For a long time during the build up to the Xbox One reveal event there were some ugly rumors circulating the internet about the new console requiring a constant internet connection in order to function. The main concern surrounding the rumor was what would that mean for gamers who either don’t have an internet connection or at the very most only have access to very weak or even dial up internet?
At this stage, Microsoft are still being rather tight lipped about their stance on Xbox One ‘Always On’. It’s almost like they have seen the rampant criticism and thought that perhaps it’s best to sweep this one under the carpet or sneak it in through the back door.
The fact that Microsoft haven’t flat out said “Xbox One does not require an always online connection” is somewhat concerning. In fact, Vice President of Microsoft Phil Harrison has said "There are many devices in your life that require the Internet to function. Xbox One is no different in that it requires, at some point in the beginning and at various times through its on state, to connect to our cloud and to our internet."
That statement suggests that, while the Xbox One doesn’t need a constant internet connection to function, you do need to have access to an internet connection in order for you to use it. Rumors currently doing the rounds suggest that you will need to connect your Xbox One to the internet at least once during a 24 hour period.
Bad news if your phone lines suffer problems or your isp has a few technical hiccups. Technology, naturally, will occasionally go wrong, so for a console to require you to connect to the internet on a frequent basis will be somewhat of a hindrance of gamers who are plagued by unstable internet.
And it’s even worse news for those of us who don’t have access to an internet connection at all.
It would seem that developers are not learning from recent online only play disasters which rocked Diablo III and Sim City during the days following the games’ releases. If there are server issues within Microsoft, what does that mean for offline play?
Certain sources believe always on is being pushed by developers who are keen to reduce trading games and buying games second hand. It is reported that second hand games will require an additional fee to play by loading the game to the cloud. Does that mean users will be able to play a pre-owned game on the Xbox One during the 23 hours and 59 minute period you don’t need to connect online, but will be required to pay for the privilege thereafter?
While the quote from Phil Harrison would suggest that Xbox One will not require an always on internet connection, Microsoft have not ruled out that certain games will be built with this function required, much like certain PC games such as the aforementioned Diablo III and Sim City. Developers will have the choice whether they want to be always on, which could mean one of two things:
1. The developers are trying to decrease second hand games sales or
2. Perhaps, at long last, MMO’s will become a regular feature on Xbox One
MMO’s are the only reason why a game should be always on (unless of course the game also has a single player campaign – but this does defeat the object of developing an MMO in the first place). Gamers have been calling out for a Fable MMO for years, so perhaps the Xbox One will be home to the long rumored title.
For playing offline games, there is no need to maintain a constant connection to the internet. There is even less of a need to be connected while watching a movie. To be interrupted during either of these because an internet connection cuts out would frustrate and alienate gamers.
The statements released by Microsoft seem to have raised more questions than they have answered and it will continue to be debated until Microsoft dedicate time to explaining the Xbox One’s always on, sometimes on, or less likely, not necessarily on, stand point.
As a gamer, always on does seem like it would be more of a hindrance than a help. From a business point of view, perhaps it makes sense, after all Microsoft and developers don’t make any money from second hand sales.
Check back soon for the latest news on the great always on debate.
Article by - Mike Jeavons
Insert Date: 05/25/2013
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