Microsoft has heard the cries of frustrated fans about the mandatory 24-hour check-in and used game restrictions for Xbox One, announcing today that it was reversing those policies to reflect its current stance for the Xbox 360.
In a post to fans on the official Xbox One site, Microsoft revealed that now "After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again. There is no 24-hour connection requirement and you can take your Xbox One anywhere you want and play your games, just like on Xbox 360."
Also, "There will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360." Regional restrictions on the console are also being removed.
Microsoft's Don Mattrick said fan feedback was important in making these changes:
"You told us how much you loved the flexibility you have today with games delivered on disc. 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.
So, today I am announcing the following changes to Xbox One and how you can play, share, lend, and resell your games exactly as you do today on Xbox 360."
He said that the company still has faith in its original plan. "While we believe that the majority of people will play games online and access the cloud for both games and entertainment, we will give consumers the choice of both physical and digital content. We have listened and we have heard loud and clear from your feedback that you want the best of both worlds."
Microsoft had received criticism for its mixed messaging on its policies for the Xbox One. During E3, the company defended its game stance, saying the industry was "in transition." Sony, however, chose to capitalize on the controversial policies by announcing at it's E3 press conference that it "won't impose any new restrictions on your use of PS4 game discs."
While the 180-degree shift by Microsoft may make more people consider pre-ordering the console, there is still the price: $399 for PS4 versus $499 for Xbox One. The Kinect 2 is a mandatory part of the the MS console, while the PlayStation Eye is an optional purchase for an additional $59.