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Microsoft on Xbox One reversal: Dude, E3 held us up

The company says it felt E3 was its first chance to explain its ideas on digital rights management to the world.

Microsoft's Xbox One.
Microsoft's Xbox One James Martin/CNET

Microsoft says its decision to reverse its stance on Internet-connection requirements and used-games limitations was held up by last week's E3 gaming expo.

Speaking to All Things Digital in an interview published Thursday, Microsoft Xbox Chief Product Officer Mark Whitten said the company's E3 presentation was "the first time we had a chance to really lay out our program," adding that Microsoft believed it could explain the "complete story" at E3 and get to see what consumers "liked and what they didn't like."

In other words, Microsoft wanted to use its E3 gaming presentation to determine just how heinous its ideas on piracy and used games were to the public.

At E3, Microsoft laid out its policies on the Xbox One. The company said that Xbox One owners would need to connect their consoles to the Internet at least once a day. If they didn't, offline gaming would be disabled. The move, the company said, was designed to reduce piracy. In addition, Microsoft planned to dramatically limit a gamer's ability to resell titles or share them with friends. On Wednesday, Microsoft reversed course on both points.

"While we believe that the majority of people will play games online and access the cloud for both games and entertainment, we will give consumers the choice of both physical and digital content," Microsoft Interactive Entertainment Business President Don Mattrick said Wednesday in a blog post. "We have listened and we have heard loud and clear from your feedback that you want the best of both worlds."

Luckily for Microsoft, the move was made now, when it can absorb the backlash long before consumers are actually making their purchases.