Xbox online DRM has been heavily criticized after major downtime

The Xbox has been criticized for several major outages on the Xbox Network that have left many unable to play games over the weekend, including some single-player games they own.

The Xbox Network crashed here Friday night in the UK, and players have been reported unable to buy or run games or play titles using Xbox Cloud Gaming. The service was then resumed on Saturday, before being suspended again later that day. According to the Xbox Status support page, all services are now up and running without error, though it seems some users they still have problems.

The Xbox network outage puts players at risk of online DRM

Xbox players cannot play purchased digital games offline

Because users were unable to play some of the games purchased during these interruptions, the Xbox has been heavily criticized for its Digital Rights Management (DRM) policy. Kinda Funny Xcast and Gamertag radio host Parris Lilly criticized Xbox’s DRM policy on Twitter (thanks, VGC) and called for a change. “The Xbox interruptions have made it clear that something needs to change with their DRM policy, games downloaded to my console should have a window to be offline and playable without logging in,” Lilly said. “Let’s hope we get some clarity and a solution to avoid this problem again.”

According to Windows Central Jez Corden, the problem could arise with various third-party publishers requiring Xbox to perform DRM checks, even with single-player games that are strictly offline. However, the Twitter account Does It Play ?, which “tests commercial releases to ensure they work completely free” suggest it was a pure Xbox problem and that the PlayStation and Switch do not require online DRM logins to run games offline. “If PlayStation servers break down permanently tomorrow, every single-player game you own will run offline almost permanently (provided the console works and the account is connected). There’s a small subset of titles that won’t,” the bill says. “Xbox needs to solve its DRM problems. Waving your hands won’t help.”

Some found that the problem was that their Xbox console was not set up as their ‘home’ console, although others still saw problems despite changing it later or setting it up as a home console in first place.

It will be interesting to see how Microsoft reacts to this and whether we will get a detailed explanation of this problem. Last year, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said he hoped the industry would do more to help preserve the games. This last debacle seems to be the opposite.

How did you fare with the disappearance of the Xbox network over the weekend? Were you able to play any digital games you bought? Let us know in the comments.

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