Microsoft says it is listening to negative feedback about Xbox One DRM


Microsoft is facing negative feedback about DRM requirements of its upcoming Xbox One console

Since unveiling its new console last week, Microsoft has faced a firestorm of criticism regarding the Xbox One and its rumored restrictive digital rights management requirements. According to a manager in Microsoft's Xbox division, however, the company is listening.

In a comment on his blog, Larry Hryb, director of programming for Xbox Live, said Microsoft is "fully aware of what's going on." Hryb's response was in regard to a comment that said "the entire world is watching Twitter explode" and that "the campaign for no DRM is in full swing." The comment cited a campaign started by gaming website NeoGAF on Sunday that requested Twitter users use a variety of hashtags to inform Sony and Microsoft of negative user stances on DRM issues such as a persistent Internet requirement that has yet to be clarified.

"I am also working on a few things to address it," Hryb wrote in response to the user. "I can't say much more right now. But we are listening."

Microsoft has been fuzzy about what exact requirements users will face with the Xbox One in regards to an Internet connection and how the console will handle the purchase and sale of games. In a statement on an official website, the company has said the console "does not have to be always connected, but Xbox One does require a connection to the Internet." Comments from Microsoft executives when the console was announced indicated the device would need to periodically access the Internet as a kind of verification service.

Phil Harrison, a corporate vice president of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business, told Kotaku the requirement may be as often as once per day, though Microsoft representatives later said that was a "potential scenario" and no specific time period requirement has been announced yet.

The backlash to Microsoft's DRM plans comes just two months after EA faced similar responses following the launch of "SimCity," which was plagued by server issues that left owners unable to connect to the Internet-required game. EA's chief executive resigned just two weeks after the game launched.

Source: Major Nelson | Image via Microsoft

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55 Comments

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I will simply stay away of a console that requires an internet connection at a timely fashion (e.g.: constant, every xx hours or whatever). This would create an additional and unnecessary point of failure (besides electricity).

a) What if I my internet is down?
b) What if I move my console to another place without an Internet connection?
c) What if I use internet through a 3G dongle connected directly at my computer

I would also block all cameras of the console (or disconnect Kinnect altogether) unless I am using the device. I do not like the idea of a console observing my behaviour for market research, 'big data' or whatever. Whether those rumors get to be true or not, this is yet another room for exploit.

Considering the EU market, I also hope that Microsoft this time do they homework around directive 95/46/EC. This isn't Jesusland, you know.

I really hope the required internet connection, even daily isn't true. I've recently decided to go back to school, and won't be having any other bills besides my cell phone. So no internet for a long time for me, other than at college.

I hope it doesn't require any connection at all, otherwise it will just be a heavy paperweight for me and I won't even bother for the first 4 years of it's release.

What do some of you expect MS to do about the Developers and the Record Industry requirements placed on MS before they can publish or distribute? Tell them hell no we don't want DRM? Let's see if they play along with MS.

They have to maintain a balance between consumers and DRM requirements and I am sure its not an easy task.

mrmomoman said,
What do some of you expect MS to do about the Developers and the Record Industry requirements placed on MS before they can publish or distribute? Tell them hell no we don't want DRM? Let's see if they play along with MS.

They have to maintain a balance between consumers and DRM requirements and I am sure its not an easy task.

This whole campaign is so dumb. What do they expect MS and Sony to do? DRM is necessary on systems where you install games instead of playing off disc. This campaign against DRM is being done by children, not adults.

*Listening* to consumers is one thing, doing something about it is another. Will not be convinced if they don't fix this fiasco.

ir0nw0lf said,
*Listening* to consumers is one thing, doing something about it is another. Will not be convinced if they don't fix this fiasco.

What is it exactly that people want them to do? If its no DRM at all I can assure that is not happening. Maybe reduce the DRM check to a 72 hour window, but that's about it. DRM is necessary if they want to enable games to play without disc.

