The Xbox One has been dividing opinion (with most falling on the negative side) since long before its official announcement (but heightened once it arrived), with a lot of the ire from gaming fans coming from the fact that the console will have several unsavoury measures regarding sharing games or buying them second-hand.
Thanks to a proposed ‘digital rights management’ (DRM) feature that is not just limited to online downloads, any games will be required to be automatically registered online to its owner’s Xbox Live account, with any further ‘activations’ for someone who does not own it (such as a friend borrowing the game) set to require an added charge.
If you choose to sell on the game you own, the registration will be wiped from your account, though the person buying the second-hand disc will be required to pay an activation fee to become its new owner (with Microsoft and game developers also in line to receive a much higher proportion of the in-store transactions).
Such a feature for the second-hand gaming industry (where game players have traditionally been able to pick up used titles for a fraction of its ‘new’ cost), has been received as warmly as anyone would expect, and has left console makers Microsoft with more than enough PR work on their hands to try and diffuse the matter.
Phil Spencer, the ‘corporate vice-president’ at Microsoft Studios, is the first person to try his hand at this since the launch event, claiming that despite their DRM methods seemingly dissuading users from going for ‘used’ games, there is still a ‘place in the market’ for second-hand titles, and that they have not yet ‘finalised the policies’ that the Xbox One will incorporate later this year.
Speaking to Edge, Spencer stated: “We think, actually, that having the content that’s yours go with you is an important thing. You could have multiple Xbox Ones, your content is yours on every one of them, and it doesn’t require that you carry discs back and forth. The disc becomes a means of distributing the bits back and forth but the content is locked to you. I think the whole idea of a secondary market is important and it’ll be important in the next generation and we’ve designed [the console] with that in mind from the beginning.
“We think there are a lot of advantages of having your content assigned to you digitally – we did that on 360 with cloud-saved games – and we want to do that with content. We understand there are implications to secondary; just know that we recognise the importance of that market and we’ve designed with that in mind from the beginning. We’ll share more details as we get further along the road.”
So once you cut through the corporate babble in the statement, you are left with some very sound reasoning as to why the DRM feature is more than just an extra money-maker for Microsoft, such as…