Back on the Xbox One reveal day, I spent some time with Mitch Koch, the Xbox finance chief.
When I asked him about the Xbox One DRM restrictions on game sharing, he was a bit vague on details, since, I think, the company was still trying to gauge how the trial balloons it had sent up over the restrictions would fly.
However, what he wasn’t vague about was the fact that Microsoft wanted to put a serious dent in game piracy. He made it clear that the reason for the potential restrictions on game sharing with the new Xbox One was in large part about the huge amount of money the game industry lost every year to cheats and vagabonds.
It made sense, but his words made it seem as if he and others at Microsoft were ignoring the potential PR disaster brewing over the game-sharing restrictions. The early reactions among the gaming community were very negative, something that was pretty easy to predict. After all, anyone familiar with gaming knows an integral part of the culture is the sharing, borrowing, and renting of games, and anything that restricted that would cause an immediate uproar.
Well, the good news is that while the company has shown that it’s a bit out of touch with the gaming community at the launch of this generation, it’s not completely crazy. Today Microsoft announced it was doing the wise thing by announcing a complete reversal of the game-sharing restrictions.
Good move, Microsoft. Gaming console cycles are long and aren’t won in a few months, but early impressions can make a substantial difference, and there is no reason to keep digging a hole so deep with a stupid policy that getting out of would be impossible.