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Xbox One DRM Is a Bid to Take on Steam, Says Xbox One Engineer

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Microsoft’s Xbox One used game policies and online requirements are unpopular among many gamers, but one anonymous engineer claims it’s all in the name of making console gaming more like PC gaming.

As Neowin reports, an anonymous Microsoft Xbox One engineer recently took to Pastebin to explain the points that Microsoft is apparently incapable of communicating with gamers. According to the developer, Microsoft implemented the DRM that restricts used games and makes discs only good for installing games in an effort to make games cheaper in a Steam-like model.

Read: Microsoft Shows Off 13 Exclusive Xbox One Games

Xbox One

On the PC, Steam wraps every game in DRM that prevents gamers from trading in or lending their games. This means there’s no used game market for Steam games. As the anonymous engineer notes, this lets Steam hold its massive sales that dramatically cut the prices of games. On consoles publishers have no incentive to offer massive sales because of the perceived loss of profit from used games.

According to the engineer, Microsoft is trying to move the industry to digital distribution to help bring prices down, but says it’s a “bumpy road.” The transition is difficult to make because retailers like GameStop, Amazon and Walmart are so “entrenched in the industry.” They’re where many console gamers buy their games, so Microsoft has to slowly transition those gamers to digital distribution at first.

The anonymous engineer also talks about Microsoft’s “infinite power of the cloud” initiative, SmartGlass and the new Kinect. The former he claims can handle anything that “doesn’t need per frame calculation and can handle 100ms delays,” which, if true, could more than make up the different between the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 hardware capabilities.

It’s difficult to say if the engineer is who he (or she) claims, but the arguments certainly sound reasonable. As they mention, gamers hated Steam for its DRM when the service first launched, and now it’s the dominant platform for distributing PC games. It makes sense for Microsoft to push for that model, it just either can’t figure out how to communicate that or simply can’t say it for fear of pushing away retail partners.

Shawn is a tech junkie who spends most of his time reading and writing about it. You can follow him on Twitter, @shawn_i.

6 Comments

  1. XboxNoMore

    06/15/2013 at 12:32 am

    Xboxone is a dumb idea. The anticompetitive, customer unfriendly nature and thick restrictive layers of DRM and spyware smells of poo.

  2. Prince Sasuke

    06/15/2013 at 7:19 am

    Xbone is NOT a steam. People keep comparing it to steam and it’s absolutely ridiculous. Steam is FREE. It’s not a god damn console. You don’t have to pay out the ass for games, a console, and controllers. It will always have guaranteed backwards compatibility, it has HUGE daily sales, it does not have physical discs and it does not require you pay a subscription for multiplayer. It has an offline mode, and you can easily play it anywhere. Steam has dedicated modders.This is ALL not true at all for xbone.

    Do NOT compare Steam to Xbone. Sit your stupid asses down.

    When Xbone servers are shut down in the future, you are going to be left with a rock and a bunch of games with absolutely no value. Do not compare that shit to Steam.

    • Matthew

      06/16/2013 at 5:24 am

      Did you have steam when it first released?

      If you did, you’d know, people hated on it left right and centre, and when the store was released? My God it got worst. We didn’t get good prices on steam for a long while. It didn’t have an offline mode and it was a bastard to sign into sometimes.

      Xbox One is currently where Steam was when it started.

      Comparing Xbox One to what Steam is right in this instance is moronic yes, but saying that following in its footsteps is bad, is also moronic.

      Growing pains, get used to them, or get used to being shafted by Gamestop.

    • Monthigos (@Monthigos)

      06/17/2013 at 6:24 am

      And you don’t have to pay for a PC? To get a halfway decent rig you are going to be paying more than $500. I should know, I build my own PCs. Steam was also hugely unpopular when it got started, but gained traction with it’s sales. Let’s not forget that Steam’s workshop (aka modding community) is relatively new. Xbone hasn’t even gotten started. We just don’t know yet what kind of deals MS will be offering.

    • Nick Catalano

      06/17/2013 at 4:00 pm

      You’re right X-box One is not Steam. Hardware can’t be software. Your argument is invalid. This article is comparing the the DRM policies of Xbox One and Steam. Steam isn’t a device that you can use to simplify your living room. It’s just an application that digitally trades new games for money. Of course Its free. Microsoft produced a product that does waaaaay more than that. Microsoft is giving you a computer that allows you to comfortably control multiple forms of media and entertainment on one platform. You may not subscribe to steam to play online but for most games you subscribe to the publisher of that game to play online. X-box has ONE subscription that grants online access to all games and more.

      $500 to watch TV (with an interactive guide), watch NFL games (without direct TV), watch blu-ray movies, record game-play, post that game-play footage or what ever else to any online network (ex. Facebook), instant stream my game-play online, skype, surf the internet, pause my game travel across the country to my friends house then unpause the game, assist friends by taking over with remote access in their game or vise versa, instantly switch between all these operations, operate multiple systems at the same time side by side, control everything with my voice, control even more with my phone, consistent game achievement evolution that rewards more than just points. buy an ultra HD TV in year or two when most games are made to use that resolution. How much would it cost to do that individually using multiple platforms? All in all that price seems reasonable. Oh yeah I almost forgot….GAMES AT A LOW COST!!!

      Sony has the superior product, but that superiority is based only on what gamers currently consider valuable. That is understandable. Microsoft, though, has a superior vision. That vision will create and change what gamers consider valuable. Values that mostly X-box One will hold. Unless Microsoft, the company that dominated this industry for the past 4-5 years and has more resources than Its competitors, just said f*** it and doesn’t care that Sony is set to push them out of one of the worlds most profitable industries.

  3. Martellus Maximus

    06/16/2013 at 9:13 pm

    prince sasuke calm your fanboy ass down. If Microsoft does follow in the footsteps of steam, that’s a good thing right? The only person who could cast a negative light on this, is none other a idiotic ps/nintendo fanboy. Give it time and we’ll see what Microsoft has in store. Granted, I’m not planning on running out and buying the xone as it is now, that would be completely idiotic. But when Microsoft sees their sales plunging below Sony’s, they’ll wise up, start offering discounts, and start undoing some of their ridiculous restrictions. And Matthew is correct to compare the xone to an early version of Steam. Sasuke you just need to pull your head out of your ass.

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