Looks like the next Xbox console will play games both offline and online after all

Microsoft is scheduled to reveal the next Xbox console (codenamed Durango) in two weeks’ time on May 21st. The announcement of the reveal event marks the first time the console maker has publicly acknowledged the existence of the upcoming system. Still, the gaming industry has known about the next Xbox for quite some time now thanks to the usual steady trickle of leaks and rumors.

One of those rumors that we haven’t addressed here at Windows Phone Central is that the new console would require an internet connection in order to function. We’ll expand on that rumor in just a bit. The new rumor (which I take for truth) is that the next Xbox will not require an always-on internet connection after all. Thank goodness!

Always on what?

Image courtesy of Penny Arcade

The original rumor about the new console requiring an internet connection in order to function stems from a report from Edge Magazine in February, though less credible whisperings existed even before that. Edge is a highly respected publication, so their sureness about the requirement basically swayed the gaming media at large into a similar sureness.

The core conceit behind the always-online requirement is that games would not be playable in the absence of an internet connection. The reason that would be desirable is obvious: it would likely shut out the used game market and make a significant dent in software piracy as well. Game makers make no profit from the sale of used games (unless the used software purchaser also buys DLC such as online passes or map packs), so there has long been interest in curbing or locking out used game sales entirely.

While we can understand why Microsoft and publishers would want next Xbox owners to have an internet connection and to hinder used game sales, that rumored requirement always seemed like a big mistake.

First off, used game retailer Game Stop would be very unlikely to support a console for which they couldn’t sell used software. Exclude a key retail partner like GameStop and your console’s chances of success drop exponentially – as SEGA once discovered when they alienated another retailer back in the Sega Saturn days.

Even more importantly, you can’t count on every console gamer actually having home internet access. Sure, most of us here in America and Europe do, but we can’t say the same for people living in rural areas or the inhabitants of many other nations. And even if gamers have access to the net, what happens if their internet connections or the Xbox Live servers drop? Online-only PC games like The Sims and World of Warcraft simply become unplayable during those downtimes.

Attitudes towards the potential requirement varied depending on one’s home internet situation and other factors – one of our own staff noted that he always has a connection when using his Xbox 360 anyway. But make no mistake, the requirement would lock out some potential customers and dissuade others. All of that would in turn give the Playstation 4 a significant advantage over Microsoft’s offering.

Disaster averted

Adam Orth always on tweets

Fears about the Durango’s always-on requirement culminated when Adam Orth, a Creative Director within Microsoft made some rather insensitive comments about the objections towards the “always-on” requirement. A public outcry followed, Microsoft quickly apologized, and the next week Orth (also an outspoken critic of the Halo franchise) left the company.

Jump ahead a month and the PR fiasco over those tweets now looks to have a massive silver lining. Today, Ars Technica published an internal email sent to full-time Microsoft employees working on the new Xbox. It states:

"Durango is designed to deliver the future of entertainment while engineered to be tolerant of today's Internet." It continues, "There are a number of scenarios that our users expect to work without an Internet connection, and those should 'just work' regardless of their current connection status. Those include, but are not limited to: playing a Blu-ray disc, watching live TV, and yes playing a single player game."

The email contradicts Edge’s initial report about the always-on requirement, but it doesn’t mean the previous report was in error. Rather, the PR fiasco following Orth’s Twitter comments seems to have inspired a change of policy within Microsoft. After all, you don’t send out an email to remind employees about a policy that has already been in place for months. This level-headed policy must be new.

In fact, Kotaku claims that internal factions within Microsoft have long been in contention over the Durango’s internet requirement. One side (the one that has at least a modicum of understanding of the console gaming industry) does not want the requirement, while another side wants it. Previously, the always on camp reigned supreme, but clearer heads eventually prevailed.

The warring factions explanation doesn’t surprise me a bit; I’ve long contended that “Internal politics and competing divisions are probably the single greatest obstacle Microsoft faces going forward.”

Up next: a rosy future?

Adam Orth memes

The new Xbox won't be always online, but these memes will always be fun.

If we take that internal email as gospel, the news that the next Xbox won’t require a persistent internet connection can only be good. Yes, some of the new system’s features will require access to the internet, just like the Xbox 360 and every other modern console. But the core gaming functionality, movie disc playback, and cable TV functions will work with or without the internet.

Speaking of gaming functionality, let’s look at that phrase “playing a single player game.” You could jump to conclusions and interpret that as meaning the Durango won’t support split-screen or offline multiplayer games. But that would be really silly.

Instead, let’s assume that the email writer thinks of games with that ‘single player = offline, multiplayer = online’ divide that non-gamers sometimes believe. There is literally no reason that local multiplayer will be eliminated or require an online connection given that single-player games won’t require such a connection.

That said, Ars Technica does raise the question of whether next Xbox games could require an internet connection during installation but not during gameplay. See, another one of those persistent rumors that everybody believes is that the system won’t play games directly from the disc. Instead, installation will be mandatory.

