Microsoft Addresses FGC's Xbox One DRM Concerns

Microsoft has issued an official response regarding the actual incident involving Killer Instinct and the DRM scenario. We've had multiple organizers within the FGC scene come forward to attest that they've had problems with the DRM check for the Xbox One when trying to run Killer Instinct and Microsoft wants them to know that they're listening.

Just a quick recap: During a live-stream of a Killer Instinct match at a small tournament at Queens college in New York, the game was exited during a finals match while the two participants were playing a local offline game. The incident went viral because the presumption was that the 24-hour check-in had kicked in. However, Microsoft sent out word that the 24-hour check-in had not returned, but didn't mention any further specifics regarding the situation.

We kept in contact with a representative of Microsoft over the course of this event to find out exactly what was going on. And so, we finally have word regarding Microsoft's official response to the incident and what it means for tournament organizers. A spokesperson for the company stated that...

“Xbox One was designed to support a variety of gaming options, from single-player sessions at home to online play with friends and family. Gaming tournaments are a big part of this as well, and we will continue to support these events in any way that we can. We encourage tournament organizers to familiarize themselves with our processes and guidelines when planning and setting up their events.”

We did note in our discussion that there are currently no specific guidelines for tournament organizers regarding the Xbox One. It's not clear if such a guide will be released in the future. This is something that Microsoft hopefully follows through with, though, as it would benefit the FGC scene and prevent this kind of incident from blowing up again, especially at a major regional or national event.

We've also been trying to keep in contact with fighting game tournament organizers to find out exactly how often this may have been occurring and it has been confirmed that what occurred during the Defend The School event at Queens college was not isolated. In our previous article we noted how a member of the Test Your Might community came forward to lament a problem they had with setting up Killer Instinct for the Xbox One, and following that, we also received word from organizer Jason Axelrod from 8 Way Turn, who mentioned that...

“Since Eight on the Break is a small arcade, we actually depend on players to help bring in consoles and games for us to play on. Two people each week bring in their Xbox Ones for us to run the Killer Instinct tournament. One of the players had played Killer Instinct that morning, and we had no issues using his console.“The other player had not played Killer Instinct that day; in fact he had not turned his Xbox One on at all. When we tried to boot up Killer Instinct on his console (which was NOT connected to the internet), we got a warning stating that the license for the game had expired. Really? It had expired after a little over 24 hours?“So we connected the console to the internet... only to realize that either Microsoft's or Double Helix's patch/license servers were down. Booting into the game would stall at a screen stating "Checking downloadable content"; and it would remain there and never advance. Checking in with hundreds of stream viewers who were watching live, they too confirmed that they could not play Killer Instinct due to this error.“Because of this, we were stuck running our tournament at a slow pace on only a single console. This issue confirms two things for me: that the 24 hour check-in is still in place for digital content, and that if the internet goes down in your area, there may be a chance you will no longer be able to play your downloaded games.”

Now, just to confirm, this was not the 24-hour check-in at play. As we reported in the article with Queens College tournament organizer Elliot Oyola, the incident occurred within the 24-hour span of the owner and the non-owners signing into the account. The issue arose when the owner of Killer Instinct was playing the game on an Xbox One unit he did not own, and even though they were playing a local offline game, it still required a connection to check-in with Microsoft's servers. When the connection dropped, so did the game.

Team Spooky streamer Arturo Sanchez also chimed in to explain what happened and do so in a lengthy video below (the parts about the DRM fallout starts at the 6:00 minute mark).

Coming away from this, it looks like a DRM tournament guide is definitely a good idea to help organizers know how they'll need to setup their consoles for playing Xbox One fighting games at events and what to look out for to prevent the games from tanking during the middle of an intense bout.

We'll keep you posted if or when a policy guide is issued to help the FGC get a handle on any further issues.

Will Usher

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.