Xbox Live - Border Controls Explained

No more cross-border downloads in the free market

Posted by Staff
Xbox Live - Border Controls Explained
Microsoft has decided to make it impossible for Xbox Live Marketplace consumers to download content from regions other than their own. Michael Newey, Group Product Marketing Manager for Xbox Europe, explained the thinking behind this interesting take on free trade to the company's aceybongos blog on

Basically, it comes down to licensing agreements with content providers:
"A good example is the TV and movie content available on Video Marketplace in the US. This content is not available in other countries because it is not licensed for them. However, we know that some Xbox Live members who live outside of the US have been signing up for a US Xbox Live account so they can access this content. When they do, it means Xbox is breaking its contractual agreement with the content provider, so we have to stop this."

The rest of the 'interview' goes on to talk about these non-game related licensing issues without confronting the fact that TV and movie content, certainly in Europe where we don't even have the video marketplace yet, is the big deal in the new controls.

Newey points out that content that has already been downloaded will still function following the Spring update. However, if you want to re-download content that you have already paid for, it will no longer play.

The full interview is available here.



OptimusP 7 May 2007 20:18
Aaah, globalisation makes everything easier and simpler doesn't it...

Yo EU-people in Brussels, how about anti-region legislation huh? Give consumers the power to sue companies of unnecessary region-locking their gear.
Joji 8 May 2007 01:04
Its all about the money and not steeping on toes in the process. Who cares anyway, I sure don't and have no intention of using Video Marketplace.

Why you ask? Because my hard drive is for bloody games, and my PC does any video my tv or dvd player doesn't do.

If MS go ahead with this its gonna kill the service, before it even gets off the ground our way. These kinds of paperwork snafus are also the reason downloading tv shows illegally will always be around. The net has the ability to bypass all that chuff, but once again they fail to use this legally to their advantage.

Damn, this is getting like DRM for consoles.
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vault 13 8 May 2007 02:39
You can always hack an X-Box. The PC is just always easier. And I agree that DRMs don't phase me, there's always another way around if you persist long enough.

The question is, if the internet was not available to you, would you now care about the region content locking?
tyrion 8 May 2007 08:44
Joji wrote:
Damn, this is getting like DRM for consoles.

Region locking and copy protection are DRM schemes, and we've had those on consoles for well over a decade.
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