That could be a downer for people looking to jump straight into gameplay after unwrapping a shiny new game, assuming installation won’t end up as a background process like it will on Playstation 4. But either way, mandatory installation is a step forward compared to the Xbox 360. Because the 360 comes with or without a hard drive, developers could never count on users actually having a hard drive. That limited how much games could actually take advantage of the hard drive and sometimes caused incompatibility problems (as Halo Reach suffered when played without a hard drive at launch).

We’ll learn some of the details behind game installation and online features during the official next Xbox reveal on May 21st. You can bet that Microsoft will state whether games can be played offline either during the conference or a subsequent interview that week. Check back with us on the 21st for our coverage of the reveal!

Update: Sadly, the source proved incorrect. The Xbox One does require an internet connection.

Source: Ars Technica via Kotaku. Next Xbox Mockup image from Yanko Design.

Paul Acevedo

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

  • Well Microsoft listened. That's a very good thing.
  • They still haven't announced anything, so we don't know if the rumors vere BS or real at all. We'll know for sure in two weeks, and I am getting one either way ;)
  • Not true, that email just said that it will have Blu-ray, that's a big thing that they just announced unintentionally
  • So, you're telling me they haven't announced they are releasing a new X-Box?  Because when you state "anything" I take it you really mean "anything".  *_~
  • That's Xbox!!! No hyphen. :P
  • It was never true in the first place..
  • Source? :P
  • I know you're kidding around a little bit right now but still, you're the one who needs a reliable source since you're the one who is making a claim. It's so obvious that this email was meant for the internet/bloggers, this is something you bring up at a meeting, behind closed doors, not in an email. Microsoft do not answer rumours, so this was a loophole to shut up the stupid bloggers who were spreading fud.
  • I do have a reliable source; the article lists a total of three sources, all of which are very reliable.
  • Agreed. There wasn't just a recent, magical change in direction for something so big only months before release. It was always nothing more than speculation.
  • So, the Creative Director within Microsoft made his comments about the objections towards the “always-on” and the feedback and furor about this from the general public didn't sway Microsoft to rethink their position?  The only "magical" thing here is your thinking.  But it's yours and let you believe it.  
  • He never mentioned always online in those tweets he mentioned always ON (his other tweet regarding electricity implies he was maybe talking about power, not internet).
    And he wasn't anybody high up or important within Microsoft, so he likely wasn't privvy to the information anyway.
    It makes no sense that Microsoft would change a pretty fundamental aspect of their console this late in the game (they must be almost 100% done by now). I don't buy the argument that a company doesn't send reminder emails about policy - most Microsoft employees would not know anything about the new Xbox, and this could easily be setting the record straight so everybody is on the same page.
    If Microsoft changed their tune after the outcry - good (but how could they be so dumb in the first place to require live Internet connection to do offline things like a single-player game?)
  • He obviously meant always online. Did you read all the tweets? Also, Creative Director (which is a lot like Producer) isn't the very highest level exec but you can bet the people in those positions know about the planned hardware's features. There wouldn't be any games at launch this fall if developers hadn't already started working on them late last year/early this year.
  • The way his first tweet says "always on" and that every device is "always on" implies he's talking about standby power, not Internet.
    Certainly from a literal interpretation he does not mention Internet connectivity AT ALL specifically. If he meant always online he could have said that.
    If the online/offline functionality is all handled at an OS level I don't believe a creative director would necessarily know about the final plans - since games would possibly not actively have to handle anything.
    It comes down to what is most plausible to me. I may be wrong, but the tweets (which don't specify Internet), and the sheer unbelievability that Xbox would need a live Internet connection to work AT ALL, and the closeness to release make it implausible that Microsoft have changed their mind and reversed a major decision.
    We don't have the facts. Can we reliably infer from tweets that he was talking about online connectivity when he never specifically mentioned it? Can we even be sure the original rumours were based in fact? Is this email memo even legit?
    We'll find out soon if the online requirement is real, but we'll probably never know of what plans they had before that.
  • One of his comments is definitely specific to having an internet connection. And the term always on is short for always online. Nobody was saying "did he mean always online or always on top of a cake?" when the fiasco went down. We all knew what it meant because that's what it means, man. To suggest that first-party developers won't have a good understanding of the new system's hardware and features prior to the console announcement is really silly. It's cool that you admit you could be wrong, and we don't have to agree with each other about everything. But on this one point, you should accept that yes, people within Microsoft who make games know what the console will do and what it will require from users.
  • "Always on" is short for "always online" if you're referring to DRM.  It is not always short for "always online" when you're referring to electronics or PCs.  Cable and satellite boxes are "always on", but are not "online."  There has been a lot of *speculation* about always-on DRM for Xbox and nothing I've seen on this or any other site has ever been anything more than that - speculation.  I've always taken that speculation with a grain of salt because Microsoft isn't that dumb.  I wasn't at all surprised to see the latest "leak".
    Flipping something like this isn't just a matter of flipping a bit from "on" to "off" - changing something core to the system like this, especially when other teams and other companies are involved, didn't just happen in the last few months because of some user feedback.  Things that big rarely change that quickly in engineering (I say that as an engineer myself).
