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After the Storm: What does the Xbox One DRM Switch Mean?



After the hate storm that was E3, Microsoft caved into the consumer“s demands and switched the DRM policies. Now we can trade our games without restrictions just like before! The status quo stays! It“s been one month since E3 and the DRM switch. What exactly will this effect have on the gaming industry?




Just handing over the game

  1. Things will stay the same (for the most part).

This is the obvious result, and exactly what the customers wanted. But that means that things aren“t changing at all, and isn“t that what happens almost every new generation? As I had talked about before, this generation is not providing anything substantially new. This past generation (Wii, Xbox 360, PS3) provided an online community for each system, and that was the substantial new piece of growth. My hope and speculation is that indie game developers are given a chance, like what Sony and the PS4 is doing, and can really show how creative games can get, as the expectations for these AAA games tend to be high, and they can“t always deliver.


Indie games may be experimental in nature, or too short for someone to want to buy it and commit to said buy. However, indie games may actually be the “new innovation†that we all are looking for. Journey has received rave reviews in how few actions you can make. It has been announced that Sony is giving Indie developers a chance with the Playstation 4. The OUYA was released last month, and it“s basically an Android console. That“s a completely digital market already.


Another reason why things will stay the same is that consoles are slower to adapt. This is because a game console is a set product, and the games made for consoles are mostly set products, unlike the potentially ever-expanding MMO games. Computers can be upgraded with parts in order to handle better graphics, or increase RAM. There is also the modding community when it comes to the consoles, but not everyone does this. There is DLC around, and that can make a game last much longer, but not every game will get DLC. In other words, most console games are expected to last only so long.






2. The inevitability of all digital is only delayed


There is also the case of same day digital releases. While the price is the same as grabbing a hard disc, that still doesn“t change the fact that there is a digital release. While some see digital as an inevitable event, some fear this as well. Once everything goes digital, much like in the mobile market, it becomes harder to trade, borrow, or lend games. The Xbox One“s original plan was that one could share copies of their games by allowing only a certain number of people to access the account. It“s possible that Microsoft“s plan with the Xbox One could have been what it sees as something that will happen in the console market one day. With everything eventually going digital (just look at the PC market and Steam), and consoles acting more and more like computers, won“t there be more protection attached to games or accounts?


Again, the hindrance to consoles and handheld markets is that they lack the flexibility of computers, and a new console does not get released every few years. A console is generally deemed to last at least 7 years, and changing rules and policies halfway into a machine“s lifespan probably isn“t the best option.







So Microsoft answered to the fans callings and threats. I can say that I“m relieved about being able to let my friends borrow a hard copy if they want to. Do you think that one day consoles will follow the mobile game route? I think it is an inevitable event, but I can at least say that hard copies will be around for a little while longer.


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Yeah, it's inevitable that consoles will become download-only, but that may still be another two generations away, and contingent on where the world's online infrastructure is at in another 10-20 years.


It's interesting to have watched the progression of the online distribution model. Last generation felt like a solid start to things, but now with this generation, I feel like things will continue to get much more refined and become something that more people want to take part of. Even still, it seems like physical media will still play a large part in things.


Two console cycles from now, I could see digital overtaking physical for the first time, but there will still be physical media then; it'll only have less of an impact than maybe online would be making then.


Nice blog.

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Yeah, it's inevitable that consoles will become download-only, but that may still be another two generations away, and contingent on where the world's online infrastructure is at in another 10-20 years.

I refuse. This would really break my gaming heart. I love being able to see a stack of games right next to my tv. I know they would be cheaper and developers would get more but I still want a physical copy of my games.


The xbox one pushed to soon for this, which I think it really will one day become a thing. But I think we are still at least 30 years from it because the Xbox One while trying to push it forward ended up having a reverse effect and now it's probably going to be delayed.

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Just like what Jason said, it's going to depend on the online infrastructure and stability of cloud storage.

I personally like my physical media. I like being able to have a disc, the instruction manual, and all the stuff you can read on the back.

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In addition to infrastructure, storage capacity is a real issue. For example, PS+ would be awesome on the Vita if the memory wasn't small and expensive. Companies save a lot of money going digital, so they need to pass on the savings to the consumer in the form of large and cheap storage options.

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