Microsoft’s About-Face on DRM

Remember how Microsoft’s DRM/Once-a-day Internet connection on XBox had everyone angry?  Well, they’re taking it out.

Of course removing it changes some features:

  • Physically purchased games won’t “follow” the player to other machines (digital content will of course).  You’ll need to take the disk with you.
  • Game sharing with family members is gone.

That tells me one important thing – Microsoft really figured people were going to go for this or accept it, it’s integrated enough into their plans and technology.  I think they were actually surprised (and it seems this will be removed at first login, so they really were planning on this going through).

This is good overall.  Microsoft listened.  I’m hoping that will steer the Xbox towards a better evolution toward the seemingly inevitable living room media machine.

– Steven


The Inevitable SimCity Launch Post

Look you knew it was coming.  I’ve been analyzing game careers for awhile, and then EA dumps a big pile of SimCity follies in my lap.  Of course I was going to write about.

If you didn’t hear what happened with SimCity 2013, here’s the skinny: EA’s latest version of the game required a persistent internet connection (yeah, DRM any way you slice it).  The downloads, the server load, etc. caused all sorts of outages that in turn made it awful hard for people to actually play the game they paid for.

Of course they were mocked understandable across the internet.  EA added more servers and offered a free game to early adopters – after removing the supposedly so-critical features that required an always-on-internet connection.  Marketing was apparently suspendedAmazon pulled downloads.  There’s a petition to just yank the DRM, and a Kickstarter for a DRM-free competitor.

And so, here I am, looking at the bizarre mess trying to figure what to say.  So first, let me get to my analysis.

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