    Here's some information from an alleged "insider" that indicates the opposite of what's stated here.  This was posted on 4/17.  I'm more likely to believe this guy (given the incredibly detailed specs and architecture details from the same source) than I am this article.  I'm all over the insider info you guys get for Windows Phone, but I think you've missed here on the Xbox side... http://www.vgleaks.com/rumor-durango-leaks-analyzed-by-anonymous-source-pastebin-doc/
    You are not required to be connected to the internet in order to play Durango games and MS were NEVER considering doing such a thing. Now please, just read that last sentence over and over again until it sinks in. Done? Good.
  • It's important you keep in mind that our article is a recap of articles created elsewhere. WPCentral didn't create a position on this issue and then run with it. We're just reporting the mainstream gaming press's stance/knowledge of the situation from February until now. I've read every article that the major outlets have written on the subject, as many of you guys have possibly done too. Everything I said, the sources I quoted said first, and it came from a credible source. Now, you've got another anonymous source in that article and he appears to be credible as well. That's great because most of what he says is really positive. We can't know whether he's 100% correct or not at this point. We can know that game developers were told the system would require an internet connection to function as that has been confirmed by multiple sources. If your guy is right, those developers were told wrong by people at Microsoft. About the change from requiring an internet connection to not (if such a change occured), that's an OS-level thing and can be changed much more easily than say, hardware. Hell, I doubt the entire OS and system features are completely set in stone at this point. They work on these things up until the last minute and even if they expect a certain feature to be present at launch, it might not be ready to show on May 21. Finally, like I was telling another guy, if the story of two separate camps at MS debating the online requirement is true, the software engineers could certainly have planned for either contingency. Knowing that it's a contentious issue, they'd be shortsighted to not at least think about both options.
  • Too much FUD on the internet these days
  • It wasn't just FUD though. We had plenty of reason to believe the previous rumors were true. Microsoft just changed its mind (IMO), which is a good thing.
  • My belief was that always on is required for the cable box/DVR functionality. Can't wait to see how they implement this BTW. Watching a TV show like Walking dead and the Xbox overlays a house of the dead type of game or typing of the dead and tracks your score as the show plays. Then ranks you with other players/friends.
  • I really hope it's not cable/satellite TV only. I would like my over-the-air Windows Media Center DVR experience directly on my next Xbox, so I can finally get rid of my big, bulky, old, loud desktop.
  • I always believed that this was blown out of proportion.  Nintendo advertises both the Wii and Wii U as "Always On" because it's always able to be active on your internet connection when it's available.  This means game and system updates can download in the background, demos, etc, etc. Which is why I found that Penny Arcade comic so funny.  And very true.
    And yes, a "leaked" memo stating that "even single player games" are available offline is absolutely necasary.  Why would they waste a bunch of time at the conference talking about something that should have been fairly clear.
    However, I hope they move heavy towards a digital store. Steam is a shining example of why this is good.  I get games at heavily discounted prices just a few weeks after launch often times whereas consoles can only go to used game stores and till pay more than Steam sales.  I'd love to see used games die in favor of a good online service with awesome sales.
  • I personally hate the download only system. I firmly believe in buying a physical item. You should have the right to play it as long as you like. Then after you beat the game or get tired of it sale it. You can recoup some of your money to invest in another game or whatever. Games aren't consumable like food, water and gas so you should have the the right to resale them.
  • Physical medium is dying.  I would rather pay less when I buy the game and keep it forever.  This is coming from someone with close to 200 games on Steam.  I buy tons of games during the sales.  It's awesome.  I used to be someone who liked having a physical copy.  But what if the copy gets damaged?  What if, two weeks after buying Skyward Sword, your Wii decides it's going to start carving a groove in games it plays?  Suddenly you're out of the $60 you spent on a game before you ever beat it.  Combine online purchases with cloud sync?  Awesome.  Between Skydrive and Steam I can start over on my computer without worrying about information going away.  I can select all the games I want to reinstall and kick it off and the next day they're there.
    It's just the way our society as a whole is moving.  You don't have to like it but it's not going to change it.  10 years from now physical media will be dead.  If it takes that long.
  • First off if you scratch or damage a disc you can exchange it. I've done this numerous times at WalMart and Best Buy. I didn't even have to have a receipt. Physical games isn't dying. This is coming from a guy who has about 45GB left on a 320GB Xbox. I just bought the star wars pinball download earlier since it was half price. The majority of people want something physical in their hand when they shell out big money. If all games were $5 or less maybe but there not. You have nothing to show for your money. When you beat the game you've just lost 100% of your money. On Christmas or birthdays how do you wrap a virtual game? All the soccer moms (who have piles of cash) want physical items to wrap for their kids. So don't believe physical games are going anywhere. As a matter of fact most of the popular virtual games usually make it to physical disc.
  • Actually games and other similar entertaiment are considered "consumable" for most people. Only a very small percentage of gamers go back and play a disc game years after their initial playthrough. I used to horde discs till I realized I had a box of PS1 and PS2 game that I never replayed and had no desire to replay even though I had fond memories of those games.
