In a major change of strategy, Microsoft has abandoned its controversial changes
to the Xbox One's licensing system, and will now adopt a similar scheme to that used by its existing Xbox 360 console.
Microsoft's original plans would see game licensing move from a disc based system like on existing consoles (and the PS4), to a digital licensing system. Doing so would have required games to re-connect to authentication servers every 24 hours, eliminate the ability to rent games, and introduce a complicated trading/sharing system to emulate what would typically take place with discs. In exchange, gamers would no longer need the game disc after the initial install, as opposed to having to insert the disc every time the game it to be started.
But after a huge public outcry, and a lackluster debut at E3 in which rival Sony's PS4 stole the spotlight, Microsoft has decided to abandon its controversial plans.
In a blog post
on the official Xbox blog, Don Mattrick, President of Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft broke the good news to gamers. In essence, Xbox One game discs will now work in exactly the same way as Xbox 360 discs, with no Internet requirement (for offline games), and no restrictions on game sharing, trading or resale.
Digital licensing will still exist, as all games will be available via digital purchasing from the day of release. These digitally purchased games will also no longer require a 24 hour based Internet re-authentication and will work in the same way as digital downloads on the Xbox 360.
These changes means that the previously announced new Xbox One features for digital downloads, including re-sale, sharing and trading, will no longer be available. Games purchased on discs will again require the disc to be inserted every time the game is played.
And in another big win for gamers, Xbox One games will no longer feature regional restrictions, a change in policy from Xbox 360 games.
In closing, Mattrick acknowledged the role gamers played in forcing Microsoft to change its stance.
"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," writes Mattrick.