back to article Microsoft Xbox gaffe reveals cloudy arrogance

On Thursday afternoon a Twitter conversation between Adam Orth, creative director at Microsoft Studios, and a developer friend about the contentious issue of server-connected gaming sparked something of a storm after being posted on Reddit. "Sorry, I don't get the drama around having an always-on console," Orth tweeted. "Every …


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  1. Greg J Preece

    If the next X-box is online-only, Microsoft may well have shot themselves in the balls. From what has been previously announced, the PS4 is not, and the Wii U sure as hell isn't.

    Gamers see always-on connections as nannying, as the company watching over your shoulder to make sure you're being a good boy, and that's probably because that's exactly what they are. They're also a system of planned obsolescence, as the game can't live without the service, and they're a way of taking more and more private information from the end users, to be sold and used for more and more invasive advertising.

    In short, online-only can continue to fuck off, and if the next MS console is online-only, a great many of their fans may say the same. It is far more likely to boost sales of the PS4 than the console it's designed for.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      This is the same issue I have with the new Sim City. I was about ready to buy when I found out it could only be played by being on-line.

      WTF? Why? ...and no thanks.

      Oh well, guess I'll stick with the old Civ, uh, whatever number I have.

      1. Greg J Preece

        Oh well, guess I'll stick with the old Civ, uh, whatever number I have.

        I can confirm that not only is Civ 5 a better game, but you can play it offline to your heart's content. I recently did exactly that on a ten hour plane flight.

    2. h3

      They would have to give a lot for it to be worth it. (My connection is fairly decent and stable.)

      If they were to offer a choice of steam sale type prices (Always Online Required) or full RRP (Do what you like get the disk). I would consider it much fairer. Oh and removed the monthly xbox live gold fee.

      1. P. Lee

        > steam sale type prices (Always Online Required)

        Steam doesn't require always on.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: > steam sale type prices (Always Online Required)

          >It is far more likely to boost sales of the PS4 than the console it's designed for.

          Yep, and given that there would appear to be less difference between the next generation of XBOX and PlayStation than between their current models, silly decisions like this on MS's part could have more of a negative impact on them.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: > steam sale type prices (Always Online Required)

            "given that there would appear to be less difference between the next generation of XBOX and PlayStation than between their current models"

            erm, actually the latest info says that it is similar to this generation with the Xbox Next having a moderate graphical advantage over the PS4, just like the Xbox 360 does over the PS3. This is apparently down to Microsoft including a dedicated 'OBAN' Blitter chip.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: > steam sale type prices (Always Online Required)

              Every rumor I've seen shows the PS4 ahead of the in performance. And that makes sense, with Microsoft likely to want to keep the casual Kinect customers they need to keep the cost down. So if they are going to include a Kinect with every console then they have to cut corners elsewhere.

              It's also the other way around with PS3 and xbox 360. While the xbox has a stronger GPU, the PS3 has the SPU's that more than make up the difference by offloading some of the work normally done by the GPU. It's no accident that the best looking PS3 games outdo the best looking xbox games.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: > steam sale type prices (Always Online Required)

                It's no accident that the best looking PS3 games outdo the best looking xbox games.

                Which has more to do with the fact that the PS3 uses a blue-ray drive so more textures can remain uncompressed and also the PS3 outputs true 1080p compared to an upscaled 640p/720p from the xbox.

            2. Greg J Preece

              Re: > steam sale type prices (Always Online Required)

              erm, actually the latest info says that it is similar to this generation with the Xbox Next having a moderate graphical advantage over the PS4, just like the Xbox 360 does over the PS3.

              Not sure where you're getting that nonsense from. The 360 is markedly less powerful than the PS3. Developers like Sucker Punch have even apologised to 360 fans that their games won't be ported to the X-box, because it can't cope.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          Re: > steam sale type prices (Always Online Required)

          Exactly my first thought. Steam is a good thriving environment and I have many games there. You only need to go online once in a while to see what game updates are available.

          1. Captain Scarlet

            Re: > steam sale type prices (Always Online Required)

            Although when you go online your Steam client will sent a few thousand "Achievements" (Wish there was an option to disable acheievements as I don't want people to know I know how to use a mouse for every game I own on it)

        3. gkroog

          Re: > steam sale type prices (Always Online Required)

          Not YET...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "If they were to offer a choice of steam sale type prices (Always Online Required) or full RRP (Do what you like get the disk). I would consider it much fairer. Oh and removed the monthly xbox live gold fee"

        Just download it from The Pirate Bay. Anything that makes itself inconvenient to use (Hello Disney Bluerays that force you to watch adverts before the movie) instantly joins my don't purchase list and I just download the free ripped version from TPB....

        nb - you get what you pay for with Xbox Live. Its an order of magnitude better than PSN, and is actively moderated to remove idiots so I will happily pay a small amount for better service.

        1. Badvok

          Prepare for Boarding!