    It's very easy to catch deals for "newish" games if you pay attention and don't need to have it on release day. Or you can wait a year and get it for super cheap.
    Games aren't investments (with the rare exception of very old game that had limited release, etc) they ALWAYS go down in value. Gamers with smaller budgets are going to have to learn how to adjust their consumption because physical media is going to go away.
  • Are you making up your own facts??? Games are in no way considered consumable. Hahaha... WalMart and other retailers wouldn't allow physical games to die. Use your brain dude. WalMart and other retailers make very little money off the consoles. They make all their money off physical game sales. If Microsoft made any attempt WalMart wouldn't give no shelf space for the Xbox. Sales would plummet. So think about all the ramifications next time before you post your personal opinion. Also just Bing sales figures of any game and compare physical to virtual sales. It's not even close. It works for music because songs are .99 or less. Crap it don't even work for DVDs and there only $20. When people spend money they want something to show for it. You don't have that with virtual downloads. It's just money flushed down the toilet gone forever..
  • The way you're describing your own game use - buying them, playing them, and then selling or trading them away fits with the definition of consumable. If you considered them permanent purchases that you would revisit again and again, that would be the opposite of consumable. And you shouldn't take Odog to task for expressing his opinions because that's what you're doing as well. Heck, that's how we have discussions. ~ ~
  • LOL did I just get told not to post my personal opinion by somebody who is also posting their personal opinion??? Yup. Gotta love the internet.
    I'm still not understanding the point you are trying to make. When people got to the movies or a concert  or go out to dinner are people angrily parting with their money? You don't get to "repeat" those experiences. You can pay to enjoy them on a seperate occasion though. What about renting a movie from red box, or iTunes, or subscribing to Netflix or Spotify??? 
    Big box retailers have bigger issues to worry about than whether they are going to sell game consoles in the future (like competing with Amazon.com etc). It is possible to sell and distribute hardware without a big box retailer (ever order anything online before?). More difficult yes but not impossible and it will only get easier in the future.
  • Funny but what I said is not an opinion. Its a fact. Statistically it's not even close. Physical games are #1 by far. Like I recommended do some research. The majority of people don't give their money away without getting something in their hand.
  • That has more to do with internet availability, bandwidth, storage capacity (many Xbox 360s lack this in a big way), pricing (retail prices often drop much lower than digital prices, at least Xbox 360-wise), and release dates (on Xbox 360, retail games don't become available on GoD until weeks or months later) than the sole preference to own a physical product IMO. That's a lot of factors and many of them will go away over time, but we're not there yet.
  • I'd actually have to agree more or less with tbonenga if only because I know for a fact that: 1) Many gamers and the parents of young gamers trade in old games to buy the new ones because $60 is a lot especially when so many games are over in a matter of a few hours and 2) used games are usually returnable if you don't like it versus new where you just get a disk exchange. I like games and even will download some if the price is right but if they all went download only, I'd find another hobby. I'm just paranoid enough to believe that if the industry went download only, they'd run the prices up because of lack of competition and the DRM would be out of this world.
  • Funny how your "facts" totally ignore things like XBLA and PSN games which are download only. Both MS and Sony offer full game downloads on their services for a reason, people have the internet to handle this. Not everybody but the gap is closing on those who can't
    Also let's ignore the success of download only Steam and the rise of mobile games while we are at because nobody is used to paying for games that they can't trade in...
    Cry all you want, and enjoy your recycling program while it last, because there is NOTHING you can do to stop progress. Physical dics will become a niche product in the next decade.
  • Thanks for proving yourself wrong. The most popular live games go to disc. Why? Because that's what people want. Think just for 1 minute. If all games went to streaming where would you buy a console? Gamestop would be shut down. WalMart, Best Buy and all the other retailers wouldn't carry a console without games. That's how they make money. There's no profit on the console itself. Do you notice everytime you go into WalMart or Best Buy you see DVDs? Why? Because people want physical items for something that cost that much. So you'd have to go against retailers and the peoples will. That's not gonna happen. If you have something you can sell and recoup some money vs. Something that's basically flushing money down the toilet what do you think the majority (not me or you) would want? Exactly...... Physical games will die when virtual cars take off.
  • LOL you are totally making my day by the way :)
    Yes big budget game still come out on disc so they are available to people without good internet connections. If you actually read my comments you'll notice that I said its going to be quite a few years until disc based releasedsare the exception rather than the rule. More people will get better internet over time.
    To answer your question "If all games went to streaming where would you buy a console?"
    You would buy it directly from MS or Sony websites, Amazon, and possible the online versions of the brick-and-mortar stores you mentioned. Seriously, did you know that people can pay for goods from their computer and have them delieverd to their front door! Consider it magic...
  • Brick and mortar presence is important; consoles would die off without retail stores to sell them. So the issue of how they will continue to thrive when retail software releases shrink away is actually a big deal. I don't doubt they will solve it when the time comes (possibly with a Vita-like sales model).