Otherwise they've already confirmed used games work, you don't need to be always online, you can sell games at retail and individually, family members can play your games if they're on the same console, you can play your games on any Xbox as long as you sign in. It is basically the same way downloadable games on 360 work today (with the addition of being able to resell).

It's not really an option for MS. Either the software is going to be hardware locked, require a game disk, or it's going to be authorized on any hardware over the Internet. If it's not, no one will release a game for it. Personally I much prefer it linked to my Microsoft account and be able to play it on anyone's system.

-Customers : We want the start MENU back.
-MS : no.
-Customers : Please?.
-MS : no.
-Customers : pretty please?.
-MS : no.
-Customers : whatever, we will stick with windows 7.
-MS : Ok, but only this time.
-MS announcement : MS listen to their customers: the start BUTTON is back.
-Customers : great. Oh, wait a second..

In any case, Steam can offer games with and without DRM. Also GOG offers games without any DRM. Both Steam and GOG are successful platforms. So, if Xbox1 is attached with a draconian DRM then, it is not because the "evil developers" forced MS to do that.

Brony said,
-Customers : We want the start MENU back.
-MS : no.
-Customers : Please?.
-MS : no.
-Customers : pretty please?.
-MS : no.
-Customers : whatever, we will stick with windows 7.
-MS : Ok, but only this time.
-MS announcement : MS listen to their customers: the start BUTTON is back.
-Customers : great. Oh, wait a second..

In any case, Steam can offer games with and without DRM. Also GOG offers games without any DRM. Both Steam and GOG are successful platforms. So, if Xbox1 is attached with a draconian DRM then, it is not because the "evil developers" forced MS to do that.

wait, what? steam offers games without DRM? can you share those games to someone else to install and play free of charge?

Steam definitely does not offer games without DRM. They do exactly what everyone is complaining about here. You can't even play the same game on two systems at the same time with the same account on Steam. Try it. I was just trying to install a game on one system while playing it on another and it kicked me off.

But Steam gets a free pass somehow. I don't get it, people scream murder and fire for DRM. Yet those people have bought NUMEROUS Steam games, even those that are available on GOG.com or similar DRM-free resources...

The hypocrisy is strong with many.

Spicoli said,
Steam definitely does not offer games without DRM. They do exactly what everyone is complaining about here. You can't even play the same game on two systems at the same time with the same account on Steam. Try it. I was just trying to install a game on one system while playing it on another and it kicked me off.

Shadowzz said,
But Steam gets a free pass somehow. I don't get it, people scream murder and fire for DRM. Yet those people have bought NUMEROUS Steam games, even those that are available on GOG.com or similar DRM-free resources...

The hypocrisy is strong with many.


Tut tut don't ya' know only Gabe Newell has a license to bundle mandatory bloatware with games (Will only work on networks with no security ie allowing any port as it uses non standard ones) and link games to online account.

Its not bad when he does it derp!

Shadowzz said,
But Steam gets a free pass somehow. I don't get it, people scream murder and fire for DRM. Yet those people have bought NUMEROUS Steam games, even those that are available on GOG.com or similar DRM-free resources...

The hypocrisy is strong with many.


I think it's because games get frequent and sometimes deep one makes them care. NOT.

the only thing I hate about gaming anymore... the fact that I might not be able to play a game I bought 10yrs form now.... I can still play all my old NES games, SNES, N64, PlayStation, Genesis, Mega Drive, Gameboy, XBOX, XBOX360, PS2, PS3 and almost all PC games either through DOS / hardware emulation or directly because they still work.... now it seems like take SimCity5 for example, that games are purchased as long as the company wants them to be playable.....

neufuse said,
the only thing I hate about gaming anymore... the fact that I might not be able to play a game I bought 10yrs form now.... I can still play all my old NES games, SNES, N64, PlayStation, Genesis, Mega Drive, Gameboy, XBOX, XBOX360, PS2, PS3 and almost all PC games either through DOS / hardware emulation or directly because they still work.... now it seems like take SimCity5 for example, that games are purchased as long as the company wants them to be playable.....

