Is the New Xbox Killing the Gaming Community?

In an attempt to quell a building storm against Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) new Xbox One, the company released more details this past week about digital rights management and online game play.

After keeping everyone in the dark, Microsoft is finally opening up about how gamers will interact with Xbox One games, and it's doubtful that gamers ­-- or investors -- will be happy with its decision.

The DRM's in the details
In Microsoft's blog post yesterday, the company addressed the major points of contention, including an always-on console, game-sharing, and other digital rights management details.

Sure, the Xbox One will let users access their games from anywhere on the cloud, such as while logged in at a friend's house, but gamers are likely to be more concerned about game reselling and sharing limitations.

On the Xbox Wire website, the company said, "Xbox One is designed so game publishers can enable you to give your disc-based games to your friends. There are no fees charged as part of these transfers. There are two requirements: you can only give them to people who have been on your friends list for at least 30 days and each game can only be given once." (Italics added)

So gamers will only be able to sell or give away a disc-based game once, and the people who receive it have to be part of the sellers' online list of Xbox friends for 30 days. Translation: Sharing just a got a whole lot more complicated.

When it comes to reselling and trading in games to stores, Microsoft says the option will be there, but game publishers will decide the extent of the conditions.

Who knew personal property could be so hard to sell?

Always-on turns gamers off
Xbox also clarified the idea of an always-on Internet connection for the new console, saying that it would have to be connected at least every 24 hours -- or once every hour if users are accessing games from a console they don't own -- for users to use the gaming portion of the device.

In a separate blog post, Xbox said, "Offline gaming is not possible after these prescribed times until you reestablish a connection, but you can still watch live TV and enjoy Blu-ray and DVD movies." So basically, it needs to be connected almost all of the time for users to play games. It can be argued that most people buying an Xbox One console will have a high-speed Internet connection, but it's easy to think of scenarios where users would want to play games and won't have access to the Internet.

Deal-breaker or no big deal?
The big question is whether the reselling restrictions and (almost) always-on requirement will make gamers shy away form the device. Microsoft seems to have sided more with gaming companies, rather than users, by instituting some of these hurdles. The Xbox One definitely doesn't come across as an open device that encourages sharing and community-0building -- something the previous Xbox did well.

So far, Microsoft has turned off the only group of people who are actually interested in the device. At this point, it doesn't seem that the Xbox One has made any waves with the average electronics consumer looking for a streaming device, particularly when a Roku unit can be had for just $50 and the Xbox One is estimated to start around $400.

Although the Xbox One was highly anticipated, investors should take note of the disappointment surfacing within the gaming community. That's not to say that Microsoft won't sell a lot of units, but it may not enjoy the console dominance it's experienced over the past few years.

In the past, the Xbox console has been a bright spot for Microsoft -- and investors need it to stay that way. But with the gaming community's concern over the Xbox One's constraints, the console's success may be in jeopardy. Meanwhile, Microsoft is struggling in mobile, and its latest Windows OS has been highly criticized. Continuing a history of strong demand for Xboxes would be a welcomed sight. In a new premium report on Microsoft, a Motley Fool analyst explains that while the opportunity is huge for the company, so are the challenges. The report includes regular updates as key events occur, so make sure to claim a copy of this report now by clicking here.


Read/Post Comments (20) | Recommend This Article (3)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On June 09, 2013, at 2:26 PM, mmgonline wrote:

    Um The author knows nothing obviously. The gaming community will not die because of Microsoft. Nor will it be overly hurt. The gaming community AS A WHOLE has already dealt with used PC games. It has been OVER a decade since PC stopped being able to play used games etc. Always on? Many PC games have be "always on" to play (always on as in always logged on).

  • Report this Comment On June 09, 2013, at 2:50 PM, mxpxboy wrote:

    Was thinking about getting both Xbox One and PS4. Now, I'll just stick to the PS4.

    We can not condone or support these anti-consumer practices Microsoft is starting. Vote with your money.

  • Report this Comment On June 09, 2013, at 2:53 PM, Junito25 wrote:

    this is not such a big deal. things change alot in the gaming world. we will adapt to the change and it will be like it never happened. this isint a problem to worry about. you don't buy a game system if you don't know the restrictions or the risks. if people are going to worry about something small like this, they might as well not buy the system at all.

  • Report this Comment On June 09, 2013, at 2:56 PM, mgitype wrote:

    Microsoft does not rule the gaming industry,and nobody will be affected. It is our choice what we buy, not the company's. And MMGonline, TYPING like THIS wont GET your POINT AcRoSs. Even when you're wrong. Have you ever been deployed? Lived out in the country? Been in an area with multiple power outages? They cannot be online at all times. And they should not have to be. If you play computer games, of course you're always online. It's a computer. Consoles are not PCs, and not every console coming out should have to follow in Steam's footsteps.

