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DRM Microsoft XBox (Games) Your Rights Online

Microsoft Creative Director 'Doesn't Get' Always-On DRM Concerns 572

Posted by Soulskill
from the par-for-the-course dept.
New submitter SoVi3t points out comments from Microsoft Studios Creative Director Adam Orth about the debate over always-online DRM, brought to the fore recently by the disastrous launch of SimCity and rumors that the next-gen Xbox console will require it. "Don't want a gaming console that requires a persistent internet connection? 'Deal with it,' says Microsoft Studio's creative director. In what he later termed a 'fun lunch break,' Orth took to Twitter to express his shock at people who take umbrage with the idea of an always-on console. When quizzed by other Twitter users about people with no internet connection, he suggested that they should get one, as it is 'awesome.' He then likened people who worry about intermittent internet connectivity being an issue as the same as someone not buying a vacuum cleaner because the electricity sometimes goes out. While Orth later apologized, saying it had being a bit of banter with friends, it did raise awareness that there are more than a few people who are very unhappy with the possibility of an always-on future version of the Xbox. Orth has also now switched his Twitter account settings to private."
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Microsoft Creative Director 'Doesn't Get' Always-On DRM Concerns

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  • Really? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LinuxFreakus (613194) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:41AM (#43367691)
    What's so hard to understand? I like to have a games on my laptop or other device which I can play on an airplane, on the commuter rail, on a camping trip, etc... there are many times where I play games and do not have reliable internet... not to mention the potential security flaws which may exist in the networking code of said games which could compromise my devices. Maybe some people don't want to be online all the time. No?
  • He doesn't get it. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cje (33931) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:44AM (#43367721) Homepage

    The issue is not "intermittent Internet connectivity." Most of the people who are spun up on this are concerned about the principle of always-on DRM in general. Even if people had an iron-clad agreement with their ISP that they would provide them with five-nines uptime on my WAN connection, it doesn't change the basic principle that lots of people are miffed that their Internet connection is being used on a 24-hour basis to demonstrate that they are, in fact, not thieves.

    Of course, this doesn't even address the fact that the most reliable Internet connection in the world is completely useless if the server(s) that you're attempting to connect to are down due to incompetence, unanticipated demand, DDoS attacks, etc.

  • Re:Better answer (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MightyYar (622222) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:45AM (#43367733)

    Heh, that if only it were that easy.

    Now here is where your choice affects me: if the internet-dependent console is successful, others will probably copy the model. In addition, the attention of game developers will be drawn towards it instead of competing consoles. Therefore, it is completely rational and logical for me to advocate my preference and try to get persuade you to see the merit in it. Your choice can indeed be a problem for me.

  • Re:Better answer (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:45AM (#43367737)

    Don't want a gaming console that requires a persistent internet connection? Don't get one!

    Exactly right.

    And the market will show that the vast majority of gamers could not care less whether an Internet connection is required or not, so long as the game is fun. And since game development is all shifting towards multi-player anyway, with only token efforts being made for the lonely solo console players, this whole issue borders upon moot.

    Five years from now, just two categories of game will be made: Multi-player for consoles, solo (with multi-player functionality) for mobile devices.

  • Re:Better answer (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ByOhTek (1181381) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:50AM (#43367805) Journal

    I think his post was meant to be a bit sarcastic. As in the guy is willingly throwing away his customers.

  • by MacTO (1161105) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:52AM (#43367817)

    There are two things that bias the perspective of these business men.

    The first is that they look at business models rather than what the consumers want, and try to shape the consumer to meet the needs of their business model. Their main interest, after all, is to make money. The best way to make money, reliably, is to have a plan and execute it. Selling a product without a plan is suicidal, particularly for large businesses that need to coordinate within their own structure and with third party developers and suppliers.

    The second issue is that these business people know what their lives and interests are like, but they rarely understand the market as a whole. They have reliable high-speed internet because it is a function of their job, their lifestyle, and their income. They fail to consider that some people buy consoles because they live in rural locations and don't always have access to other forms of entertainment (or reliable, high-speed internet for that matter). They fail to realize that some people buy consoles because it is a relatively cheap form of entertainment, and may not be able to afford reliable high-speed internet. If the motivation is to kill off the second-hand game market, they fail to realize that even the big spenders use that to offset the cost of their entertainment. And that's just the stuff that would be easy for them to understand, because it is quantifiable. What about the stuff that is harder for them to understand because it isn't quantifiable, like privacy?

  • by Arker (91948) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:55AM (#43367855) Homepage

    You're right. It's also about locations with no internet activity. My get-away cabin doesnt have a phone and it sure as hell wont get internet. It's used for a few nights a month. The only time I have to do serious gaming will be when I am there. You really think I am going to pay another $80/month, plus several hundred if not thousand in install fees, to get a connection out there just so someone I paid good money to can spy on me with it?

    Forget that. The old gaming machine out there with old games and dosbox runs fine. I'd like to upgrade it but not at that cost. (Not talking about the cost of the xbox - assume that's free. Still not worth getting a high speed connection laid out to a location that has no need for it, where it will very rarely be used, and only to spy on me. That's just too high a price by itself.)

