At the back end of E3, things weren’t looking so great for the Xbox One, having displeased the gaming press and gamers alike with restrictive DRM policies. Since then, Microsoft performed a “180” on the controversial DRM requirement and have now gone about trying to appease fans who were turned off by the console. Things are now looking fairly stable for the company as they try and make up ground initially lost to the PlayStation 4.
However, along with the essential Kinect, one of the remaining complaints from detractors is that nothing would stop Microsoft from reinstating those very same DRM policies that caused such a ruckus when the system was announced.
To dispute that notion, Albert Penello, Microsoft Director of Product Planning, took to NeoGAF. When talking about the possibility of DRM coming back, he said:
“I don’t see that ever happening with content you’re buying today on either disc and digitally.”
Panello claims that the DRM was essential to the Xbox One because there had been no security on a game’s disc, making it easy to pirate:
“All of that DRM stuff was in place because there was no physical security on the disc itself, so all the licensing was done digitally. When you build that type of model, then you need to make sure people can’t install games on a bunch of machines, then unplug them.”
He then went on to say that since there are now security measures on the physical discs, it made the DRM policies “unnecessary” and thus, “there would be no reason to turn it on later.”
Going on to play devil’s advocate, he said that the only reason Microsoft would reintroduce a similar online architecture would be if they decided to bring back family sharing policies. “So IF you wanted to have a game and have that family sharing, always-in-the-cloud, and digital loaning — then we might add those requirements back.” The Family Sharing system was a favorable part of the original Xbox One’s infrastructure – that allowed games to be shared by several family members and even non-family members. It was one of the commended services of the Xbox One before the DRM reversal, and it seems that in order for it to return, the system would have to also bring back some of those unpopular DRM policies with it.
Microsoft has long stated that their Digital Rights Management restrictions were an anti-piracy measure for the system, meaning that a console so reliant on the Cloud and digital media would be well-protected from gamers who weren’t so willing to play by the rules. Some fans have suggested that DRM was a measure to control players and the entire market, but Penello isn’t singing a new tune. Microsoft has said similar things in the past, and Penello’s reasoning is sound, providing, of course, that they don’t decide to bring back Family Sharing.
If Microsoft sticks to their guns and keeps their old DRM policies off the Xbox One, would you feel better about the console? Would you like to see Family Sharing back as part of the Xbox service? If so, could you deal with a Digital Rights Management coming back too?