Xbox One always online requirement: A detailed overview of how things work here

By Prarthito Maity , Updated Jun 15, 2013 12:21 PM EDT
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Probably one of the most controversial decisions that were taken in accordance with the next generation of console platform was the one where Microsoft announced that its upcoming Xbox One will always require an online connection to play games.

As noted by the company, the Xbox One will need to be connected to the internet once every 24 hours when playing games on the home console, or every hour when accessing the digital library from a different console.

Microsoft faced a major backlash from all the fans and critics, and in days following up to the E3, and also during the event, the company justified its decision of an always online console and remained strong to the core.

There were several justifications made after the new Xbox One feature was made known to the public. And one of the most recent ones came from Microsoft VP Phil Spencer in an interview with Polygon, where Spencer stated that the always online console has been intended owing to the popularity of multiplayer gaming these days.

"What we're seeing in games ... is online community gaming is becoming a predominant way that people play," Spencer said.

"You see so many of these large games that are out there that rely on and are kind of made by the connection people have with their friends, and how they play cooperatively and competitively with the millions of people on Xbox Live and other ecosystems. It's a predominant form of gaming today."

Spencer also didn’t shy away from comparing the decision with how people deal with games and music on other platforms, such as iTunes, Xbox Music and others.

But Spencer was not the first. Pervious to him, Microsoft Xbox Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer Yusuf Mehdi took on all the negative criticisms inflicted on the console.

Mehdi stated: “This is a big change, consumers don’t always love change, and there’s a lot of education we have to provide to make sure that people understand. We’re trying to do something pretty big in terms of moving the industry forward for console gaming into the digital world. We believe the digital world is the future, and we believe digital is better.”

Mehdi, also taking into account Xbox One’s approach to content like TV and sports, along with partnerships with the NFL, Skype and other non-gaming entities, added: “We want to have our offering be differentiated relative to all others,” he said. “It has value that is in so many areas that is not in competing systems… That is a thing that each consumer will choose… and ultimately consumers will decide which is better. It’s a big market.”

Getting back to the console, the Xbox Wire posted an explanatory page to get rid of all the questions and concerns regarding the console. As it mentioned, the Xbox one will require an online check every 24 hours to ensure that the gamer still owns the license for the copy of the game he’s playing. Users can also access their accounts and the associated games on a different console, although online checks will be performed every hour when trying to play remotely like this.

The company cleared up the air of ignorance with the following statement:

“While a persistent connection is not required, Xbox One is designed to verify if system, application or game updates are needed and to see if you have acquired new games, or resold, traded in, or given your game to a friend. Games that are designed to take advantage of the cloud may require a connection.”

“With Xbox One you can game offline for up to 24 hours on your primary console, or one hour if you are logged on to a separate console accessing your library. Offline gaming is not possible after these prescribed times until you re-establish a connection, but you can still watch live TV and enjoy Blu-ray and DVD movies,” it added.

The Xbox One was unveiled back in May in an event held by Microsoft at its Redmond Campus. During the event, Microsoft's Don Mattrick announced that the console would not have an always-on requirement for single-player games, but a connection would be necessary for multiplayer and streaming content.

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