Editorial: Xbox One DRM & Family Sharing would have Worked IF

Xbox One, Game Sharing Policies and Microsoft had their part of backslash after it was announced. As a matter of fact the grip was so tightened that Microsoft had to take back their DRM policies and keep it on the stack for years to come.

Xbox One – The Console World wasn’t Ready for – at least not even in near future.

If at all you believe it to be true, after a Microsoft employee posted about Xbox One DRM Policies, we have another one posted on Pastebin again. An Anonymous post could be a scam but even if it has 1% of the truth — Microsoft & Xbox Team were way ahead of their time for this at least.

The new details that has emerged are talking about Xbox One Family Sharing which was supposed to be awesome, turns out to be disappointing.  In a nut shell :

Xbox One Family Sharing enabled a demo mode for games that was shared with other members. This demo mode unlike the traditional ones not only allowed you to play the game for one complete hour or a bit less, but also preserved your game scores, stages, achievements which you would have got back if you actually bought the game either digitally or physically. ( Source Pastebin, Via Verge)

That said, the reason why Microsoft wanted this way is the obvious — increase game sales. An hour of game play is good enough to find how the game is and was definitely a great way to increase game sales but the combination of DRM restriction 24 hrs check never would have made it work.

Disclaimer: All these ideas and thoughts are my own and has nothing to do with Microsoft or Xbox Team.

Xbox One Package

How DRM would have worked?

Making Money by lowering Game Prices:

Microsoft wanted game publishers to get part of the money that gamers were making but keeping the prices of the games exactly the same like it is with Xbox 360. If they would have dropped game prices by 40 to 50% and allowed unlimited transfer, then it would have been a better deal.

Here is my calculation:

  • Game Prices:  30$
  • Price per Game Transfer : 15$ ( 50% of above)
  • Unlimited Transfer be it Family or Foe.

To my experience, I have seen a new game to start exchanging hands right after 3 months on an average. That’s how I sell my games. This goes on to at least 2-3 hands. This means a game-in-demand gets sold at least 3 + 1 times. Even with the original game prices down by 50%, the game publishers would have made at least 25% ( 30+ 3*15 )  more of the current game prices.

Seamless Transfer Process:

Microsoft said that game transfers will be via publishers. This means one had to grab some code either from the physical store or from online store to get this all done.

If this was done seamlessly from Xbox One itself combining with the strategy above, one would have loved it. To make it seamless Xbox One would have required a Buy & Sell system in place.

  • Tell a friend you want to sell a game or He can look into your library and asked if you wanted to sell.
  • If both agree, Buyer makes a request.
  • The one who sold the game can no longer play the game (temporarily) and needs to give the disc to the one who bought it.
  • Buyer puts the disc in, makes payment and owns it.
  • Seller ownership to the game is completely removed using that disc.

How Family Feature would have worked ?

The very idea to increase sales by allowing one to play feature rich  demo game without paying is brilliant but it is still a demo and with DRM in place, nobody would have really liked it.

First Idea:

If the above price model & seamless transfer process would have been applied, One would play the demo and they liked it, they could have made a request to buy it from the owner.

Second Idea:

Since Microsoft wanted to push gamers more towards digital download, Family Sharing could have a buy feature at even lower price (20$) but with restriction that it cannot be sold again & one has to have a gold account for one year at least.

This would have bought more money on table via gold accounts and Microsoft could have shared part of it to game publishers (10$) per transfer to make up for the reduced price.

Summary:

There could be tons of factors and reasoning that this idea might not have worked as well but as far as my understanding on Game Resale and experience on gaming this whole DRM stuff had a chance if it was done even more accurately. What’s your thought on this?

A die-hard fan of Windows, Windows 10 Mobile, Windows Phone and Xbox, Loves to Do Video reviews on Windows Phone Apps, Games, Xbox Games, Xbox Tutorials.

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