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You complained, and Microsoft listened.

In an incredible turn of events, Microsoft has changed its mind on a handful of the Xbox One policies that had many gamers up in arms.

Don Mattrick, the president of the company’s Interactive Entertainment Business, just wrote a blog post detailing the huge changes, which are also reflected in the updated Xbox One Q&A.

“Since unveiling our plans for Xbox One, my team and I have heard directly from many of you, read your comments and listened to your feedback,” Mattrick wrote. “I would like to take the opportunity today to thank you for your assistance in helping us to reshape the future of Xbox One.”

Among the changes:

  • The console does not have to connect to the Internet every 24 hours
  • Internet connection is only required when first setting up the console
  • Whether you’re online or offline, all downloaded games will function the same
  • No additional restrictions on trading games or loaning discs — you can share and rent Xbox One games just like you can with Xbox 360 games
  • No more regional restrictions

Microsoft had taken some heat for requiring the console to be connected to the Internet all the time, including some harsh words from very angry military personel. Mattrick actually said last week that those who do not have Internet should stick with the Xbox 360. Microsoft last week launched a refreshed Xbox 360 and plans to continue supporting the console.

Follow-up: POLL: Microsoft just made big policy changes — Now will you buy an Xbox One?

Advantages of that approach included the ability to play games via the cloud, for example when logging into your Xbox Live account at a friend’s house. It appeared that the company was going to continue demonstrating the value of the approach to win over hard-core gamers for Xbox One, but now they’ve reversed their decision.

Microsoft and Sony just wrapped up a week at the big E3 conference, with much of the attention on console price ($499 for the Xbox One vs. $399 for the Playstation 4), the Xbox One’s restrictions on video game sharing, and its requirement for regular Internet connectivity. While Microsoft spent time defending itself on the big Xbox One changes, Sony landed a series of statements (and jokes) designed to point out where its PlayStation 4 differs from Microsoft’s new console.

Here’s Mattrick’s post in full:

Last week at E3, the excitement, creativity and future of our industry was on display for a global audience.

For us, the future comes in the form of Xbox One, a system designed to be the best place to play games this year and for many years to come. As is our heritage with Xbox, we designed a system that could take full advantage of advances in technology in order to deliver a breakthrough in game play and entertainment. We imagined a new set of benefits such as easier roaming, family sharing, and new ways to try and buy games. We believe in the benefits of a connected, digital future.

Since unveiling our plans for Xbox One, my team and I have heard directly from many of you, read your comments and listened to your feedback. I would like to take the opportunity today to thank you for your assistance in helping us to reshape the future of Xbox One.

You told us how much you loved the flexibility you have today with games delivered on disc. The ability to lend, share, and resell these games at your discretion is of incredible importance to you. Also important to you is the freedom to play offline, for any length of time, anywhere in the world.

So, today I am announcing the following changes to Xbox One and how you can play, share, lend, and resell your games exactly as you do today on Xbox 360. Here is what that means:

  • An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games– After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again. There is no 24 hour connection requirement and you can take your Xbox One anywhere you want and play your games, just like on Xbox 360.
  • Trade-in, lend, resell, gift, and rent disc based games just like you do today – There will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360.

In addition to buying a disc from a retailer, you can also download games from Xbox Live on day of release. If you choose to download your games, you will be able to play them offline just like you do today. Xbox One games will be playable on any Xbox One console — there will be no regional restrictions.

These changes will impact some of the scenarios we previously announced for Xbox One. The sharing of games will work as it does today, you will simply share the disc. Downloaded titles cannot be shared or resold. Also, similar to today, playing disc based games will require that the disc be in the tray.

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.

Thank you again for your candid feedback. Our team remains committed to listening, taking feedback and delivering a great product for you later this year.

Previously on GeekWire: Microsoft says you can tether your phone for Xbox One check-ins

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Comments

  • David

    So it sounds like the sharing library and being able to access your games anywhere by logging in our gone now. Thats too bad in my multi-xbox house. I liked the fact I would only have to buy the game once.

    • voleheart

      no they only took away the bad not the good. you will still be able to do that. cloud is still there.

      • Ryan Parrish

        Actually that doesn’t look like the case, look at what he said:
        “Downloaded titles cannot be shared or resold. Also, similar to today, playing disc based games will require that the disc be in the tray.”

        • voleheart

          yeah i feel like a jer for saying that now sorry! i read on gdgt they would keep the good but then they updated saying no more of that which makes this no longer next gen

  • richardshort2001

    In other words, it will be a game console that allows you to play games you purchase. Also, when you purchase a game you own the disc. How quaint.