  • Brick and mortar presence is important but these outlets also sell phones and tablets; where they don't get a monetary cut off any apps downloaded to these devices once they leave the store...
    There is another case where brick and mortor can't hold consoles hostage if there are no physical game discs taking up shelf space.
  • EPIC FAIL !!!!!! Brick and mortars get a major cut on every phone they sell. That's why you can usually get a better deal at WalMart, Best Buy or Amazon.
    Tablets are typically a 30% profit.
    Think a bit. If you were a CEO would you give up shelf space without making profit?
    On another note shelf space for games is advertisement. You can't beat that type of advertisement.
  • Learn how to read!
    The topic of the discussion turned toward B & M getting a cut of all software sold on disc!!!!!
    B&M don't see dime one if somebody decides to buy a $.99 app from iTunes or Google Play.
    Why would B&M stop getting a cut of anything sold in their stores, including consoles? Nobody actually said that in the thread, you need to slow down and actually READ.
  • I hope there live service drops down in price. I was going to get a ps4. Changed my mind now.
  • Don't mind the price. Servers are better and customer service is better. The money goes towards services like ufc and ESPN and a bunch of other free services. 60 a year isn't bad.
  • Customer service is terrible
    It's like trying to talk to DELL.
  • Could not disagree more. I unfortunately have had plenty experience with Xbox support. It was excellent everytime.
  • $60 a year for Live is dirt cheap for what you get. If you can't afford that I don't even know what to say.
  • What about the part of that memo that basically confirms Blu-Ray for Durango?
  • That is good too, but not very surprising.
  • Who uses phyiscal media? Only old ladies. Real men don't do physical media.
    I want the new console to have 100% downloadable games, not a select few.
    I also don't mind the always on if it was very effective against robbing bit torrenting theives. Sock it to em.
    I think the last time I went into a store to buy a CD, Steve Jobs was messing around with Next machines. Good riddance.
  • Blu-Ray movies remain far superior to downloadable movies as far as picture and sound quality and special features. Game-wise, the lack of Blu-Ray kept the Xbox 360 from getting a few games like Metal Gear Solid 4 and sometimes resulted in 360 versions of PS3/PC games such as Final Fantasy XIII having inferior visuals and sound. Blu-Ray is a great thing for the new console.
  • True, very very true!
  • The last time I tried streaming movies, even in HD, blu-ray's video and especially audio quality was still leaps and bounds better. I'll stop using physical media when streaming stops sucking in comparison.
  • As Paul and Method have already stated, Blu-Ray blows digitial out of the water in terms of quality. While digital visual quality might be pretty good, Blu-Ray is still better. And don't even get me started on audio quality. Digital doesn't even hold a candle to Blu-Ray on the audio front.
    Stop making generalisations for everyone. If you don't like physical media, then fine. That's your choice. As you can see, some of us prefer physical media and that's the reason it's still around.
  • I seriously, hate your comment! Plenty of real men and women buy physical media still.
  • Did this guy leave or "leave"?
  • Most likely "left".
  • Tee hee
  • I have a hard time believing they would ever do that, it would be handing sales over to Sony.
  • Nova 3 Is coming this Wednesday ;)
  • Link with info?
  • Hope you remember your French lessons ;)
  • I just highlight and Bing Translate it:    N.O.V.A. 3 is output Xbox Windows Phone of the week! The third installment of the now famous series finally arrives on WP8. This new FPS by Gameloft (after Modern Combat 4) therefore joins the Xbox on the Microsoft OS games catalog!   N.O.V.A. 3 - Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance HD is a FPS (First Person Shooter) to unquestionable success on Android and iOS. Offering very high quality graphics, impressive visual effects, a full multiplayer and gameplay excellent, N.O.V.A. 3 proves to be one of the best games of action on the mobile platform. If it was, in its first version, considered to be a simple clone of the famous game "HALO", this third installment is becoming today a reference in the genre. And here it is on Windows Phone, to the delight of lovers of FPS!   From our contact at Gameloft, N.O.V.A. 3 will be available in the coming days on the Windows Phone Store. Its price should be around six euros and the game will have the label Xbox Windows Phone, allowing you to unlock achievements, play online and compare your performance with your friends. Like any Xbox game, it should propose a trial version to test it for free. It will be compatible with the terminals under WP8.   Announced in March by Gameloft, N.O.V.A. therefore finally arrives on mobile OS from Microsoft, one year to the day after Android & iOS. The game should be available next Thursday!
  • The translation is really good, I'm impressed, sadly it only works good in one way...
  • Honestly didn't believe for a second it would be online only.
  • Hey Paul you good man, get off the internet and enjoy yourself...happy birthday dude, all the best :-)
  • Thanks man! Spent the whole weekend offline, enjoying stuff with family. When I finish writing for the day today, I look forward to settling down with Injustice: Gods Among Us for a bit. :)
  • So... what is that console pic? A fan render? Or something true?
  • It's a mockup from a design studio - link at bottom of the article.
  • I still won't like the fact that I might have to be connected to get the game. I don't want my Xbox connected at all. I've got no use for it to be. I don't have cable its over rated and over priced. It started will all the reality crap. And for internet I've got my rt phone and desktop. I just want great graphics will multiplayer on one system. Seems like that might be too much to ask for though. Cause it seems most games nowadays are online multi only anyways. Damn companies.
  • If you have a home network, there really is no downside to connecting your console online. You'd be missing out on a host of features and benefits, even if you choose not to play online with others.
  • There is a home network but that's not the point. The point is I have a game system to do just that play games. I don't really care for these little games like what phones have to offer. I just want turn it on and play. And maybe have friends over to play multiplayer. But that's all becoming nonexistent anymore.
