Microsoft has issued a major update to the Xbox DRM

What you need to know

  • DRM stands for “digital rights management,” which refers to online checks on platforms like iOS, Android, Windows, and Xbox to ensure you actually own the license to the content you’re accessing. 
  • The Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S DRM has been criticized for its aggressiveness, essentially preventing you from playing many single player games in offline situations, such as a power or internet outage. 
  • Xbox’s engineering lead confirmed today that the DRM has been dialled back, allowing for more access in situations where internet access isn’t possible. 

Since 2013, the Xbox platform has been under a microscope for its digital rights management (DRM) practices, which describe systems that check digital content against a license server, to make sure you actually own the content you’re accessing. 

Much of the contention specifically revolves around disc-based and digital solo single-player games. These games mechanically shouldn’t need to have internet access to function or play, but Microsoft’s systems were still requiring many of them to “phone home” to complete access. We have an explanation on how Xbox DRM works over here, but the rules aren’t always clear. Many games that shouldn’t have DRM active often do, but that looks set to change. 

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