    • guest

      You are correct, Dick. It also means game consoles will stay firmly planted in last decade’s distribution models while tablets and smartphones, which are increasingly taking over the gaming space, won’t be saddled with that increasingly archaic baggage. Hard core gamers get to keep their horses while the rest of world embraces the automobile.

      • Guest

        Don’t see how this change closes the door on new distribution methods. This sounds like a both/and solution rather than either/or.

  • Ryan Parrish

    A classic case, luddites ruined it for the rest of us.

    • Guest

      Yeah, but also an epic PR fail by MS. If they had done a better job explaining the benefits and why that meant some tradeoffs, negative reaction might have been lesser and perhaps they could have implemented their plans unchanged. Instead the negative reaction spread and became a tsunami, which ultimately forced them to cave.

  • Onehub

    We’re excited to see how Xbox One in the cloud will increase accessibility for gamers!

  • Viet Nguyen

    Good to see that Microsoft listened, but ‘complained’ is being very generous. There was a torrential flood of negative commentary blasting the Xbox One online requirement and game restrictions. There is a lot of PR work to be done with the gaming community here. Our friends in Redmond ought to be up to the task.

  • John boy

    still be buyin a PS4 but now I will buy a xbox one as well, woot. microsoft really scared me for a little while there, happy they got some sense.

  • Guest

    Thanks, Don! It’s great to hear Microsoft listening to its customers. Just lower the price from $499 to $99, the price I pay for my smartphones, and I’ll pick up One.

    • Trolls are such dumbasses

      That “$99″ phone is subsidized by your carrier.

      • Guest

        So?

        I want my “$99″ console to be subsidized too. Let someone pay for the other $400, not me.

  • Mark

    Family sharing was great. no disks was great. transfer once to a friend okay. trade-in of games, not great value anyway. still buying one though

  • Damian

    Microsoft didn’t change their policies because they listened to, or cared about gamers… If they did, they would have done most of the DRM stuff in the first place. People were complaining about the XBO “features” for months before E3… ever since the first hints started leaking on Twitter. Even after E3, and the storm of bad PR, Microsoft didn’t change. Their policy was literally, “trust us, you’re going to like it.” It was not until after the pre-sale numbers started coming in that Microsoft started to backtrack. They saw that PS4 was out selling then (in pre-sales) by at least 2-1… if not more. That’s why they reversed course, because they were getting their butts kicked by PS4. Not because they listened to the gamers. If the XBO was selling as much as the PS4, do you all really believe they would have backpedaled on DRM???

    DRM in some fashion is at the core of Microsoft’s philosophy. Look at how they regard Windows… The mentality that you don’t own Windows, but are only leasing it. Charging outrageous prices for the “full” version of their OS, forcing 3rd party software on you (that they’ve made deals with), putting restrictions on how you can use it, and even helping the NSA tap into Skype. Look at Windows 8… they made an operating system that is only good if you have a Tablet, ignoring PC users. Or how they made Windows 7 phones obsolete (when many were less than a year old) by not having upgrades to windows 8. It’s a touch screen phone… and yet you can’t upgrade to windows 8??? Or forcing you to pay for XBL to play online while PSN is free. Forcing you to pay $100 more for the Kinect with the XBO, even though most gamers don’t use or want it. Microsoft has always been about forcing their way on the customers, not “listening to what the customers want. By forcing them to buy as many upgrades or extras as possible. Remember what Don Mattrick said about if you’re in the Military or don’t like the XBO, you can just get a 360? He didn’t just make that up out of thin air… he said that because that’s their philosophy.

    Just from looking at their history, Its clear that Microsoft is not a company that “listens” to its customers, and only changes if they are forced to. They are perfectly willing to literally sell out out their customers for gain… even more that the corporate average. Remember how Microsoft released the 360, knew it had the RRD issues? Why… because they knew even with repairs, returns, etc. they would still make more money by beating PS3 out the door by a year. So if you think that they won’t try to re-institute some form of DRM a year or two down the road, you’re kidding yourself. The XBO is the same machine it was before they backpedaled. They just turned the software switch off. Which means all it would take is a software update to re-instate these “features.” As the saying goes… fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Except we’re into double digits on the “fool me” counter.

    • Damian

      Correction… I meant to say “If they did, they wouldn’t have done most of the DRM stuff in the first place.”

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