you're making little sense with this one. are you talking about backwards compatibility or are you talking about playing your game on the same console that it was made for?..........or are you talking about playing your game you bought 10yrs ago on an entirely different system?

it seems you're making generalized statement based on 1 game, simCity5. if you're talking about multiplayer games then they own the servers not you, so they can take them offline if they want to. back in the day there were no online multiplayer (until the xbox changed that with xbox Live).
in the days of Gameboy, playstation, NES and it's variants I couldn't play a game with my brother who's in a different country (I had to wait until he visited so I could kick his ass). now I can kick his ass whether he's here or not. I think that's an improvement for gaming.

10yrs from now I won't be playing the same games. well i'm just saying complaining about the longevity of games is sort of a moot point.

In the times of Gameboy, playstation, nes etc. There where multiplayer games for PC's already. Also the Gameboy had (very limited) multiplay.

And if you think MAXIS is in every right to close down their online servers whenever they see fit, you are wrong.

I can tell you one thing if MS does this Sony will also. Their is no way MS goes DRM crazy while Sony offers the world on a platter without some consequences.

MS will either get favored treatment by 3rd parties, or Sony will end up doing the same thing and are just letting MS take the brunt of the bad feedback.

People are deluding themselves if you they don't realize this.

swanlee said,
I can tell you one thing if MS does this Sony will also. Their is no way MS goes DRM crazy while Sony offers the world on a platter without some consequences.

MS will either get favored treatment by 3rd parties, or Sony will end up doing the same thing and are just letting MS take the brunt of the bad feedback.

People are deluding themselves if you they don't realize this.


Well, what Neowin likes to forget is that this rumor was about Sony as well... ALL of them were... And they have not been proven wrong for them either...

I hope that people now understand the whole BS about 'rumours' being true or not. This is called MARKET RESEARCH. It is highly likely that MSFT had the original idea of always-on internet connection and due to the backlash, decided to lax it a bit. Whether this is factual or not is irrelevant, what matters is that MSFT is watching it closely, so the louder people complain about such rumours, the better.

Good to hear. Hopefully this gets addressed...

the worst part to me is that this isn't a result of them wanting to push DRM, but rather the result of their trying to reinvent the wheel and require all these games to be installed...

this is why rumor or not it's wise to provide feedback, so that the manufactures can make changes whilst there in a position to do so.

In beta, alpha or a rumor for a product on the horizon, voice concerns, add ideas you never know enough of them might cause a change.

They certainly need to do something to address this. What if your internet goes down? You'd be without your games until its restores, which is pretty stupid; or what about those folks that don't actually HAVE internet, it's not mandatory for people to be connected, after all. Are they too small a market for MS to care about?

FarCry3r said,
Can't you wait for them to address these issues?

Microsoft are not completely stupid. They already know what they're going to do about this, and are just withholding the information to either drive up public conjecture, or want to delay a massive poo-storm.

I don't have an issue with DRM, but tying DRM to an online requirement really is bloody stupid. Not, however, quite as bloody stupid as MS allowing the conjecture to continue.

They say there's no such thing as bad publicity, but hey, Microsoft, how'd the bad publicity go with Vista, huh? Or the bad press Windows 8 is getting? Is that working out for you? Didn't think so...

FloatingFatMan said,

Microsoft are not completely stupid. They already know what they're going to do about this, and are just withholding the information to either drive up public conjecture, or want to delay a massive poo-storm.

I don't have an issue with DRM, but tying DRM to an online requirement really is bloody stupid. Not, however, quite as bloody stupid as MS allowing the conjecture to continue.

They say there's no such thing as bad publicity, but hey, Microsoft, how'd the bad publicity go with Vista, huh? Or the bad press Windows 8 is getting? Is that working out for you? Didn't think so...


Agreed. They need to drop this and announce such FAST...

No, I think the reason for the drm requirement is, the games will install to the HDD and be playable without a disc being present. If they don't validate the install, MS themselves would become pirates!
My guess would be if you don't have an internet connection and validation is needed you need to insert the disc!