  • Report this Comment On June 09, 2013, at 2:57 PM, gearsofwarking wrote:

    Yes, it's a big deal. The console will fail because of the internet requirement

  • Report this Comment On June 09, 2013, at 3:05 PM, saturnfreaker wrote:

    Um, mmgonline obviously thinks HE knows more about the future than the author does.

    mmgonline, when someone posts articles QUESTIONING the future...it's just that.......QUESTIONING. You are attacking the author's mere postulation and implying that you "know" what is GOING to happen.

    The entire subject of this article is a prediction. Nobody can claim to "know" what will happen. The author makes no such claim, but your attack on him does.

    His use of words include:

    - seems

    - the big question is

    - may not

    - may be

    Your use of words includes:

    - the author knows nothing

    - will not

    - nor will it be

    You use good facts as evidence to back up your claims. But you make your claims out to be set in stone, and you attack the author's mere predictions while doing so.

    So mmgonline, please try to keep your pretentious attitude out of comment boxes.

  • Report this Comment On June 09, 2013, at 3:20 PM, jacques38 wrote:

    I considered buying the Xbox one but after reading this article, I stick to my Xbox360 Kinect. Keeping this system on for 24hrs will make someone electric bill go up thus it's not worth the hassle.

  • Report this Comment On June 09, 2013, at 3:25 PM, Jackace777 wrote:

    It obvious that Microsoft is trying to create a system that has a purpose in every household similar to the way they put a pc in every home then multiple pc's and so on. Great idea poor execution. This should have been from the get go and they are just failing. First windows 8 and now this? I have no desire for any features other than gaming and occasional gaming online. What will happen when I just want to play forza 5 offline?

  • Report this Comment On June 09, 2013, at 3:26 PM, gscindian wrote:

    Microsoft is about to fail big time!

    Who's going to want to pay $400.00 for a system, and the system doesn't do the basic service it's supposed to be designed for without being strapped to an internet connection..."gaming!"

    They control if you can take a game to your friends houseto play with them, they control if you can buy a game sell it and someone else can't use it because it's registered to you, they control your right to "CHOOSE" to play online or offline now. I'm sorry, I remember the days of all niter's with my friends, everyone bringing their games and playing to the wee hours in the morning. (no internet required) Only time we needed internet was for Halo or we'd just connect XBOXes together and make a lan in the dorm. How about going back even further and taking the PlayStation 1 out in a back pack to go over your neighbors house that didn't have any game consoles at all, and sharing those games and experiences. If Sony doesn't take advantage of whoever is in charge of Microsoft's latest blundering, they fail too! I wont buy another console, or Microsoft PC game ever. I'll be on Nintendo, and Linux until they try to be dictators too. My hard earned cash will be making my vote this coming year. Neither the console manufacturer's nor the game developers are going to corner me into how I'm going to enjoy my paycheck!

  • Report this Comment On June 09, 2013, at 3:37 PM, mrmarqui21 wrote:

    right on mgitype and mxpxboy

    @mmgonline I'll tell you a secret about PC's maybe you didn't know but I can go and DOWNLOAD almost any game you've bought in the last decade and YES it would be for free and YES it would be considered used. How you can compare the sheer scope of the PC gaming world with the sliver of freedom a user has with home console gaming is beyond me.

    IMO Microsoft made a really bad decision in the name of GREED. They might as well rent XBOX One's because it is more than FOOLISH to pay 400+ dollars to own something you don't really own that's suppose to do something it doesn't REALLY do. You're basically buying permission(limited permission)

  • Report this Comment On June 09, 2013, at 3:40 PM, TBPlayer2112 wrote:

    Regarding PC's and Steam: Steam has an offline mode. They only require you to be online when you purchase/register your game. After that you can easily go into off-line mode for w/e reason, or if your connection drops you're still able to play single player games. Obviously you'll need to be connected for on-line multiplayer or MMO's.

    MS has chosen to side with the publishers this generation and the consumer is getting the shaft. The benefits of console gaming are being able to share your games easily with friends and family and to be able to sell your game for what the market determines the used price to be. On the PC side, yes you can not trade in your games, but with Steam constantly having sales daily you can easily buy top rated AAA titles for less than $10 months after initial release. Valve provides a genuine service to it's customers.

    MS can't put the blame of these restrictions squarely on the publishers like they're trying to do when they themselves participate in building the infrastructure. I've been with MS and the XBox platform since the beginning. I will not be buying their next console and I'm also urging everyone else not to as well. I also won't be supporting Sony if they have similar restrictions with their new hardware. They've been quiet on their policies up to this point.

    PC for me.

  • Report this Comment On June 09, 2013, at 3:45 PM, mrmarqui21 wrote:

    Would you buy a shirt if it came with the restrictions that you could only wear it Mon Wed Fri and couldn't let anyone borrow it unless you get permission from the retailer? If you're outside the restrictions the sleeve holes will work, but not the hole for your head...??

    If you buy it you wouldn't be buying the shirt. You would be buying permission to use the shirt in the ways the retailer sees fit...

    Sounds kinda FOOLISH when you put it that way hu?

