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Why the Next Xbox Won’t Have Always On DRM

Written by Austin Griffith

I’m tired, guys. I’m dead tired of these rumors. I love rumors just as much as you. I like to know what’s happening next before it’s happening – that’s what my career is based around – but damn it guys, I’m tired.

I’m tired of all these rumors around the next Xbox.

Sure, I want to know what’s coming next and I want to know when it’s coming, but stop! Every day it seems that something new is coming out. Just today, The Verge proclaimed that the next Xbox will feature “siri-like” voice control, something I don’t doubt at all. Just a few months ago Microsoft released the “Voice Studio” app that had you saying a variety of phrases, most of them consisting of “Xbox On”, “Xbox Off”, “Invite Jason to a Party”, obviously the next Xbox will have these features baked in.

That doesn’t make it any less annoying.

Every day the biggest websites in the industry are posting rumors of things that aren’t plausible at all; Specifically, Microsoft blocking off the next Xbox for Online-Only play. Are you crazy? Do you know how many people don’t have internet, coupled with the amount of people who hate that type of DRM or don’t have a strong enough connection to sustain a constant connection? Hell, even my internet drops every once in a while, and not being able to continue kicking covenant ass while it cuts out would be disastrous.


Why would Microsoft ever do such a thing? That would plain and simple knock GameStop off of the map. No questions asked, if one of the top three consoles stopped allowing the sale of used games to be possible, we’d lose our most loved and hated video games retailer for sure. This would cause fewer games to be sold and preordered and less games floating around. Not to mention the massive amounts of preorders GameStop brings to games simply due to their preorder incentives.

Can you imagine how much backlash there would be if you couldn’t trade in your games? Steam and PC Gaming can get away with it because it’s always been that way. You’ve never been able to trade in modern PC Games, but taking that part away from modern console gaming would have a disastrous fallout, especially for the poor student gamers such as myself.

Another problem with always on DRM? Try before you buy would cease to exist.

Unless Microsoft adopts a system where absolutely every game must have a demo – even full retail games – the era of trading games with a friend for a weekend would also cease to exist. No, in this rumored future of the Next Xbox you’d have to carry a USB around your neck like your house key or trade profiles with a friend for a weekend when you want to try out a game you’re a bit antsy about buying! Of course you could just buy the game, but that brings us to my next point…

Publisher Controlled Pricing:


Right now if you look around the Xbox Live Games on Demand Marketplace you’ll see tons of great older games like Halo: Combat Evolved, Blur, Halo 3, Halo: Reach, and many other games you could find in your local GameStop for under $20 for sale for near full price. Modern Warfare 3, a game that already is outdated by it’s sequel, is a full $60. Are you kidding me?

Even Halo 3, a game GameStop will sell for $10 is being sold for $30, the same price as Halo: Reach on Demand, a game that came out three years after that. A six year old game is the same price as a three year old game. That’s insane. That’s Publisher Controlled Pricing.

Really, guys?


Imagine not ever being able to get a good deal on a game because they all are always being sold new. If the new Xbox does have always online DRM, chances are it will also heavily push its Games on Demand service for day one purchases just like Sony now does. Why would any retailer offer a game for less than full retail when they’ll never make any other money? Think about it: once that stock of new copies in GameStop runs out, what if the company goes out of business? Not only will you never be able to procure a retail copy of the game, but you’ll be forced to purchase it for the publishers’ price point – unless of course the publisher goes out of business and they start delisting games like THQ did.

The future is looking grim for consoles if always on DRM is the future, and while I doubt Microsoft would ever adopt this model, I’ll be devastated if they do.

Hopefully I’m walking out of GameStop this November with a shiny new Xbox Horizon, without DRM, not a new PS4. Because if always-on DRM is the way it’s headed, you might even count me out.

About the author

Austin Griffith

Austin Griffith owns LevelSave.com

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