Rumors have been circulating that the next Xbox will always require an Internet connection to use the console. These rumors resulted from twitter posts made by a creative director at Microsoft Studios named Adam Orth. He publicly tweeted that he didn’t understand “the drama around having an ‘always on’ console” and hammered in his tweet with the hashtag #dealwithit.
He further scoffed at remarks from another twitter user, Manveer Heir, who asked, “You know some people’s internet goes out right? Deal with it is a shitty reason.”
Orth replied, “Electricity goes out too.”
Heir also asked, “You’ve lived in LA, SF, Seattle… very connected places. Try living in Janesville, WI or Blacksburg, VA.”
Orth’s responded, “Why on earth would I live there?”
Orth’s tweets are disgusting and infuriating. He comes across as a adolescent punk with a cocky attitude and ends up staining both Microsoft and the next Xbox. His tweet is especially noteworthy because Microsoft has been fairly quiet about the next Xbox, and the announcement of its release is coming soon.
Regardless of the tweet being true or false, Orth has directly communicated possible news and fueled further rumors for the next Xbox. If Microsoft were to have the next Xbox be always on, they would create disaster for themselves.
Simply put, an always-on video game console is garbage. Sure, there are hotspots around the world that are always connected to the internet, but most of the world is not. Everyone who does not have constant access to the internet is completely shut out of the next Xbox. The internet also periodically goes down in places where high-speed internet is readily available, so even people usually connected to the internet have to occasionally deal with it suddenly going down.
Heir also asked Orth if he had learned anything from failed internet required games like the recent SimCity and Diablo III. These games both had launches with large amounts of players connecting to internet servers. The extensive load forced the servers to crash and gamers were shut out of playing for prolonged periods of time.
SimCity also had continuing internet-required problems, which may have also helped Electronic Arts earn its “Worst Company in America” award. They serve as a stark reminder that the world is simply not ready for an always-on console. It takes an incredible amount of care and preparation to successfully execute a live content streaming service, and there have several spectacular failures in the past.
Even one of the most popular and always-on gaming services, Steam, is flawed. It’s simple and easy to use when internet works, but what about when the internet goes out? If players suddenly lose internet connection, they aren’t able to just play offline, they need to have prepared their Steam client for offline mode ahead of time, with an internet connection.
Though Steam may be very popular today, it was initially met with widespread criticism — especially when gamers discovered that they were required to be connected to the internet to play the famed Half-Life 2 in 2004. Though it is one of the most beloved gaming platforms today, it took time for players to accept a gaming platform like Steam.
If Microsoft is hopes to ruin the next Xbox, then they should require it to be always on. Many are looking forward to the next Xbox, and an always-on console will put off large numbers of potential audiences. A permanently on Xbox would only help Sony gain market share with its PlayStation 4. Microsoft is planned to announce its new Xbox on May 21, and hopefully the negative rumors and speculation will be put to a rest.