  • It's time to adjust, man. XBLA games such as the recently released Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon or even Minecraft are wayy better than most phone games. Just because your system has an internet connection, that doesn't mean you can't still enjoy local multiplayer with friends. Mine has always been connected and I still play local multiplayer regularly.
  • You're missing the bigger picture. Ignore all the haters for a minute and realize one thing: Online installation may take any number of forms (from a quick license key check, to a full download), but it almost certainly means the end of having to swap discs in and out of the Xbox every time you want to switch games. That by itself is GOLD. Also, how do you plan to get patches for your games if you aren't at least marginally connected to the Internet?
  • I got my orig Xbox 360 in 2006. Never connected it to the net till this year. And local multi games are few and far nowadays. As long as I can play a good game with great graphics that's what's gold. If I have to get off the couch to switch a game then so be it. Maybe I won't develop a blood clot. Also I don't have money to spend on new games at like $60 a pop. I wait a long time for them to drop or I buy used only. Sorry devs. But not really as well.
  • I hear ataris are real cheap these days. Step into the future pops.
  • Hey hey, nothing wrong with Ataris. I connect to the internet on my Xbox but not my PS3 for certain reasons (mainly because I have on old one that has full backwards compatibility and Sony loves to take functionality away from your console). It's his choice to connect or not.
  • A long time ago I had one growing up. Ataris that is. I'm just not a die hard gamer to see all the needs on these systems. Sure I play a good amount. But its not my life. With all these big tvs out there can anyone honestly tell me that local play on a system is more hindered and not worth having your friends over to play and so called party? Is it really that much better for multi play online? For me online will never compare to people and there buddies actually seeing each other and having a fun. I could see multi online as an addition but don't force it. That is the biggest drawback for me on any newer system.
  • This whole always on thing doesn't bother me in the slightest as my xbox is always connected anyway. One thing i would like to know is backwards compatibility, like to replace my current xbox and ps3 with one system with bluray however i have alot of current gen games. This compatibility will sell it big time to me and probably alot of other gamers.
  • *IF* this "insider" is really an insider and really knows, backward compatibility won't be an issue.  This would certainly jive with other rumors and leaks I've seen previously.  Of course, everything we see is speculation until Microsoft actually announces it...
    See the part about the 360 SoC (which has come up a number of times).
  • Btw, happy birthday Pauly!
  • Thank you very much. :)
  • I never understood their reasoning behind Used games being bad.  Yes, they might lose some profit, but you can't have Used games without people buying New games to begin with. These people that complain have probably bought or was given used cars, used furniture, used books/music CDs/movies... and the original creators don't get profit from those sales.  What makes games set apart from those? I normally buy my games new, but I see no reason why I shouldn't be able to borrow/rent a game that I have no intention of purchasing or buying a used game that I can no longer find new.
  • Their reasoning is pretty cut and dried. They don't think you actually own your game, you merely bought a license to play it. Therefore any and all profit/sales from that game should always go into their pocket until the end of time. They believe that they own the content and should never be cut out of being able to make money off it. They should own the game in perpituity, and if it means that you can't play the game because you don't have a connection to their server (even after giving them $60 for a game), well then tough cookies. You don't own the game in their eyes, they sold you permission to play it.
  • Forgive me for my ignorance.  But how would having to have an internet connection stop the sale of used games?  I must be missing something here. 
  • There was once discussion of having each game come with a code that would lock it to one console (PS3 originally had this rumor). Other discussions have ensued over the years and one of the gaming companies (might have been EA) made it so that if you went online with a used copy of one of their FPSs you had to pony up $10 to play with other people.
  • Thanks.  That would suck.  And be bad for any company that fully implemented it.
  • Games would require an online activation. Used games would either be unplayable or the user would have to purchase a a new license for the disc.
  • I don't think the internet always online was that locked in previously. Surely such a poor idea would not have made it this far in to the development. GameStop were full on behind the console a few weeks ago, and I doubt that they would have been as enthusiastic if the used game block and always online thing were a done deal. As for the cable tv overlay, not much point. Why would I want to have two boxes on when one would do?
  • I think I'm getting the ps4 though :\
  • It will go good with your iPhone.
  • Not playing used games means what exactly? Can I buy a game and play it on multiple consoles like a friends console or its only gonna be playable in one console?
  • The latter.
  • Will be great if there is more features for windows phone 8 on the phone and console but from what i have read about the console already i think it will be an awesome force to be reckoned with looking forward to purchasing one soon...this will slaughter the PS4...
  • I'll still buy the ps4
  • Lol your welcome to, but i would wait till the 21st for the official xbox specs and features before making any concrete decision it looks as if it will make the ps4 seem dated features and games wise :)
  • I only care about the games and i love sony exclusives games (uncharted, infamous, ps all stars...) too much for even considering for a second buying a Xbox :)
  • I see and agree that you like your Sony games, so maybe you can buy an xbox later on when cheaper and run them side by side or start to enjoy the amazing exclusives that the xbox has instead :)
  • I'm getting both, both have their upsides.
  • Ever try playing a arcade game without an internet connection.... Well then you would know it's happening already
