So by now everyone knows, Microsoft has officially ditched their DRM policies and allowed you the ability to share your games the same way you've done it for...well, ever. On the surface this seems like a great decision, a sigh of relief for consumers the world over, and at first, I would have agreed.
But hold the phone.
This isn't exactly the 180 that everyone has oh-so cleverly branded it. What seems like a full blown reversal could very well be a carefully concocted scheme to make you believe that Microsoft is listening, when the reality could easily be that nothing will change. At the very least, used games and loaning will be back to the way they should be, but what about that other part?
You know, the 'mandatory internet connection?'
Microsoft stated that you could play any game that doesn't require an internet connection offline, for any amount of time, and that no check in's would be required. That's great, but only on a basic level. This may not have the profound impact that the internet would lead you to believe. In fact, it's entirely possible that very little will even change in that regard. To start this off, let's play a game.
Re-watch the Microsoft conference, any interviews conducted afterward, and any articles posted. How many times did someone refer to 'the power of the cloud?' Chances are you've got a list numbering in the hundreds.
Sounds innocent enough, right?
But it isn't. Microsoft has likely spent thousands upon thousands of dollars preparing these cloud servers, and it's obvious they are an integral part of the Xbox One. Take a look at the games they announced, almost every single one mentioned cloud computing as a major focus for the game. Dead Rising, Forza, Sunset Overdrive, Titanfall, hell even Below had a mention of it.
So if developers are integrating it to such a large extent, it means only one thing. That you're still going to require an internet connection to use any cloud powered games. If these developers are to be believed, it's not something they can simply turn off if you aren't connected. And that means that you're still forced to connect to the internet, just like you would have before. And that means very little has changed.
Even if cloud processing has nothing to do with the game itself, developers and Microsoft could easily just slap those two innocuous words into the marketing and, again, require you to be connected due to the 'essential' nature of the cloud. And when a majority of the games they've even announced are 'connected' experiences anyway, it only further complicates the sudden 'reversal' of mandatory connections.
So in the end of all this, it's entirely possible that not much could change. You can be sure Microsoft Studios will continue pushing cloud connectivity for the majority of their games, and third parties will likely follow. While the situation is significantly better now, we're not entirely out of the water just yet.
Yes, it's not a dictatorship anymore, but it's still a poor leader with views that can best be described as unclear. The skeptic in me doesn't believe that Microsoft will truly do away with the internet check in's, but simply re-brand them. Like a politician, Microsoft is saying what it needs to say to get the vote, but will they actually follow through and do what's right?
Let's just say Microsoft isn't getting my vote just yet.