David Bloom is a Deadline contributor.
Just a week after a splashy but criticized debut at E3, Microsoft has backed off controversial policies for its upcoming Xbox One game console that had clouded its chances against Sony’s competing PlayStation 4. Don Mattrick, who heads Microsoft’s Xbox unit, posted a blog entry saying the company had heard from many gamers and, “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.”The company backed off policies that would have prevented consumers from playing used disc-based games. It also ditched an authentication requirement that the machine check in online at least every 24 hours, even to play games that didn’t need an Internet connection. The company also will remove regional restrictions for games downloaded online. In the post, Mattrick alludes to the blowback, which was massive and could have dramatically lessened sales for the machine during its crucial launch period.
Both the Xbox One and PS4 are set to debut sometime this holiday season in the US and some other territories around the world. The basic Xbox One is set to cost $499, the PS4 $399.