Xbox One Is Not An Always-Online Console; But Will Require The Internet

By Binu Paul , Updated May 22, 2013 10:00 AM EDT
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"Always-Online" became a ubiquitous term attached to Microsoft's next-generation console and the resultant controversy, in fact, led to the departure of one of its high-level Microsoft employees. Now, as the company releases the much-awaited Xbox One, fans were expecting an end to the endless rumors surrounding the constant internet requirement of the console.

Microsoft has quite successfully brought the controversy to an end with a whimper when its president of interactive entertainment business Don Mattrick said "No, you don't always have to be connected. Gamers can calm down; we've got you covered." His statement was a relief to many Xbox fans, but it did not explain how that is being achieved given the next-gen nature of the console along with its heavy social media and network connectivity functions.

"No, it does not have to be always connected, but Xbox One does require a connection to the Internet," Microsoft explained the feature in the FAQ. "We're designing Xbox One to be your all-in-one entertainment system that is connected to the cloud and always ready. We are also designing it so you can play games and watch Blu-ray movies and live TV if you lose your connection."

The explanation failed to answer a lot of questions and it's assumed that the device will likely work more like Xbox 360, meaning Xbox One can lose its online connection, but it definitely requires one to function. It leaves many questions unanswered - such as how often the device needs to be connected or does it require an internet connection to start single-player games and more.

Microsoft's vice president Phil Harrison apparently answered some of these when he spilled a little more details than he intended as he spoke to Kotaku. "There are many devices in your life that require the Internet to function," he tried to clarify. "Xbox One is no different in that it requires, at some point in the beginning and at various times through its on state, to connect to our cloud and to our Internet. That is to deliver Xbox Live functionality, that is to deliver download content to you, that is to deliver some of the innovations around TV and entertainment that we showed today. But it doesn't require it to be online all the time."

But when asked exactly how often a player needs to be online, Harrison answered:"'I believe it's 24 hours" and he once again confirmed that the device should be online at least once every day.

Although Microsoft is yet to clear the clouds of confusion around it's just released gaming console, the company did try to distance itself from Harrison's comments by terming them as only 'potential scenarios'. "While Phil [Harrison] discussed many potential scenarios around games on Xbox One, today we have only confirmed that we designed Xbox One to enable our customers to trade in and resell games at retail," the company said in a statement issued to Polygon. "There have been reports of a specific time period - those were discussions of potential scenarios, but we have not confirmed any details today, nor will we be."

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