          "Just download it from The Pirate Bay. Anything that makes itself inconvenient to use (Hello Disney Bluerays that force you to watch adverts before the movie) instantly joins my don't purchase list and I just download the free ripped version from TPB...."

          I think that just about sums up the real reason for always-online. If we want developers to invest money in good games then they need a revenue stream they can rely on. The console provider who makes the most effort to lock out the pirates is going to attract more of the bigger games.

    3. Rampant Spaniel

      Whilst the 'looking over the shoulder' aspect is annoying, always on is simply impractical for many people. Our power supply is about as stable as a pisshead on a tightrope. Not a huge issue as gennies and ups smoothes it out but when ther power is out the internet is down. I'm not going to spend money on a console and games that need an always on connection for ridonkukous reasons like advertising (like it will make games cheaper?) or anti piracy (seriously, wtf would I pay 70bucks for a game so you can cripple it when its offline because you can't devise an effective protection system). I loved our ps3 as a games console and media center, would consider an xbox 720 but the ps4 is coming home if ms try this.

      1. censored

        When your power is down, good luck playing your console whether it needs a net connection or not...

        1. Rampant Spaniel


          And why is that?

          1. RPF

            Re: @censored

            You have a battery-powered XBox?

            1. Rampant Spaniel

              Re: @censored

              I have a battery powered house (well parts of it anyway lol) for a minute or two until the genny can be started. if you had a dodgy street supply you would too. Not everyone lives in a city with lte and fibre and awesome utilities, those of us that don't adapt :-)

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                @Rampant Spaniel

                If you used English words like "generator" I suspect there wouldn't be any confusion.

                1. Kane

                  Re: @Rampant Spaniel

                  Slightly unfair comment I thought, as "genny" is a more than acceptable use of the short form of "generator" in the English language. Have a free downvote, who ever you may be.

              2. Nasty Nick

                Re: @censored

                Adapt for the few means "gennys" and batterys and business as usual. For the rest of "us" it means "nothing".

        2. Anonymous Сoward

          When your power is down, good luck playing your console whether it needs a net connection or not...

          Power supplies are taken for granted in most parts of the world, Internet however, is still a luxury to even first world citizens. Some parts are still stuck on dial up, good luck explaining to them that you are screwed and have to go buy a PS4 instead.

          As for shooting themselves in the foot? this is more like shooting themselves in the leg with a sawn off shotgun!

          1. fbsduser

            [quote]As for shooting themselves in the foot? this is more like shooting themselves in the BALLS with a sawn off shotgun![/quote]

            There I fixed that for your.

            1. Anonymous Сoward

              As for shooting themselves in the foot? this is more like shooting themselves in the BALLS with a sawn off shotgun![/quote]

              There I fixed that for your. fbsduser Monday 8th April 2013 07:51 GMT

              You get over ball ache, but you'll never get your legs back.

          2. Alan Brown Silver badge

            In many backwards parts of the world you're beholden to the local telco and satellite dishes are hard to come by. Satellite broadband is often illegal and even where you can get it the latencies are going to put a severe crimp in any gamer's day.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The Xbox Next isn't online only. That's certified bollox.

      nb - what has the Wii-U do to with it? This is about the next generation consoles. Not the last of the current generation....

  2. OrsonX

    "the most hardened atheist will pray to a god they don't believe in"

    Dear Lord, please please please make the green lights on the flashy box thing come back on.

    Ok, it's true.

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: "the most hardened atheist will pray to a god they don't believe in"

      Personally, I'm more prone to vehement curses directed at the creator of whatever fuck-up I'm dealing with, than I am prayers to $diety for divine assistance. Much more satisfying and stress relieving.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "the most hardened atheist will pray to a god they don't believe in"

        "May Offler consume the testicles of the idiot who came with this idea."

        That kind of curse?

  3. Piro Silver badge

    Interest dwindling

    I have no interest in the new Xbox any longer.

    I have been disappointed with some updates on the 360 to the system, removal of options, Microsoft's sense of control.

    Always on? The thing is, when my net connection goes down for whatever reason - that's the exact time I want to play a game, because there's naff-all else to do.

    We live in a world where most of us have shite connections. But the "cloud" evangelists have no idea about that.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Interest dwindling

      "But the "cloud" evangelists have no idea about that."

      No they do, they just don't care, but they do care about locking you in! Any pessimists in the house?

      It's ironic that the "cloud" depends on a fast inet connection, because if you had a fast inet connection, you could just set up a "cloud" in your own home. In the US, inet providers are all greed machines. Until a "cloud" company can make them money, they won't bother upping your speeds and forbidding you from running a cloud at home!

      Excluding parallel computing jobs, if you had a 1gb+ connection, why would you need a cloud? The answers are simply: License management! Ad targeting! Content control! Control control control! It's the 21st century version of Macrovision, but this time, you're what's playing!

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Anonymous Сoward

      Re: Interest dwindling

      I have no interest in the new Xbox any longer.

      I have been disappointed with some updates on the 360 to the system, removal of options, Microsoft's sense of control.

