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Microsoft Caves under User Backlash! Stringent Xbox One sharing Policies Altered

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Microsoft’s unveiling of its next generation console named Xbox One received quite some flak owing to its stringent and restrictive sharing policies. Gamers everywhere including owners of Xbox 360 were dismayed and angered about not being able to share, trade or resell their games. My assumption was that people at Microsoft were just testing public reaction in response to these policies and  Don Mattrick, president of interactive entertainment business division retracted from them. “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,” he declared.

Taking a completely 180 degrees to their prior stance and citing “feedback from Xbox community”, Micrsoft has dropped two controversial and much criticized policies. Gamers would breathe a sigh of relief as now they would be able to share, resell or exchange their disc based games same way they did for Xbox 360.

Remaining connected and tethered to the internet 24/7 was another stipulation put forth at unveiling of the new console. The rationale behind it was deemed to be anti-piracy measures but it received the same backlash as the sharing policy. Thankfully the 24-hour connection requirement has been dropped. All disc based games would now be played without ever going online.

Xbox One chalked up quite some notoriety before even hitting the shelves! The new policies were loathed and put down by angry consumers around the globe. Sony’s PS4 which is considered an arch rival to Xbox benefitted tremendously from the entire hubbub and statistics are clearly indicative of it. According to a report after Xbox One’s reveal, PS4’s pre order and market shares skyrocketed as disappointment Xbox owners turned towards it. Sony took full advantage of the situation and leveraged it in their favor by highlighting PS4’s ease of sharing games at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). However Microsoft realizing the gravity and drastic nature of the situation took preemptive measures but some restrictions still remain in place. For example games downloaded via Xbox Live will still not be shareable or resalable by their owners. Microsoft has also indefinitely shelved the idea of allowing 10 family members to share disc based games even if the game discs aren’t present in the console.  Games would now be played in the same style as Xbox 360 meaning the disc needs to be in the console tray.

The point to ponder here is that has this U-turn come in too late for Microsoft? The initial toll Xbox One preorders had taken in wake of the announcement of policies is irreversible now. Plus the price tag on the new Xbox remains $100 dollar higher than its arch nemesis which is around $399.  Xbox One would be dependent on its Kinect 2.0 motion sensing and voice detecting controller which looks quite good at the moment. Let’s just hope it’s enough to salvage the next-gen console’s already dubious image.

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