox One, a system designed to be the best place to play games this year and for many years to come. As is our heritage with Xbox, we designed a system that could take full advantage of advances in technology in order to deliver a breakthrough in game play and entertainment. We imagined a new set of benefits such as easier roaming, family sharing, and new ways to try and buy games. We believe in the benefits of a connected, digital future.

Since unveiling our plans for Xbox One, my team and I have heard directly from many of you, read your comments and listened to your feedback. I would like to take the opportunity today to thank you for your assistance in helping us to reshape the future of Xbox One.

You told us how much you loved the flexibility you have today with games delivered on disc. The ability to lend, share, and resell these games at your discretion is of incredible importance to you. Also important to you is the freedom to play offline, for any length of time, anywhere in the world.

So, today I am announcing the following changes to Xbox One and how you can play, share, lend, and resell your games exactly as you do today on Xbox 360. Here is what that means:

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.

In addition to buying a disc from a retailer, you can also download games from Xbox Live on day of release. If you choose to download your games, you will be able to play them offline just like you do today. Xbox One games will be playable on any Xbox One console — there will be no regional restrictions.

These changes will impact some of the scenarios we previously announced for Xbox One. The sharing of games will work as it does today, you will simply share the disc. Downloaded titles cannot be shared or resold. Also, similar to today, playing disc based games will require that the disc be in the tray.

We appreciate your passion, support and willingness to challenge the assumptions of digital licensing and connectivity. 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.

Thank you again for your candid feedback. Our team remains committed to listening, taking feedback and delivering a great product for you later this year.


New XBOX to be Revealed May 21st?

946391The Washington Post has just posted on its website that Microsoft has scheduled a reveal event for the next version of the XBOX on May 21st.  It looks like it will be just a preview with the full unveiling to take place later at E3.  The article discusses two versions of the console: one pretty bare bones and another fully tricked out for price points of $300 and $500, respectively.  The entire article is below, written by Post reporter Hayley Tsukayama.

Gamers, get your wallets ready. According to reports from The Verge and Microsoft-centric blogger Paul Thurrott, Microsoft is gearing up to release its next-generation Xbox by the end of next month.

The reports, which cite unnamed “sources familiar” with the plans, say that the new console will debut on May 21. The console, nicknamed the Xbox 720 as a nod to its predecessor the 360, has been the subject of rumors for a long time. But it is widely expected to come to light this spring — particularly following Sony’s February announcement about what will be the Xbox’s top competitor, the PlayStation 4.

Thurrott said that he believes the console will cost around $500, though he added there may possibly be a $300 subscription version of the console.

Microsoft hasn’t said much about what the next Xbox will be like, but the company did announce Monday that it has sold its Mediaroom TV software unit to Ericsson in order to focus more closely on developing the Xbox’s TV services.

Mediaroom, a Microsoft property that powers services for set-top, on-demand boxes, will continue to operate with the same services under Ericsson’s management, the companies said — meaning that consumers shouldn’t have to worry about too many major changes to Mediaroom services such as AT&T U-Verse.

Microsoft has made no secret of the fact that it views the Xbox as a device that goes far beyond gaming, and has made a concerted effort to expand its video and other offerings to make the Xbox more of an entertainment hub than a video game console.

While there have been few concrete details about what the next Xbox will hold, there has been a great deal of discussion about rumored features and specifications. Most recently, reports that the new Xbox will require players to keep an Internet connection on at all times has sparked furious debate in the gaming world.

The idea that video game players will have to keep a connection on has been very unpopular, especially among gamers who note there are plenty of areas in the United States where high-speed Internet service is still spotty at best.

Microsoft Studio’s creative director Adam Orth contributed to the controversy last week, when he said that gamers should just deal with that fact that devices increasingly require an Internet connection to function. Orth later apologized for his comments, as CNET reported, saying that he was merely having a conversation with his friends.

Microsoft, for its part, apologized for Orth’s comments but did not shed any light on whether there’s any truth to the rumor.

“We are very sorry if this offended anyone, however we have not made any announcements about our product roadmap, and have no further comment on this matter,” the company said in an official statement posted to a company blog.