  • Actually, only XBLIG titles require an internet connection. XBLA games will play offline on the console from which they were purchased.
  • No more console for me either way
  • There's no proof whatsoever that Microsoft planned for always on and then changed policy due to backlash. This thing is due to come out in a few months. When that rumor came out you best beleive that the machine weas already finalized. At large companies it's not uncommon for massive emails to go out to employees reiterating current policy. For instance, companies often send out emails about dress code. it doesn't mean there was a change in dress code, they were just reiterating the policy.
    MS is huge and unless you were in the know at Xbos, you probably didn't know the policy regarding "always on." So it's highly likely that in the shadow of the upcoming Xbox reveal, Microsoft sent out the memo to set the mood cause undoubtedly people were asking questions given the big upcoming date.
    I think Orth leaving is proof that he had no idea what he was talking about. if his twitter was gospel, then he theoretically shouldn't have left since he was only telling the truth. instead he was spreading rumors and gossip on the internet about something he truly didn't know about.
  • Plenty of inside sources had proof - whether you choose to believe them or not is up to you. As for Orth, he wasn't let go because of making a factual mistake. He was let go because of the bad PR he attracted.
  • It's probable that there was proof of an always-on Xbox in some stage, but it doesn't mean the team who was solely responsible was chugging this out. I don't doubt that there were folks at MS who thought there was an always on Xbox. But are these folks people who are depe in the everyday trenches or were these folks who say, worked on bing apps? Or was it the skydrive team? MS is HUGE. It's not unlikely that a game of telephone occurred.
    Again, Microsoft "leaking" this memo isn't proof that the policy changed. If anything they were just reiterating a policy about a very important product that's about to be announced and didn't want the already false rumors to get ahead of it. Sorry, but I find it extremely difficult to believe that they'd remove a feature for a product that's about to be announced. We've seen how slow they've been to fix Windows 8 and implement features into Windows Phone. Do you really think they'd have time to change the infrastructure of the next Xbox and alert all game developers and publishers in the matter of 1-2 months? Highly doubt it. It was never meant to be a system that's always on.
  • The change we're describing isn't the removal of a feature. It's the changing of an arbitrary requirement from yes to no, online to offline. I won't pretend to know how complex that really is under the hood, but turning off something isn't as hard as creating a new thing and turning it on. If anything, they might have planned for either contingency based on the dissent over the requirement within the company.
  • They have never come out and said either way, and the one person in Microsoft that commented on it was fired without so much as a simple explination. They were planning on implementing this and when it blew up all over the internet they sent an email around saying it wasn't true. They STILL haven't said anything publicly, so that means that they could go either way. The fact that they had to even tell employees in a mass email that the rumor isn't true *before* they tell the public is incredibly damning. If it isn't true, they should just come out and say it. If it is true (online only) and they have been denying it only to confirm it then they are literally going to lose this console generation by a country mile. They planned to do this and decided at the last second to reverse their decision. The simple fact that they've said *absolutely nothing* about it publicly to stop the rampant rumors tells me they weren't prepared at all for the response they've seen. They'd lose absolutely nothing coming out and denying it to the public. But they haven't. Why?
  • Not that I agree with how they've handled it, but the main reason they haven't said one way or the other is that the console hasn't been announced yet. They seriously dragged their heels to even announce the reveal event. Until the system is announced, the official line is to pretend it doesn't even exist, hence no comments.
  • That's not an excuse, though. We know its coming. Microsoft cant possibly believe we don't know, and if they are that stupid it would nice and neatly explain why they'd let such a terribly damaging rumor continue to circulate. I suppose they are stupid enough to do that, though. They fired a guy pretty much telling everybody against the idea to shut up and like it, and they *still* haven't said publicly what they are doing. That tells me it was considered, not having announced the new console  is irrelevant. 
  • I'm glad they put this rumor to rest. I used to work at Gamestop and a lot of folks would only buy a new game if they could trade in their old ones to offset the cost. They'd be shooting themselves in the foot if they got too obnoxious about blocking used games.
  • I'm more worried about the rumored cost,five hundred bones is alot money.
  • Personally if I was MS and caught wind of the mayhem from sim city I would of decided to test the waters by throwing out a feeler. kind of what happened except that guy was a clueless tard on twitter (no offense to tard the cat)
  • I still believe the always on is not DRM related. Your phone is always on, unless you power it down, it is just in stand by. "Always on" could mean a low power standby mode that could download and install updates, let you know if you have messages, or some special Kinect functionality.
  • Always on is DRM related. It was created specifically to be DRM against piracy. Always on has never meant anything else.
  • I think the perception got warped. Kinda like that game in grade school where you tell one person something then they tell the next and so on. Even if it was just a rumor or something MS thought about; it became fact for so many people. Just goes to show that you need to bring a bucket of salt with you to the internet these days. :)
  • I can't wait to find out officially what were gonna be getting, I'm so fed up with all this rumor bullshit.
  • Well I'm still waiting till next year for buying either ps or xbox next gen, hopefully when the slim versions come out at half the price.
  • Probably wishful thinking, but it would be great if the next Xbox supported Keyboard and Mouse controller setups natively. Depending on the graphics quality this could bring a lot of PC gamers to the Xbox.
