Sunday, January 8, 2012


There are a lot of angry people out in the video game world who hate DRM (Digital Rights Management).  Entire message boards dedicated to the bashing of Origin, SecuROM, etc. have been around for a long time.  Hell, antipiracy methods have been raged against for decades.  To be honest though, I've never really had an issue with any DRM, beyond finding it a very minor inconvenience.   Well, until last night.

I'll be honest, my issue was minor compared to many, but it was still a dick move on Microsoft's part, clothed in good intentions.  You see, they have two main online gaming services: XBox Live and Games For Windows Live.   If you've ever owned a 360, you have an XBL account, most likely a Gold one.  So when GFWL was released, they thought it'd be convenient to link them, so that your XBL account was your GFWL, or vice versa.  The problem is that by being linked, you can't be signed into both.

Last night, someone in my household decided that they wanted to watch a movie on Netflix, on the XBox 360.  I didn't want to watch what they chose, so I retired to my PC and thought I'd play a little bit of Batman: Arkham City.  It didn't even occur to me that playing B:AC requires signing into GFWL.  I'm barely to the startup screen when I hear "HEY THE MOVIE STOPPED!"  By signing in with Batman, I'd logged them out of XBox Live.

Microsoft, this is a dick move.  One of your biggest sales models for the XBox 360 is making it a family hub; playing games, watching movies, social networking, music, etc.  And that's fantastic, you do it well!  But my XBox and my PC are not the same thing.  I should not be forced to pick one or the other, especially since I am paying for the service.  This wouldn't even be an issue if I wasn't forced to sign into GFWL just to play Batman, or GTA IV, or any number of games with mandatory GFWL DRM.  I don't need to play those online to enjoy them.  I like having the option, but making my family choose one or the other brings your whole family hub model crashing down.

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