The makers of the Xbox 360 just made a big 180.
Microsoft, which landed in hot water with potential customers earlier this month when it announced that the Xbox One next-generation video game console would require an always-online Internet connection and not support used games, has reversed its position on those restrictions.
The new game system, which will be released in November for $499, won't have to be connected to the Internet at least once every 24 hours. And users will be able to play used games without any restrictions, according to Microsoft's president of Interactive Entertainment Business, Don Mattrick.
"You told us how much you loved the flexibility you have today with games delivered on disc," he wrote in a statement titled "Your Feedback Matters," issued Wednesday afternoon. "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."
Mattrick announced that the box will not need to be connected except for the setup process. Before, the Xbox One would have required an Internet connection to contact Microsoft at least once a day to verify a game was in the system.
Mattrick also said that used games on the Xbox One will work just like they do on the older Xbox 360. "Trade-in, lend, resell, gift and rent disc-based games just like you do today there will be no limitations to using and sharing games," he wrote.
These new options also will apply to digital downloadable games.
Wednesday's announcement comes just a week after a public-relations disaster in which Microsoft announced the restrictions for its new console during the E3 video game trade show in Los Angeles. The ill will was multiplied when Sony later that day announced during the unveiling of its PlayStation 4 console that its system would not have used game restrictions or an online requirement. That portion of the company's media briefing at E3 drew the loudest applause of the entire presentation.
Mattrick then was widely criticized after an interview with Gametrailers.com last week in which he said "we have a product for people who aren't able to get some form of connectivity, it's called Xbox 360. If you have zero access to the Internet, that is an offline device."
Despite the reversal, Microsoft can expect to have a difficult battle with Sony in the war over the next-gen video game consoles because Sony's PS4 will sell for $100 less. The Xbox One will come with the newest version of its camera and motion-detecting device, the Kinect 2, while Sony's similar peripheral, the PlayStation Eye, will be sold separately.
The PS4 will be available in time for the holidays.
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