  • Re:Better answer (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BillCable (1464383) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:56AM (#43367865)
    Comparing what we know so far about the PS4 v/s what is rumored/leaked about the NextBox, the NextBox looks disastrous. One wonders if Microsoft will pay attention to the backlash and revise their approach. One also wonders if they do if they'll still make a 2013 launch. Launching the NextBox with the current rumored "features" and being this tone-deaf to the community would be ill-advised. There's only so much gamers will put up with for the ability to play Gears and Halo.
  • Re:Better answer (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pi1grim (1956208) on Friday April 05, 2013 @10:09AM (#43368005)

    Gabe will applaud this move and remind people that there is offline mode for quite a fair share of Steam games and will be glad to sell a console that will double as a generic PC with linux under hood.
    Also trying to inconvenience the users is not the best selling strategy. Given choice, I'd rather get a console that does not require me to be always online (hint: what do you do when the internet is out?)
    Also, vacuum analogy is pretty shitty. I wouldn't buy a vacuum that only functions when internet is on. Single-player games don't need internet connectivity all the time - so artificial inconvenience for customers will make pirated copies all the more popular. Choosing between a free copy that doesn't require internet connection to play and a rather expencive one, that doesn't is a no-brainer.

  • Re:"Deal with it" (Score:4, Interesting)

    by xclr8r (658786) on Friday April 05, 2013 @10:32AM (#43368245)
    Executive summary of this post. When big wigs shoot from the hip recklessly it can be costly: http://oldforums.eveonline.com/?a=topic&threadID=1538881 [eveonline.com]

    This reminds me of the Eve Online where they were introducing a new currency Aurum, had an internal newsletter (Fearless (Greed is Good)) That debated the pro's and cons of virtual currency. The playerbase was upset for a number of reasons:

    1. Pay to Win was not ruled out e.g. special ammo (some argue that PLEX is the same but I disagree).
    2. Price on current virtual items was limited and overly expensive (Monacle Gate - $60 U.S. for a virtual monocle for one character).
    3. Players felt that they were getting milked and non of their current fees were going back into development/bug fixing of Eve Online (Some milking is to be expected but the "perception" was all resources were going towards White Wolf MMO in Atlanta).

    The internal (leaked) response from the CEO was basically don't listen to the players watch what they do. The public response from one of the developers was some diatribe about how $1000 dollar Japanese Jeans makes one feel (no seriously - http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/06/24/eve-clothes-defense/ [rockpapershotgun.com] read the italicized text).

    The players then started mass rage quitting their subscriptions, the CSA (Player representatives) were flown and conference called to Iceland for an emergency meetings, CCP mea culpa'ed - reversed course on the most egregious issues and saved themselves from imminent death. However, CCP did not come out unscathed, they re-orged layed off a ton of people in the U.S. Atlanta that were working on White Wolf MMO which would not be cannibalistic to their core product. This was a bad call in my book but I don't have all the stats. They chose to keep developing DUST 514 a FPS for the Play Station 3 (Not sure how that is going) that can affect and be affected by Eve Online proper..
  • Re:Better answer (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Friday April 05, 2013 @10:41AM (#43368321)

    Just look at the outrage that these tweets have caused. It looks to me like gamers do care.

    People who tweet about games care. Which is but a tiny fraction of the people who buy games (as tweeters are but a tiny fraction of the population in general, despite Big Media's attempts to have you believe otherwise, but I digress...).

    This is Electronic Gaming's "AOL Moment." Back In The Day, we were all on Usenet. Which is to say, a rather insular community of us self-important early-adopter geeks that nobody could really make a dime from were all on Usenet. When AOL provided access to Usenet for all its users (or "AOLusers" as we called them -- weren't we so clever??), we bitched and moaned and derided and threatened and wrung our hands but there was nothing we could do because the great community of "Casual Users" was vastly larger than we hardcore hackers -- once they were shown what to do -- AND they spent money, AND they lined up in nice neat rows for the Marketers to measure and count and shepherd. The landscape was moved to catch where the dollars were dropping -- not to make Internet communities and communication better (well, at least as far as we self-important geeks judged "better").

    And what is this based on?
    My personal experience. I've played this course before...

  • Re:Better answer (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tnk1 (899206) on Friday April 05, 2013 @10:56AM (#43368443)

    The government would never get anything done, and if they did, they would just be squishing the minority even harder.

    "Well we had a 75% majority, so you just need to go fuck off."

    Democracy is not a system for creating correct answers, it is a system for co-opting the masses into government by giving them at least the illusion of control. That's not to say that it's actually a bad system of government, but to achieve it's goals, you don't really need complete consensus, you just need to co-opt enough of the people so that you don't have popular revolt. Even in a Direct Democracy, that is the case.

    There are just some things that a minority of the population actually understands better than the majority due to specialization. While I wouldn't necessarily consider scientists particularly qualified to set ethics, for instance, I would consider them properly qualified to set priorities for research and development, once the actual goals and needs of the population are determined.

  • by Technician (215283) on Friday April 05, 2013 @12:00PM (#43369047)

    I'm approaching retirement and have a motorhome. Not everyplace I travel to has a fast connecton or any connection. No, I'm not paying high prices for very limited caps and huge ping times for a sat dish for internet. Ever share a free wireless connection at at campground? Sometimes dial up is faster.

    For the campers, sometimes out is about 95% of the time.

    I do have a flatscreen in the motorhome. It doubles as a backup camera screen when traveling, GPS screen, TV, Wii screen, and larger laptop screen.

    I have a WiMax modem, but it is out of range in any location that is not city. I like the no contract BYOD (Bring your own Device) service. A used Goodwill modem and if in a service area, pay for a month. If not, no expense for service you can't reach.
    http://www.clear.com/devices/byod [clear.com]

    I guess travelers are not their intended audience. This is why smartphones are doing so well. They are better connected in most places.

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