It’s been a crazy day or so for the folks over in Redmond. Rumors have been rampant for months that the next-generation consoles would feature a requirement for their systems to be “always on”, meaning that a constant high-speed internet connection would be needed.
The logic behind “always on” is to control digital right management (DRM) and limit the exchange of used games. Thus, taking very profitable income away from resale stores such as GameStop, and hopefully forcing gamers to purchase new games only. This would be a critical blow to resale shops. They garner an incredibly large profit from the sale of used games. GameStop CEO J. Paul Raines spoke about the new Xbox just recently and sounded nothing other than impressed with what he’s seen. You’d think that wouldn’t be the case if he knew Microsoft had intended to deliver a severe financial blow to his company.
Sony came out and disproved their half of the story, stating that the PlayStation 4 would not require a constant connection. Microsoft has of course been completely mum about their next-gen plans. Well, mum no more. Sources have told Kotaku that Microsoft will indeed go forward with their plans to require the next Xbox to be “always on”. They spoke about how the Durango, Microsoft’s code-name for their new console, will incorporate the controversial mechanic:
“Unless something has changed recently, Durango consumer units must have an active internet connection to be used. 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.”
Numerous issues come to mind with the thought of consoles requiring an internet connection. High-speed internet availability in rural areas, countries that currently don’t have the data infrastructure ready, and even internet outages all could play pivotal roles in rendering Microsoft’s newest console essentially useless. One person who didn’t think it would be an issue though, is Microsoft Studio’s Creative Director, Adam Orth. In a tweet sent yesterday evening, he stated:
“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”
The hashtag may be what stirred up much of the drama. Orth was flooded with tweets stating the abundant reasons why an always on console could be a terrible idea. The truth is however, that we still know nothing for sure. Until Microsoft comes out publicly and discusses plans for their next console this is all purely rumor and speculation. Hopefully a full reveal of the console is forthcoming so we can put all these rumors to rest.