Gaming Roundup: Microsoft Reverses Course, Removes DRM, Used Game, and Regional Restrictions from Xbox One

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Perhaps it had to do with common sense finally prevailing in Redmond. Perhaps it had to do with the massive public internet shaming that resulted from Sony’s and Microsoft’s respective E3 press conferences. Or, most likely, perhaps it had to do with the fact that the PS4 was demolishing the Xbox One in terms of pre-order sales at retailers around the globe. Whatever the cause, we learned yesterday that Microsoft has decided to reverse its initial decision to have the Xbox One launch with online checks, games locked to accounts, and used game fees—thus somewhat narrowing the gap between themselves and Sony, who has been laughing all the way to the bank throughout this entire fiasco.

So what does this mean? Well, right off the bat, it evens the playing field between the PS4 and Xbox One in a few significant ways. The Xbox One will no longer require a daily Internet connection check—you will only need to go online once, upon installation, then never thereafter. The used game fee has also been eliminated and locking games to Microsoft accounts has been scrapped, giving gamers back their freedom to trade and lend their games once more. There is still that nasty $100 price difference between the two consoles, but in terms of features, the outlook is looking slightly rosier for Microsoft—at least from a PR perspective. Microsoft was very careful to phrase this reversal as “listening to the fans”, rather than “stopping the bleeding”, and it is certainly a noteworthy (if somewhat disingenuous) move. But this edition of the console wars ain’t over yet—not by a long shot. Whatever comes next, it’s bound to be entertaining.

In other gaming news this week, next-gen games will come in at the same price point as the current gen, Steam gets even more user-friendly, and we take a look at a few more games from E3. Read on!

  • Some more good news for the console crowd—next-gen games won’t cost more. Both Microsoft and Sony claim that their AAA titles will still launch at a $59.99 price point.
  • Square Enix released some more details surrounding their latest game, Murdered: Soul Suspect—a supernatural murder mystery following a ghostly detective, Ronan O’Connor, investigating the circumstances of his own death.

  • Interestingly, Turkish rioters are channeling a modified version of GTA: Vice City in their street art.
  • Jack Bauer himself, Mr. Kiefer Sutherland, is set to take on the voice of Snake in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Plan. Not sure if we like…
  • We mentioned a few weeks ago that there was more to come with regard to Assassin’s Creed creator Patrice Desilets’ acrimonious departure from Ubisoft. Well, here it is. Desilets is suing Ubisoft for wrongful termination and for the rights to the game he was last working on at the studio, 1666.
  • If you’ve been waiting to hear some good news about the future of Prey 2, well… you’re going to be waiting a lot longer. According to Bethesda, the game just flat-out isn’t good enough yet.
  • The next step toward virtual reality is getting a little bit closer. Oculus Rift, the buzz-generating set of VR glasses, has secured $16 million through investors so far.
  • In case you missed it, check out the Batman: Arkham Origins trailer, featuring a younger, rasher Bruce Wayne and none other than Deathstroke.

  • Steam is getting even more gamer-friendly—rumor has it that a share-your-games feature is in the works, which lets you lend out your Steam games to your friends after you’ve played them out. Essentially, your Steam library becomes more like a true library—you can share your games with friends, who can check them out, then check them back in when they’re done so you can play it again yourself, or lend it to someone else. Very cool.
  • In our last Gaming Roundup we asked you, dear reader, to tell us what games impressed you the most at E3, so let’s take a look at some of your choices that didn’t get mentioned last week. Starting with the very impressive-looking Mirror’s Edge 2.

  • Next up, some gameplay of the Thief reboot. The game seems to be very reminiscent of its classic roots—and that’s a good thing.

  • A third entry into one of the best RPG franchises of all time? Um, yes plz. Meet Kingdom Hearts 3.

  • Speaking of legendary RPG franchises…

  • Check out some pretty CGI from Dragon Age: Inquisition’s E3 teaser trailer.

  • Wrapping up our second look back at E3 is a peek at Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain.

  • Finally, we’ll have a full review for The Last of Us going up early next week, but for those of you who are still undecided on the game, here’s a two word summation of our thoughts: Fucking. Awesome. If you have a PS3, go buy this game—you won’t regret it.

If there are games you’d like us to cover or blogs you think we should be following for more news, please let us know @tdelucci or @pritpaulbains.

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