FloatingFatMan said,
They certainly need to do something to address this. What if your internet goes down? You'd be without your games until its restores, which is pretty stupid; or what about those folks that don't actually HAVE internet, it's not mandatory for people to be connected, after all. Are they too small a market for MS to care about?

Does your Tivo stop working when the Internet goes down? It needs to connect to the internet to get the guide data, but if it can't connect the thing still works. If you're living in an area where Internet is going down for days at a time, then you have bigger concerns than buying the new Xbox or PS4.

People without internet are probably too unprofitable of a market to focus on. The main goal is probably to get every single Xbox owner online.

Avatar Roku said,

Does your Tivo stop working when the Internet goes down? It needs to connect to the internet to get the guide data, but if it can't connect the thing still works. If you're living in an area where Internet is going down for days at a time, then you have bigger concerns than buying the new Xbox or PS4.

The world is much larger than America alone. Believe it or not, not everyone has permanent internet connectivity, or even wants it. Many people have download quota's that they don't want being used by things like this. Many people also actually turn their routers off when not on their computers.

American cities might be ready for always on connectivity, but most of the rest of the world is not. Microsoft need to handle the needs of the many, not the few, or their new console just won't sell.

FloatingFatMan said,
^ Forced install to HD, for a games console, is completely stupid anyway. It defeats the whole point of games consoles!

That good point but keep in mind that the HD is far fast the CD/DVD and Blu-ray drive is.

FloatingFatMan said,
^ Forced install to HD, for a games console, is completely stupid anyway. It defeats the whole point of games consoles!

And why that is a bad thing? It allows for faster loading, so why not?

Juan Smith said,
Spin imminent. Prepare for spin.

"Xbox One Has Failed Even Before Launch As Microsoft Prepares To Respond To Criticism"

Lone Wanderer Chicken said,
Keep in mind it not Microsoft behind the Drm, it is the game developers!

whoever it is - microsoft supports it. check xbox music .. its a pain sometimes

-adrian- said,

whoever it is - microsoft supports it. check xbox music .. its a pain sometimes

I do think the majority won't care.

Shadowzz said,

Nothing to do with the record labels huh?

SO you can get Record Label music just with DRM? On every servce? I dont think so!

"I am also working on a few things to address it,"

Probably means he's trying to get the green light from above to give out details before E3.

GP007 said,
"I am also working on a few things to address it,"

Probably means he's trying to get the green light from above to give out details before E3.


Here's hoping... LOL

Thank you Microsoft!! You listen to your consumers (although often the loudest are always heard). Hopefully all will be revealed at E3!

ingramator said,
Thank you Microsoft!! You listen to your consumers (although often the loudest are always heard). Hopefully all will be revealed at E3!

The reality is that DRM is necessary if they are letting you play all of your games without the disc. People can scream all they want, but the premium game business is dying under the current status quo. Sony will have a very similar DRM system in place. All they can do now is hone their message and accentuate the positive. "Now you can download your games on any console in the world and share them with friends while you're signed into Xbox Live!" "Not only can you exchange games at your local retailers, but you can now even exchange games you purchased on disc for new release games on Xbox Live." People are making a big deal out of nothing.

Avatar Roku said,

The reality is that DRM is necessary if they are letting you play all of your games without the disc. People can scream all they want, but the premium game business is dying under the current status quo. Sony will have a very similar DRM system in place. All they can do now is hone their message and accentuate the positive. "Now you can download your games on any console in the world and share them with friends while you're signed into Xbox Live!" "Not only can you exchange games at your local retailers, but you can now even exchange games you purchased on disc for new release games on Xbox Live." People are making a big deal out of nothing.

The status quo *is* DRM, that and ****ty games. More DRM isn't going to do jack **** to help their bottom line. They don't necessarily have to go DRM-free, the archaic game publishers will never buy that, but they can do it Steam-style with the convenience that goes with it.