  • Report this Comment On June 09, 2013, at 4:32 PM, spongebillybob wrote:

    Here is my opinion. There will be enough people with disposable income and ignorance (the i got to have it because it's new crowd and not particularly what it does or doesnt do) that the systems will sell fine. The hardcore gamers will buy it and the rich will buy it. I do see that they will loose alot of casual customers to the tablet games (yeah, the games are not as 'cool' looking yadda yadda, but they tend to have better story lines, are more addictive and cost less for the most part). I don't know if there are alot like me, but I won't be buying either and I would describe myself as a pretty hard gamer. (Not casual but not hardcore). I just don't like the way the gaming industry is going. It doesn't make sense to me to buy something for 60 bucks and not have the option to trade it or sell it. What about Music CD's, Cars, pretty much anything else that is bought. They don't use this type of, well, from my point, a scam.

  • Report this Comment On June 09, 2013, at 5:04 PM, Siphon92 wrote:

    What angers us gamers isn't really the specifics. The "always connected" function, or the that we can only give a game away once, or sell to pre-approved stores, these are the examples. No, it's the sheer IDEA that Microsoft wants to control how you use their product is the reason why gamers are causing such an outcry, and they see it as stepping stone to bigger things. They're telling you how many times you can give the game YOU BOUGHT away. They are telling you whether or not you can sell your games to other people. How is this a benefit? They are telling you where you can sell your game. They are telling you if they can't verify your game, they'll make the game not work. How does this benefit us, the buyer?

    "Quit crying, PC games have been this way for years." Yea, and it sucks it went that way. It's a nuisance that we've all just learned to accept. Why do we need to accept it here too?

  • Report this Comment On June 09, 2013, at 5:26 PM, SassyGirlMe47 wrote:

    GREED.... MS is not making the money in other business areas and their GREED see's the gaming industry as a way to make more more more..,,,, Greed is what killed their other departments and now it looks like their out to kill their gaming ........I rather invest in another company that doesn't feel they need to be controlling of customers personal property. GREED will be the end of them

  • Report this Comment On June 09, 2013, at 6:00 PM, uberman11 wrote:

    Microsoft thinks that having numerous exclusive games for the xbox one will help their console sell but past history shows that is not always the deciding factor. Look back at the Sega Dreamcast which debuted in 1999. It had some of the best exclusive games of its time and an impressive library debut but customers were sour on Sega's reputation because of the poor handling of the Sega Saturn. People waited for the Playstation 2 which went on to be one of the best selling gaming systems of all time. Granted the circumstances are different for Microsoft but the bottom line is that gamers are very finicky and they will vote with their wallets by not buying if they believe a company has done them wrong. The Xbox One is not a $40-$60 purchase that people will buy on a whim. They are not going to say "you know what, $400 is cheap, I'll forgo my boycott on Microsoft and buy a Xbox One".

  • Report this Comment On June 09, 2013, at 6:31 PM, locsphere wrote:

    We also do not want to be monitored in any way shape or form. Not for marketing purposes. Not to enforce licensing agreements.

    I want to be able to unplug my kinect and not have to use it. I do not want a camera in my home and audio device in my home when the terms of service of the Kinect 1 has language in it that you reserve the right to spy on me in sections 9 and 12. Just because you put a camera in my homme does not mea you get to look and listen and store it. Furthermore, Why does it have to go to a server when I say Xbox on? Why can't the xbox process that? As a matter of fact. The whole voice feature is pointless. Just give me a dam power button. Thats all I want a power button. I don't want to talk to my xbox. Kinect is a ridiculous feature and its gaming application was a joke. Unless you wanted to slash at water melons on your screen. Crappy type app games instead of awesome games that push Graphics and environments. Crysis 1? OMG what a dream!

    This system in terms of hardware is a flop.

    onl 1.6ghz per core? Come on we have been past 3ghz for a while now and nothing should be less.

    Where is the SSD? To cut down on load times.

    Additional 2 tb HDD for storage.

    I mean this thing is such a joke.

    The new Xbox is a DRM, Privacy nightmare.

  • Report this Comment On June 09, 2013, at 6:36 PM, obeseblob wrote:

    that's just stupid I mean this is a gaming console not a computer why should you need an internet connection to play the the games on it I mean you already paid for it and if you have an internet connection you cant use the console you just paid for I mean what the heck was micrsoft thinking

  • Report this Comment On June 09, 2013, at 8:34 PM, Efernal wrote:

    Pc games have almost always been a no go for used games. That is nothing new to gamers and those that want more flexibility with the issue went with a console version. Games cost more on a console but you could sell them to whoever and whenever you wanted to. With these new restrictions Sony, Nintendo and Stem-like services are going to become more popular as the core gamers stay away from this polished dung heap that Microsoft is releasing.

  • Report this Comment On June 10, 2013, at 7:17 AM, Dvoraak wrote:

    PCs and Stream are a poor example of the results of DRM. Yes, it's true that PC games haven't had access to used games in years, but the trade off has been Steam's wonderful seasonal sales where you can buy great games by digging the change out of your couch. Does anyone believe that MS wants to sell games as cheaply?

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