Rumor: Next-Box Can Function Without Being Online?
This whole "always online" business with Microsoft and the next Xbox is really getting under people's skin. Details concerning what's really going on are vague leaving many gamers to just ponder the possibilities. However, some interesting information has been released stating that the next Xbox DOES NOT have to always be connected to the internet. At what price though? Let us examine further. Earlier today, Ars Technica quoted an email which was directed to internal Xbox developers from Microsoft officials. Supposedly, the next Xbox doesn't require an online connection to play games despite all the rumors going around claiming the opposite.
"Durango is designed to deliver the future of entertainment while engineered to be tolerant of today's Internet," the memo reportedly says. "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."
To be fairly clear here, this is speculation that the Xbox will actually be able to stay offline and still function. It's pretty hard to not read that quote and wonder if someone made a joke email or honestly doesn't know what's happening. For months now, publications all over have been saying the Xbox will require an online connection to play games among other things. Also, note the final sentence in the quote and see what's wrong with this picture. "Those include, but are not limited
to: playing a Blu-ray disc, watching live TV, and yes playing a single
player game." Skip over the blu-ray comment and you'll see the issue. Watching live TV doesn't require an online connection? Single player games can be played offline but does this mean regular games like Devil May Cry can be played and not games like Mass Effect 3? Will we be restricted to staying online to play single player games that have multiplayer tacked on? This information only further sows the seeds of confusion into this sensitive topic.
If Kotaku's sources are to be believed, a lot of discord seems to be spreading through the ranks at Microsoft. Maybe this strange email happens to have an affect? "This memo comes on the heels of reported rumblings of unrest and dissent at Microsoft over the past few weeks and months. Multiple Kotaku sources have suggested that the Xbox makers are behind where they need to be, and one source told us recently that there are multiple factions at Microsoft, some of whom believe that the system should require an Internet connection to play games, and some of whom don't. We've also heard stories of studios that have gotten their Durango development kits late, or not at all."
With the Xbox event only weeks away from going live, we still don't have a clear answer as to what we can expect. Just a bunch of questions needing answers, speculations flying all over and gamers willing to boycott Microsoft if they go through with always online.
Confusion just seems to be the name of the game here. Always online is a bad, bad idea and I can't see why anyone would want it. Things are fine right now with 360's online (relatively speaking) and shouldn't be tampered with (to a point). I do strongly believe that if Microsoft unveils their console to require connection to the internet to function, they will lose a lot of supporters. I can only speak so much on rumors and speculations, May 21st will be a very interesting day.