The rumored May event is expected to give consumers just a taste of what Microsoft will have to offer with the Xbox, with further details coming during the game industry’s June conference, the Electronic Entertainment Expo.

Top 5: Features I Want in XBOX 720, XBOX Infinity…..whatever it’s called

Top 5: TV Episodes of All-Time (Comedy Edition)

The general consensus is that Microsoft is going to unveil the Xbox sequel (most likely called Infinity, but I like 720….because my preference matters to them) sometime this year.  Some reports have it being unveiled to Microsoft employees next week.  I do not recall life before my Xbox 360.  Oh….oh, I do, it sucked.  My wife will understand that was hyperbole.  Won’t you, hon?  Ok, just me and the Xbox this weekend.  Where was I?  Ah yes, the gaming superbness that is the Xbox 360 (if you own a PS3, I do not hate….I’m just puzzled, much like I am by cat owners or people who watch Bravo).

The NeXtBoX (that one’s mine Microsoft, you pay me if you pick that) will have big shoes to fill.  The 360 has managed to have a long life cycle through annual software updates that essentially offered the features of a new console without having to actually buy one.  It’s transformed gaming machines into entertainment hubs.  I use mine as much for Netflix or Hulu as I do gaming.  I understand we’re at the technological point where the next graphical leap is necessary, but I kind of don’t want it to end.  I don’t want to have to bid adieu to my Batman-skinned 360 (anniversary present from my wife if she’s still reading as proof of how AWESOME she is….yeah, I’m still on my own there).

When I do switch to the 720ityBox (also mine), what are the top five things I’d like?  What are five things that leap to the fore of my gaming-saturated mindbrain?

1. Port it all over.  All of it.  I spent five-and-a-half years building up a gamerscore (87,368; thank you for asking), dressing a digital avatar of myself as Boba Fett (do not judge me) and have saves, themes, DLC and full games that fill most of a 250 GB hard drive.  I want it to come with me.  If you think I’m going to start my gamerscore at 0, Microsoft…I probably will, but I can hold a grudge like a poltergeist, so don’t test me.

2. Don’t futz with the controller.  If you have a few tweaks, I’m open to that.  I am not a close-minded OCD ADD gamer (possibly two of those three things are not true).  The 360 controller is the best controller for any system ever.  I can’t believe I played Nintendo with a tiny box with a D-pad and two buttons.  Tweaks are ok.  Leave it mostly the frick alone!

[artist's depiction of potentially angered author]
[artist’s depiction of potentially angered author]
3. Make Kinect worth it.  Kinect is cool.  I think it’s a tremendous innovation.  I also think, unless you play Dance Central, that it’s most useful feature is detecting demons (thank you, Paranormal Activity 4).  Find a way to integrate it in a cool way for all gamers.  I am barred by several state laws from even attempting to dance.  Where’s my Kinect experience?  I can play Fruit Ninja on my phone.

4. Backwards compatibilitySee point number one.  I have about seven years worth of exploring to do in Skyrim alone.  I don’t want to switch consoles to do it.  I used to be a Sony guy.  Loved my PS2.  Once they announced they were not including the ability to play PS2 games on the PS3, I lost all interest.  Also because it forgot to have games for two years.  It also was two car payments.  I’m over you, Sony!  …I did mention the grudge holding thing…

5. Do not DRM screw us.  This is a hotly debated topic among gaming companies and developers.  Essentially, a digital rights management (DRM) feature would be included linking your account to your game’s disc.  Once that happened, that disc would be unplayable by anyone else.  This spins out of the sales of used games and game rentals, from which developers see no profits.  If this is adopted, Game Stop is done, not to mention Game Fly.  I’ve heard that all games for the next Xbox will require installation, but not specific DRM restrictions yet.  I don’t know about you, but my purchase of games would plummet.  Games cost $60.  If I’m going to drop that, I have to know it’s worth it.  I think ultimately it would hurt the industry, so let’s hope that’s the last we hear of it.

May your weekend be full of gaming.  My Xbox Live tag is “sleeplessdave”, feel free to friend me (add a message that you’re a KT reader if you don’t mind) and I will report all updates on the NewBOX (no?) that come my way.