Accurate info about Microsoft’s newly announced Xbox One has been hard to come by today, and apparently even Microsoft reps and execs are confused about the new system: following statements from Microsoft’s corporate VP Phil Harrison that seemingly confirmed that the system would require an activation fee for used games (equal to the cost of buying a new game,) the company has once again flip-flopped, saying Harrison’s statements were merely one of many “possible scenarios” that the company is planning.
Earlier today, Microsoft told Wired that used games would require an online activation fee before they could be played. Microsoft later claimed that Wired was misinformed, and that used games wouldn’t require a fee. Microsoft exec Phil Harrison countered that claim, telling Kotaku that previously used game discs would require new users to pay a fee equal the cost of buying a new copy of the game.
Harrison also told Kotaku that while you could technically play single-player Xbox One games offline, the system will need to “check in” to Xbox Live every 24 hours if users want to maintain offline access to their content.
Predictably, both of Harrison’s statements generated an overwhelmingly negative response from a lot of people online, and Microsoft PR seems to have gone into full damage control mode as result. A Microsoft PR rep dismissed Harrison’s statements as a “possible scenario” for the Xbox One, saying “”While Phil discussed many potential scenarios around games on Xbox One, today we have only confirmed that we designed Xbox One to enable our customers to trade in and resell games at retail… There have been reports of a specific time period — those were discussions of potential scenarios, but we have not confirmed any details today, nor will we be.”
Personally, I’m still inclined to believe Harrison– he is the corporate VP of Microsoft, after all, and I’m pretty sure he knows (or at least he should know) more about the company’s plans than anybody else. Of course, it’s possible that Microsoft is just as confused about the Xbox One’s DRM strategy as we are, and they’re still trying to figure out what they should do (which would be a troublesome scenario itself, given that the system is supposed to launch in a few months.) Microsoft really needs to address this problem now, because the longer they wait, the better their competitors look: it’s worth noting that Sony stocks (coincidentally?) went up in value today following the big Xbox Reveal event.