Xbox One games in China use online activation codes
This month the Xbox One launches in China, giving Microsoft access to a billion-strong new territory and a chance to sell a few million more consoles. But the experience is going to be a bit different to that of other territories it seems.The Xbox One released in China is region locked for a start. However, Microsoft has also chosen to implement an online activation system for the games sold there. This feature hasn’t been announced by Microsoft, but is being discovered now the games are becoming available to purchase.The back of Xbox One retail boxes state that a one time activation code is included with the disc. Anyone purchasing a title needs to activate the game online in order to play it. The code can’t be returned or refunded. What this also means is, if you lend or sell a game then the other person can’t play it on their Xbox, unless of course Microsoft has a way of letting you purchase a new activation code.When Microsoft first announced the Xbox One it was going to be an always-connected console. That soon got dropped as a feature due to the anger it caused among gamers. However, in China where piracy is so rampant there’s much more of a need to implement such a system. In fact, the Chinese government may have even required it before approving the launch of the machine.There’s a thread on NeoGAF discussing exactly what the activation codes are there for. The pictured game is Forza, so the code could be for the DLC. But then other retail box images are being posted with the same activation code text, so it looks to be a system incorporated into all launch games.This DRM of sorts is surely going to annoy Chinese gamers. If they imported an Xbox One it won’t be able to play games released in China, and a Chinese Xbox One won’t play imported games. The activation code system also hinders selling the games they buy. I would not be surprised to see importing an Xbox One and games as being preferable to buying a Chinese Xbox One, or alternatively it could limit the uptake of Microsoft’s console.Sony is also launching the PS4 in China and it will be interesting to see if that has a similar game activation system. If it does, then the Chinese government probably had some involvement. If it doesn’t, then Microsoft is clearly still determined to use its original vision of an always-connected Xbox One in some form.