Can’t Trust Their Word

Guys, I know at least a few people who are going to be pissed to hear this, but there is currently a story going around we need to talk about: Apparently XBox One still has online DRM built into the system.

I already can imagine fans of Microsoft calling bullshit as I say this, but when I report on something like this, I look for backed evidence… and usually it comes in the form of major gaming news reporting the incident. This time, however, that is not what I found. What I found is a youtube video capturing it going off.

Doing a little digging, I got the full picture so far. This happened during a qualification tournament for the new Killer Instinct. The qualifiers would then move on to play at New York City’s Defend the North pro gaming event, and the vent was bring broadcast live on Twitch!

Pausing the video to read the text (which is much clearer from the video currently replaying on the Twitch channel), you can read the message: “If you have a game disc, insert it now. If there is no disc, make sure you signed in to Xbox Live. If you don’t have the rights for playing it, you’ll need to buy it at the Xbox Store.”

Offhand, I do not believe Microsoft lied outright. This does not sound like the exact same 24 hour DRM they had at launch. That system was setup to not let you play anything at all without connecting once every 24 hours. However, considering the message is not specific to Killer Instinct (in fact that game does not come on disc at all), suggesting this is a system based DRM designed to have similar restrictions on all digital games. I can not at this time confirm if it’s once every 24 hours like one the announced during E3 was.

Suffice it to say, however, Microsoft snuck something in here, and owners/future buyers of their platform should be aware of it before deciding to make this purchase.

UPDATE: A commenter posted an article here and on the facebook post of this from Lazy gamer claiming this is basically how things always were. If you had a 360 before this is very similar to how that system behaved (and maybe a little easier then it used to be). This would indeed suggest MS kept their word, however it is also worth noting the site picked lived up to their name for not making sure their other examples were correct. So, outside of that point, I'm not sure how seriously I would take it, personally.

But also just as important, this does not change that this is something you should be aware of if you are choosing to buy a new machine. You might not care, or it just might matter to you, but information is information, and that includes the existence of DRM systems at a system level. Once again, owners/future buyers of this platform should be aware of it. That has not changed.


  1. Escapist Magazine: Xbox One DRM crashes Killer Instinct Tournament
  2. Defend the School @ Queens College Twitch channel
  3. Youtube video

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