Xbox 180: Microsoft Backpedals on 2 Controversial Xbox One Features

Microsoft has loosened restraints on Xbox One game sharing.

ByABC News
June 20, 2013, 2:20 PM

June 20, 2013 — -- The loud Xbox fans can say they have won a very tough game.

Ever since Microsoft announced that its newest Xbox -- the Xbox One -- would have restrictive policies on used games and require a constant Internet connection, analysts and fans alike have made their discontent known.

But Microsoft has been listening, said Don Mattrick, Microsoft's president of the interactive entertainment business. In a statement released Wednesday, Mattrick said the company plans to reverse its stances on a few issues.

"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," Mattrick wrote on the Xbox blog. "I would like to take the opportunity today to thank you for your assistance in helping us to reshape the future of Xbox One."

Originally, Microsoft imposed strict rules on getting games second hand. The restrictions on used games have been heavily criticized, even by close competitor Sony, which posted a marketing video showing how easy it was to share games on its Playstation console. Sony's Playstation 4 will compete directly with the Xbox One when both consoles are released in time for the holiday season.

Now, according to the statement, all manners of getting a game secondhand, whether buying a pre-owned game at the store or borrowing a game from a friend, have been cleared.

"There will be no limitations to using and sharing games," Mattrick said. "It will work just as it does today on Xbox 360."

The daily Internet check-ins became a hot-button issue because people who may not have a steady broadband connection would have been unable to play any of their purchased games, even offline. Though the new console will still require an Internet hook up when first setting up the console, it will not require a connection from there on, Mattrick said.

"There is no 24-hour connection requirement and you can take your Xbox One anywhere you want and play your games," he added.

Not every fan request has made the cut, however. Calls for the Xbox One to work without a mandatory Kinect camera plugged in have been left without an answer. After it was reported that the NSA was tapping into Microsoft servers, gamers have been wary about letting an always-connected camera into their living rooms.

Digital rights management, or DRM, a system for restricting game ownership, may not apply to disc games, but will still be in effect for digital downloads. While this remains the same as it has always been, gamers envision a future where game files are freely shared between friends like music or photo files.

At last week's E3 conference, the general feeling was that the Sony Playstation 4 was superior to the Xbox One, in some part because of Microsoft's reluctance to change these policies.

While Microsoft's new changes put the two consoles on closer footing, Sony may still have the upper hand on one very important factor -- price. The Xbox One costs $500 compared to the Playstation 4 at $400. Both consoles will be released at the end of 2013, though no official date has been announced for either.