Shortly after Microsoft concluded the Kinect-powered, Live TV segment of their Xbox One reveal last month, company representatives began offering conflicting statements in regards to how the next-gen console would handle used games. Eventually, Microsoft’s PR department began dodging the pre-owned question altogether by using a “we will tell you about it later” response, but that statement was quickly overshadowed by a disturbing report from MCV.
The unconfirmed report stated that Microsoft was planning to fundamentally alter the relationship between the company and their customer base with a new Digital Rights Management (DRM) system. Citing retailers who were supposedly briefed by the platform holder, the rumored plan would put Microsoft in a position of total control over the entire Xbox One pre-owned games market by using DRM to strip all of the intrinsic value from physical media after it was purchased by consumers.
Core gamers were justifiably concerned over the Xbox One report, and after rumors surfaced that Sony was planning a similar move for the PlayStation 4, many of them took to the NeoGAF forum to express their disgust. That’s when NeoGAF forum user Pete “famousmortimer” Dodd organized the board’s frustration into a Twitter campaign using the hashtags #PS4noDRM and #PS4UsedGames.
The NeoGAF thread explaining Dodd’s plan exploded across the internet overnight, and soon “tens of thousands” of gamers began flooding the Twitter accounts of Sony and Microsoft executives with the campaign’s simple message: “We don’t want things to change from how they exist in the current generation… our [physical media] games are ours to sell or lend to whoever we want.”
“The campaign has been an off the charts success,” Dodd said in an interview with We Got This Covered. “What I saw first hand just watching the feed for the hashtag refresh was that during peak hours (when both NA and EU were awake) was about ten well thought out and polite Tweets a minute sent to high level Sony execs. During off-peak it was about five per minute.”
Pete Dodd told us that it has been somewhat difficult to judge the impact that the #PS4NoDRM and #XboxOneNoDRM campaigns have had on Sony and Microsoft — both companies have only offered “generic PR [statements] about being heard” — but there is no doubt that the message is getting out.
“The hashtag is the message and the media has been the bullhorn. We are currently closing in on 200 articles posted about this in twenty plus languages, including CNN.com, NBCNews.com and most major gaming sites.” Dodd added, “If their [Sony and Microsoft] twitter feeds blowing up didn’t clue them in that people cared they will find a post about the movement on nearly every game or tech blog around. I think that’s very powerful stuff.”
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