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This really just looks like sour grapes from Microsoft to me.

There's no reason they couldn't have both...

Buy a physical disk? Trade use it like you always have, but you don't get to make use of all the fancy cloud features.

Buy your game online? You'll need to phone home every once in a while (24 hours was a bit harsh, maybe more like 1 week), and you can't trade it like physical media, but you get the fancy new lending features.

Decide you like the new way better? Convert your physical copies into 'cloud' copies and throw out the disks.

Problem solved.

The problem with convert to cloud is that it would require every Xbox to go online in order to check with the mothership before running the game, even from a disk. Otherwise you'd be able to share the disk with offline users who could continue using the physical copy.

They had two choices:

Require an internet connection before running a game. (the 24 hour check)


The disk must be present at all times.

You're thinking a bit closed minded. There are other ways to tackle the problem depending on how user friendly or user unfriendly you want the console to be. For example:

1. Converting to cloud could require users to trade in the physical disk at a local store for a digital CD key. A pain for users but by making this a known requirement up front, users won't be able to complain about it and it may convince users who are on the fence to just get the digital copy from the start.

2. Require all games to have a CD Key (acts as the same key for converting to cloud) and a small footprint installable component. Tell users that you don't need an internet connection to validate but if you do connect to the internet, the Xbox One will periodically "phone home" and check to see if your CD keys are legitimate. It won't stop sharing the physical copy after converting to cloud, but it would make it much more of a hassle and prevent multiplayer games from being shared easily. Bonus for users who are converting - the digital version of the game can be installed via the disk so they don't have to wait to download the game to convert it to the cloud. This would also make reinstalling much faster so long as users keep the physical copy.

There are many other possibilities that have been mentioned already so I'll stop here. Just note that this isn't an either or situation. There is a lot of flexibility here.

You're still thinking inside the box a little. Gamecube used a variety of patented format cds and encryption keys stored in a small area of the cd for their copy protection. [1]

Or, you know, just turn off the always-online or check-in-each-24h requirement and just lock down the hardware from sideloading games onto it. Even without that, something tells me people would still buy games.

[1]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nintendo_optical_disc#Nintendo_...

You could mail them the disk, and maybe a small processing fee. They could then destroy the disk and convert the license token to a digital copy. It would cost the customer, but since they could have bought a digital copy in the first place it seems fair.

Sounds nearly identical to the Vudu / Ultraviolet model for DVDs.

So, rather than sharing with up to 10 people it's now 11 (and the 11th can never go online, because the key for the disk has been burned)?

Alternatively, sell your physical disk used and buy the digital copy off live.

The digital sharing would've only allowed for one user to play at a time.

Not if everyone phoned home, then cut the cord every 24h.

The ones who borrowed from others had to check in every hour.

Sounds like politics. I'm sure we're not hearing the whole discussion. There's nothing stopping a Steam-like DRM option to link a game key to your account or a Steam-like offline mode once you've authenticated once. These schemes are not some fabulous new invention. They have been implemented in the real world for the last decade. If you like them, I suggest buying a Steam box.

Analyses like these seem to forget how much the software of consoles has changed over the last few years. This next generation likely to evolve much faster. The hardware is already obsolete, and it hasn't been released yet. The software is what matters, and it will change. Both Microsoft and Sony have clearly stated that they intend to grow their server farms and make them integral to the experience. So whether you're connecting to Smartglass 2.0 or iPSN, the experience in seven years will not be the same as the experience today.

I found physical media authentication unnecessarily cumbersome in the 90's. It's pretty funny that it's still necessary in some cases, but that's DRM. Too bad that just offering incentives for connecting to official servers isn't the standard means of encouraging legitimate sales. People are lining up for content they could easily get for free on services like Netflix, Spotify, and Steam because they provide superior experiences. I've never downloaded a legally questionable game copy, but I'm still not interested in these backward console DRM schemes, whether through fragile optical discs or constant surveillance. I can do better elsewhere. But I'm looking forward to what they come up with next.

It would be an extremely safe bet to say that will be the case within a year of two of launch. They're scrambling too much to change what they've got for the difference to be possible in 6 months, but the differentiation will definitely happen.

That would require some form of one disc identifier and a one time (at least) authentication to ensure that someone who had converted their discs into cloud copies hadn't passed off their disc to someone who was now playing offline with the disc.

So charge $5 (or whatever the cut they would get from a used game resale) to convert it.

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