Microsoft relaxes Xbox One rules in the face of competition from PlayStation 4,

In response to criticism from the gaming community, Microsoft will give owners of the Xbox One more freedom when the console goes on sale later this year. Users will not have to connect to the Internet every day, and they will be able to lend, sell and trade games they’ve bought:

In a company blog post, Don Mattrick, president of Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft, said that the changes have been made in response to consumer feedback to policies that would have limited video-game players’ ability to lend games to friends and sell older titles on the second-hand market.

The policies tarnished Microsoft’s reputation coming out of the game industry’s Electronic Entertainment Expo earlier this month and gave competitor Sony a crucial opportunity to pick up the goodwill of gamers headed into the holiday season.

In the post, Mattrick said he and his team have heard directly from several people in the gaming community, and he thanked them for “assistance in helping us to reshape the future of the Xbox One.”

“You told us how much you loved the flexibility you have today with games delivered on disc,” Mattrick wrote. “The ability to lend, share, and resell these games at your discretion is of incredible importance to you. Also important to you is the freedom to play offline, for any length of time, anywhere in the world.”

Hayley Tsukayama

Microsoft’s strategy had been to sell the Xbox One as a complete entertainment system for the living room not designed solely for dedicated gamers. Other users might not have minded the restrictions. Yet Sony had been mercilessly exploiting gamers’ frustration with Microsoft:

Sensing its moment to jump on a current of dissatisfaction with the Xbox One, Sony pulled no punches. The firm told gamers that nothing’s changed about the way its users can share games, and even launched a “how-to” video on sharing games on the PS4 that took giddy aim at Microsoft.

In the clip, Sony’s Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida says, “This is how you share your games on PS4,” and then literally hands a game to Vice President of developer and public relations Adam Boyes.

Game fans, frustrated with the approach Microsoft is taking with its digital rights management, ate it up.

Hayley Tsukayama

When the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One reach the market later this year, they will compete with the Wii U, which Nintendo released in November:

Each machine has a set of features designed to draw gamers away from rival consoles. There’s one thing all three have in common, though: They are about more than gaming and include entertainment services such as television, movies and music . . .

The [Wii U] features a tablet-like controller with a touch screen, called the GamePad, which can be used to control games on the TV set or to play games separately, as you would on a regular tablet computer. It also allows someone with a GamePad to have a different experience with a game than someone playing it at the same time with a regular Wii controller.

The GamePad also serves as a fancy remote controller to navigate a TV-watching feature called TVii. The service groups your favorite shows and sports teams together, whether it’s on live TV or an Internet video service such as Hulu Plus. And it offers water-cooler moments you can chat about on social media. . .

Sales of the Wii U have been disappointing, with 3.5 million sold as of March 31, the end of Nintendo’s fiscal year. Nintendo Co. had originally expected to sell 5.5 million units and later lowered the forecast to 4 million, but it still fell short.

Associated Press

For more on the competition between the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4, continue reading here.

Max Ehrenfreund is a blogger on the Financial desk and writes for Know More and Wonkblog.
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