Has Microsoft implemented digital Xbox One region locking?

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The Xbox One is region free. Microsoft’s Albert Penello confirmed this before the console was released saying that you could sign up to any of the 13 original launch markets and use the console. He even suggested using pre-paid cards for the Xbox One Store. It seems though, that the Xbox One isn’t quite as region free as we all thought.

Numerous users on the Xbox forums are reporting an error code when trying to launch some of their digitally purchased games. They’re getting booted out of their games, accompanied with error code “0x87de07d1.” According to Microsoft, that code means:

  • The game was purchased and downloaded, but you aren’t signed in and connected to Xbox LIVE.
  • The game was purchased and downloaded by another family member, and that person is not signed in to the console.
  • The game disc is not in the console.

Only in all of these cases, neither of those is true.

“I am getting the error code 0x87de07d1 on my digital download copy of Forza 5,” moans one user. “I have also seen in other posts that at least 2 other people have this error on Dead Rising 3. This is a digital copy of the game that has worked fine for several weeks. It is now acting as though I do not own the game. I have tried turning the system on/off, switching profiles etc but nothing is helping. In the xbox store Forza 5 is displaying the option to buy for £49.99, where it would usually say Play, as I do own the game.”

Another user’s experience is a little more specific.

“There’s definitely a region lock on digital downloads in place, whether that be DLC or full games,” he said on the Xbox forums.  “I’ve got a UK account and bought a digital copy of Forza 5 on ebay, redeemed it and then about 10 days later it wouldn’t load, just giving me the option to buy it again””

After over an hour with xbox live support, I was told “For the Xbox One, that is correct. Discs are region free, so it should be that the codes are the same. This is the reason why we are having it being investigated further my friend. It could be an issue somewhere along the way of redeeming the codes, and should be fixed surely, we can assure you of that.”

They passed me on to the ‘Advocacy’ team, who eventually told me “I was able to figure out that the reason you could not redeem your PPC was because it was intended for another country. When redeeming your token there are two things that need to match up. The country listed on the account must match the country that you are connecting from and the token needs to be for the same country as well.”
The resulting advice being “I suggest going back to the person you purchased the game from and inform them that the code he provided you was set for a region other than the U.K.”

I asked for clarification on region locking on digital game downloads and was advised “All Xbox digital content is region specific. Due to many international and cultural laws, not all content is available everywhere. “

Many users are sharing a similar story, and it all seems to boil down to a common element. Those users have bypassed inherent geo-fencing by purchasing prepaid cards off of eBay and similar. They’re able to redeem those cards, and then play them – only to have those games and DLC  stop working later on.

It seems that Microsoft has placed some sort of geo-fenced digital region locking on game codes. That’s entirely their right, I suppose. Redeemable game codes for Nintendo and Sony platforms are specific to their regions, but they should never have been redeemable (and thus playable) in the first place.

Last Updated: February 25, 2014

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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