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Microsoft Studios employee defends always-online Xbox 720

by Mark Tyson on 5 April 2013, 12:15

Tags: Xbox

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There have been persistent niggling rumours about the Microsoft Xbox 720 (AKA NextBox) online requirements. Does Always On, Always Connected refer to a mandatory state of Microsoft’s next generation console, for games to be played? Last time we heard about this notion, the leaked documentation suggested the new Xbox would “always maintain a network connection” so that it could keep system and games software always up-to-date and connected gaming experiences could quickly be resumed.

So the always-connected experience is all for our convenience? It doesn’t seem like it, if a newly reported tussle on Twitter is anything to go by. reports on a Twitter “outburst” by Microsoft Studios creative director Adam Orth and his subsequent terse exchange of views with BioWare designer Manveer Heir.

Read the Twitter twaddle tussle script below:

  • Orth: Sorry, I don't get the drama around having an 'always on' console. Every device now is 'always on'. That's the world we live in. #dealwithit.
  • Heir: Did you learn nothing from Diablo III or SimCity? You know some people's internet goes out right? Deal with it is a shitty reason.
  • Orth: Electricity goes out, too.
  • Heir: Gamers live in non urban areas too.
  • Orth: Sometimes the electricity goes out, I will not purchase a vacuum cleaner
  • Orth: The mobile reception in the area I live in is spotty and unreliable. I will not buy a mobile phone.

Later on, VideoGamer reports that both the two parties apologised for their spat and said that they are “good friends who joke around with one another”.

Further details about games being “suspended” if the internet is disconnected

Another source, this time unspecified, speaking to Kotaku is reported to have said “Unless something has changed recently Durango consumer units must have an active internet connection to be used.” Further specifics about the connection requirements are as follows; “If there isn't a connection, no games or apps can be started. If the connection is interrupted then after a period of time - currently three minutes, if I remember correctly - the game/app is suspended and the network troubleshooter started.” These always-on plans and requirements were still in place as recently as two weeks ago according to another Kotaku source.

By comparison Sony PlayStation 4 games will definitely be playable without an internet connection. In an interview with Eurogamer in February, Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida said “You can play offline, but you may want to keep it connected” for social gaming features. After further questioning he confirmed such online features were “optional”.

HEXUS Forums :: 57 Comments

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In a way I can see his point. Only last week I was bashing anything that demanded “always-on”, but when I look around I realise I am already using the same technology albeit for fun rather than DRM.

My phone is constantly internet connected for emails etc and many of the games are also always online to update hi-scores against friends etc. My PC has a permanent connection and even my xbox is always connected even though I only uses it every other week.

The difference is the software I use has the ability to save locally and can run without the ever-present connection. Handy when downloads require the full bandidth or if the router restarts randomly.

If they use the “always on” for increased fun while not reducing offline useability then go for it.. it can only make it better. But if this is move to replace offline play and introduce DRM… shame on them.
You are missing out some tweets:
The difference for me is that when my electricity goes I get compensation from my provider, who try damn hard to give me a reliable supply. When my internet goes, like it does every 2 days due to a crappy ISP provided router, my ISP don't give a damn. If the internet goes due to a fault at their end, again no compensation, just a little note on a website somewhere.

If the internet was considered a service that needs to be reliable by the providers, then I'd have less issue with always-on.
So if i bother with a next gen console, i guess it will be a PS3 then.
*Parody* CEO of Sony gives his thoughts.

Looks like I am getting a PS4, if anything next-gen at all…

EDIT: Thanks Figure for pointing that out. Serves me right for not going checkin credentials. Still funny though.