Microsoft Makes New Assurances on Xbox One DRM Policy

Posted: January 9, 2015 in Game Articles

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by Rob Crossley

Microsoft has issued new assurances over game ownership and DRM policies after a curious incident where some customers found themselves unable to play Far Cry 4.

On Monday, a select number of Xbox One owners who bought the digital copy of Ubisoft’s open-world shooter found that the game suddenly failed to load up. Even if they deleted and reinstalled Far Cry 4, their Xbox One would return the error code ‘0X87DE07D1’ and their console would then ask whether the game had been purchased.

Curiously, the error appeared to coincide with the game’s surprise, and seemingly accidental, removal from the Xbox One Marketplace. In the early hours of Tuesday morning, Microsoft managed to re-list the game on the Xbox Live Marketplace, and users found that their boot problems had suddenly ceased.

This process would suggest that–in some, but not all, circumstances–playing the digital version of Far Cry 4 can be dependent on some kind of online verification, or automatic gating process, from Microsoft’s side.

However, while Microsoft has not explained how the incident occurred, it has assured that this error was not indicative of a DRM policy change.

In a statement sent to GameSpot, a Microsoft spokesperson said: “If customers own the rights to a game, they can visit their download history and initiate a re-download whenever they please–even if the game has been delisted from Xbox Store and is no longer available for purchase.”

However, with regards to digital games, Microsoft’s support page states that an Xbox Live connection is mandatory in certain circumstances:

The company writes: “If the game was purchased in digital form and the owner is unable or unwilling to enable sharing, the owner has to be signed in and connected to Xbox Live for that game to be played.”

Microsoft’s original plan for the Xbox One was that the console would require a persistent Internet connection, which would enrich the games with online-centric content and features, but also make digital authentication necessary. In May 2013, the Xbox executive Phil Harrison said this authentication process would occur on a daily basis.

However, following consumer upheaval, two months later Microsoft scrapped the policy, meaning the Xbox One can install and boot games with no required Internet connection.

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