A Killer Instinct Xbox One tournament in New York City was interrupted by something we were sure Microsoft had eliminated. Apparently the DRM policy is back.
Back in May this year, Microsoft and Sony were both blasted by consumer outrage over DRM, leading to what may have been one of the reasons the recent console war wasn't as big as those previous. DRM stands for Digital Rights Management, a system which forces users of various kinds of media to prove that they own the product before they use it.
Sony backed away from the issue quickly, showing that they actually care about the gamers and what they want, but Microsoft was more reluctant to give up their vision of "the future." The Xbox One was originally meant to be online all the time for the simple reason of having the console "check in" to prove that the game you're playing is actually yours. DRM controls proved to be one of the Xbox One's biggest problems, leading it to the nickname of "Xbone."
Microsoft said they had reversed the DRM issue so you don't have to log in every 24 hours to prove you own the game you're playing, but that didn't stop the problem from popping up and ruining a Killer Instinct Xbox One tournament.
Entrants to the Killer Instinct tournament trying to play the game were returned to the Home screen and prompted to verify that they "own this game or app." Four minutes went by as every machine refused to play the game until it was logged in to Xbox Live to verify the DRM. It seems Microsoft didn't remove the policy after all.
Killer Instinct tournament derailed by Xbox One DRM check http://t.co/jCZHkbpvo7
— Polygon (@Polygon) December 18, 2013
After Microsoft's apparent comeback almost stole the victory from under Sony in the Xbox One vs PS4 console war, this issue could change everything. Did Microsoft lie in order to make the Xbox One compete with the PlayStation 4?
According to players in the Killer Instinct Xbox One tournament in New York City, Microsoft did lie. We can only wonder how many other first-party games Microsoft secretly used DRM to control.
Even though DRM does halt the issue of piracy, by proving that you didn't just download your copy of the game and burn the disc yourself for free, it also alienates those of us who don't want to go online to play our games. Could ex-Microsoft creative director Adam Orth have been right, stating that the console would need to be "always on"?
Gamers entered into the Killer Instinct Xbox One tournament uncovered the truth behind what Microsoft has been doing with their first-party games. The DRM policies are back, and Microsoft could find themselves losing the war with Sony if they continue like this.