Will XBox 720 Have to Always Be Online?

I read this article from IGN about the XBox 720, and granted so far it’s just a rumor still but it wouldn’t surprise me if it turned out to be true. What is surprising is how it seems the console makers are deciding to really screw over their customers. I mean it’s bad enough that Sony seems to have it out for used games, now Microsoft is talking that your XBox will always have to be connected to the internet for you to play games.

This may be Microsoft’s way of going to war on used games as well. I would bet the always on thing has something to do with DRM that will be embedded into the next gen games that will play on that console. This may be their way of curtailing used games without actually saying that’s what they are up to.

But let’s just forget that for the moment. I’m not as big a gamer as the others who periodically post here on this blog. But, I do enjoy gaming. I just play when I feel like it and when I can. I have an XBox 360 that’s not hooked up to the internet at all right now and I am quite content to play my games that way. I don’t need to post my progress, or play online to have a fulfilling game experience. I am the epitome of the casual gamer. However, as long the 720 came with wireless ability I would have no problem in dealing with the online requirement.

That’s not going to be the case everywhere though. From my understanding the whole XBox Live experience needs a robust connection speed. That’s not a problem for a lot of people, however there are still many many places that don’t have those kinds of speeds readily or more importantly reliably available. What are they to do? Microsoft risks alienating a sizable portion of the gaming community if this always online thing is reality.

What gets me is that it seems the console makers are deliberately taking gamers for granted. They figure that it won’t matter what hoops or restrictions they impose you’re going to get one or the either console (maybe both) and they will just laugh themselves to the bank. Likely, and sadly, they are right. The only way they would change anything is if they knew it was gonna hit them in their bottom line.

I’m on the fence with believing this rumor though. One side says they are not going to risk sales based on someone’s internet connection. But the other side can see how much they love the DRM crap and would end up forcing you to always be online to play a copy of a game that you bought…er excuse me rented in all reality. We’re just going to have to wait till the full information comes out, to be sure. Until then there will be other rumors swirling around that will be up for discussion soon enough.


Originally published February 7, 2013