    I for one would definitely buy it if it supported keyboad/mouse setup; I am a PC gamer and there is just no way I am switching to a controller setup.
    Plus it would enable RTS games to be made on the console, not to mention better FPS gameplay.
  • Can we all stop reporting and get worked up over every rumor, please.
  • Who cares about XBox? PS4 FTW!
  • People who aren't console trolls care about it. :P
  • Um... No. PS sucks, their controllers and their online. Unless your one of those Final Fantasy people.
  • Was it noted that always-on specifically meant always online? Or could it have meant always on (power)?
    I could see the next Xbox always being turned on especially with Kinect. The result would be like what you see in movies where someone walks into the room and the device says hello, etc... :)
  • Yeah, the rumor has always been 'always online.' Hence people getting up in arms about it.
  • Always on would have been a killer to me and many, many people I know. Everyone talks about people who are in rural areas and such but what about the military? I'm in the Navy and the Xbox provides much needed relaxation during deployments of 7-8 months.
  • I plan on getting both consoles (Xbox first of course) for the reasons of exclusive titles, unique interactivity, and they both have an AMD apu. I kind of want the xbox to have its processor be swapable, like modern day CPUs are, this is a long term thing though, since a 50GB BluRay can easily hold the game with multiple graphics attunements this would be good for the future in like 4 years when you can get a better processor but the game disc has settings for the new and old configuration. Just a thought that I would love.
  • MS and offline console, EA and offline Sims 4. But at least MS cares.
  • Aight nice MS.....I'll be pre-ordering the Next Xbox soon
  • MS needs another leader like Gates was. He had final say. If you did not like it, hit the road. There are too many 'factions' wanting to do it their way instead of the way that is best for their UNIFIED OS. I am glad there will be no 'always on' requirement. Too many hurricanes here for that. I can power my house, but not the incoming connection to the world. Too many kids come here when a storm is threatening to not have varied entertainment.
  • I'm just waiting for the kinect 2 release, bought the 360 after seeing dance central and can't wait to see what the new device will be capable of
  • Always online DRM for games was never true to begin with. I can't believe anyone would even remotely believe that horse sh*t.
    That being said, I believe the console will have the "capability" of being always online for various extra features. The system will have a "low power" mode for when you turn off the system, it will still somehow be online. " For what?", you may ask....well, it's so that you can communicate with your console remotely. Out at work and glimpse the latest hot game or DLC? Put it to download. That's right, by the time you get home, instead of waiting for your content to download, it will already be on your HDD and ready to play. Personally I can't wait for the 21st.
  • NeoGAF is on fire...
  • Well, I can't wait to see the integration for tv and hope its not just pay tv. If I can get a dual tuner homerun hd and the new Xbox sees it, and I plug in a 2TB HD... I'm done with DirecTV and helliw new set top!
  • It better be able to play blurays. I apologize in advance if this is,the case, I haven't really been following up with Xbox details.
  • Its all just rumors until I hear it from MS directly. Sorry.
  • I've always thought this was a huge overreaction. To me there seemed to be a very logical explaination. Did Microsoft play around with the idea of always on - of course they did. And I'm willing to bet that Sony did too!
    I'm sure they played with it and came up with what they saw as the best implementation of it. And then they weigh up the pros and the cons and come to a decision. And it obvious that the pros just don't beat the cons.
    And all the reporting of "It will be always on" was done before they weighed up the pros and cons and came to a decision.
    It's a good argument that there are fundermental high level flaws with always on that they need an answer to before they even think about making a prototype - a decent percentage of the audience has no internet or bad internet, how will it work for them? But, a company Microsoft's side can afford to invest in some prototypes.
  • Articles like this are really dumb. Rumors on top of rumors. No facts here, just tons of misinformed assumptions and loads of speculation passed off as pseudo facts. We don't know if online is required and more importantly we don't know if we should want online required or not. Eventually online will be a requirement in the content industry and I believe it will ultimately be better that way. I would gladly trade my 12 or so HBO channels for HBO Go even though HBO Go requires Internet. The optical disc drive isn't going to be around forever.
  • There is not one non-fact portrayed as a fact in this article. And whether a rumor deserves to be reported or not comes down to credibility. Edge has credibility, Kotaku has credibility, and Ars Technica has it. They have a lot more credibility than say, an individual reader because they work in the business and deal with game developers every day. They've proven over time that we can trust them. If they say a developer told them the system will require an online connection, then that's what they were told. We also have a fare share of credibility and choose to report on rumors when we have good reason to believe them, as is the case here. You don't have to believe the rumor or the mainstream gaming outlets who first reported it, but don't call them or anyone else who chooses to believe them dumb.
  • Every one of the sites you list (and most other tech sites) write a lot of reports based on *rumors*. They miss on more rumors than they actually hit - and that's okay. I'm not saying they're not credible, but you really have to take it all with a grain of salt until it comes from the actual source. Even supposed leaks are never absolute. Look at all of the rumors about Surface and Windows Phone that were reported on, but never came close. The "always online" thing never made sense and was always more about the publishing companies than about Microsoft (or Sony).
  • "After all, you don’t send out an email to remind employees about a policy that has already been in place for months."
    I do at my work, all the time. People tend to forget policies and do their own thing.