Industry sources have told Kotaku that Microsoft’s Xbox 720 (codenamed “Durango”) will require an always-online internet connection in order to start up games, but may also handle connection dropouts.
“Unless something has changed recently,” said one of the sources, “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.”
It has already been confirmed by Sony that the PlayStation 4 will not require an internet connection in order to play games. If Microsoft go through with this practice, the next Xbox will the first – and hopefully the last – console to need an internet connection in order to play games.
As for dealing with a connection dropout, the source suggests that gameplay will be able to continue on for a short while, until something inside the Xbox 720 detects that there’s no connection, and promptly suspends the player from further playing their game until an internet connection is re-established.
If this turns out to be true, I do not understand its necessity. I can understand it for games, but not for consoles. It raises the question of how players with an unstable internet connection, or a bandwidth cap, will be able to cope with the Xbox 720.
My prediction is that they won’t, and that demographic may hurt the sales of the Xbox 720, as well as others who might boycott the console.
Of course, I get that the practice could be to stop piracy. I also get that a tangential implication of this practice could be the authentication of one’s games before being able to play them, to simply register that the game they are playing is theirs, and is legitimate.
What I don’t get is why Microsoft thinks it is a good idea, assuming that the rumour is true. I guess that question won’t be answered until (hopefully) the Xbox 720 eventual reveal.
I am of the belief that an always-online internet connection should ideally only be applied to MMOs, where an internet connection is necessary. In any other sort of genre it should be an additional option/feature, and nothing else. If a game is going to need a constant internet connection in order to function, make it an MMO, or strictly multiplayer. If it’s singleplayer, don’t force an internet connection to make it function, use it for internet-optional features. That’s just my opinion, however.
Sure, being interconnected with a large, virtual world is exciting – where one can send ripples throughout the world, and have everyone else feel those effects – but to have a console require that same concept just seems a bit naff, really. Why can’t it by how it is now with the Xbox 360, where an internet is required only to update, share achievements, and to play on multiplayer?
Even though the whole “always-online” rumour has been circling around for about a year now, it is only just that: a rumour. Having said that, however, the rumour itself (from what I’ve read) usually stems from sources of leaked documents and/or word-of-mouth from higher-up industry officials. Despite it being a rumour, I find these sources give the rumour foundations for plausibility. If the rumour does turn to be true, I feel I will be siding with Sony for the next Console War.
Until Microsoft officially confirms that the Xbox 720 will require an internet connection in order to play games, all we can do is bounce about rumours and speculations, regardless of how convincing they may be.
Chirps to Kotaku. Thank you for reading, and I’ll catch you next time!