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Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Xbox 180

   The recent 180 that Microsoft has done regarding its restrictive Xbox One console features and policies has taken many by surprise, not only because no one (including myself) believed they would revise their standpoint, but simply because they seemed to dig their heels in and refuse to listen or budge on the matter in the face of overwhelming opposition and anger. But under pressure, and facing commercial annihilation, Microsoft finally relented and dropped their very controversial restrictions they had so vehemently defended over the past several weeks.

   Gone are the restrictions placed on lending/selling/trading your games, where games were tied to an account and nothing more than pay-to-play licences. Now consumer ownership seems to be restored, leaving consumers to do with their games what they wish, as the system for game ownership and used games will work as it does currently. Gone is the dreaded 24h mandatory software validation, as the console no longer needs the internet to function, though an internet connection is required upon first time setup of the Xbox One console, swings and roundabouts people! The region locking has also gone up in smoke as the console will be region free, good news for importers, that’s if there is anything worth importing on the system that is.

   While this story has a good ending in that gamers have brought about a good meaningful change, just like in the case of the Mass Effect 3 ending, for Microsoft at least, it was a simple business decision born out by simple financial fact: if they didn’t drop the console restrictions and recant, the Xbox One would turn into a financial disaster, one that would only add to the Windows 8 debacle. Microsoft still want to block used games, have an always on machine and have a controlled eco system, but seeing how little pre-orders were being placed for their console, and little interest in it outside of the controversy, they had little choice but to change tack.

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