      Care to explain what these 'lost features' are?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ..."disconnect between those in gilded ivory internet bubbles and the real world"...

    "The software overlords of Silicon Valley and elsewhere seem to have forgotten however that the rest of us live in a world where internet connections can be spotty and expensive. Many of us would prefer to have code that they own and control without an internet connection."

    Amen to that!

  5. Grey Bird

    If they would ony do it right, it might not be completely terrible...

    Just after Diablo III came out I was playing it stand-alone when my connection to their server dropped out momentarily and dumped me out of the game. If they would only store the playing info locally and use that if the server connection drops it would be so much better. Sync the info from the local machine back to the server when the connection is good again, and then the player's progress isn't lost.

    1. jptech

      Re: If they would ony do it right, it might not be completely terrible...

      I have to agree 110%

      Playing games in uplay, I've lost hours of gameplay to uplay. (didn't sync your hours of gameplay to our server before you lost connection? We'll revert to the last save which exited and synced normally.)

      With origin, as wrong as EA is, you can at least choose which save you'd like to use. This is a feature which all cloud services must utilize. In the case of ubisoft, they simply do not care about you losing hours of gameplay.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: If they would ony do it right, it might not be completely terrible...

        "do not care about you losing hours of gameplay.

        You never, ever, lose "hours and hours" of game play. You still have the memories of playing them, so they can't possibly be "lost".

        Think of it as an opportunity to re-live those fantastic, stimulating and life-fulfilling moments all over again.

    2. P. Lee

      Re: If they would ony do it right, it might not be completely terrible...

      but if you ran the code locally rather than just having an interface to the game, you could run a hacked version on your own.

      I'm going to track down the owners of all those 80's games, run them on an android emulator box for under the telly and sell bluetooth joystick controllers.

  6. g e

    If that's true and the PS4 rumoured features are true

    Then SONY has already won, imho.

    Esp if they really are going to allow streaming of all PS1,2 & 3 titles (OK that'll need net but it's a particular use case) and they give sane access to people with original discs of those games.

    Have XBOX360, PS3 and Wii here and the only next-thing I'm interested in is the PS4. The damned XBOX is already trying to upsell me stuff from the power-on homescreen (so it never gets turned on) and the Wii is fun but that's about it.

    1. X Fin

      Re: If that's true and the PS4 rumoured features are true

      Streaming of past console titles is an aim - not a promise - expect something like xbox live classics (especially for PS3 games) where the more popular titles are likely to appear. I think the best bet if you got the old discs is to keep the old hardware.

      I should be annoyed about xbox live adverts, but it doesn't bother me much - other people seem to be getting much more annoying adverts - looks like these console companies take it in turns to do arrogance and hubris - PS3 launch (and much of its history) is a train crash - but that didn't stop it getting ~50% market share (vs xbox) overall worldwide.

      All this xbox bad publicity stuff seems (cynically) like damage limitation prior to the actual xbox++ unveil. .. lets the upset vent their spleen prior to the actual launch - basic MS is saying "this is going to hurt (you) a bit, so get prepared" - it's not clear if they're really going to go for full stupids but it's an interesting ride.

      I though Adam Orth's tweets were pretty funny.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If that's true and the PS4 rumoured features are true

        "that didn't stop it getting ~50% market share (vs xbox) overall worldwide"

        But many of those were used only as Blueray players and Sony lost bundles on them.

        In terms of games console market share, Microsoft is miles ahead - just look at the market share of sales for any game released on both consoles....

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: If that's true and the PS4 rumoured features are true

          Microsoft are in last place with Xbox360 sales, despite launching 13 months before the PS3.

          Their 70m or so console sales is built ontop a mountain of failed consoles where users have replaced them with new ones. SO it's actually only 40m ACTUAL Xbox360 users, of which only 50% of those pay for Xbox Live Gold.

        2. pepper

          @AC 7th April 2013 10:57 GMT

          You seems to be right concerning market share. Xbox has about 47% in 2012 according to Micrsoft(zdnet said NDP).

          Although that is US market share. This chart:

          Would suggest that market share for the PS3(45.1%) is higher then the Xbox(32.7%).

          Some of the games selling more on the xbox(see first link):

 - 1.22m(XBOX)

 - 0.74m (PS3)

 - 2.20m(XBOX)

 - 1.95m(PS3)

          So yes, the xbox seems to be outselling the PS3 in games on those that I checked. But the PS3 has the bigger marketshare. I wonder what that is a about. Maybe a bigger second hand market? Or is it indeed so that the PS3 is a blu-ray player in many households?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If that's true and the PS4 rumoured features are true

      Don't forget the PC titles too, as quite clearly Gaikai is totally platform agnostic. Sony can stream whatever games they can license to the PS4.

      As for the Xbox "always on". It's more likely to be part of the advertising deals they are sorting out, to deliver 24x7 adverts to the Xbox Subscription Advert Channel (AKA Xbox Live), and also to send back informatin gathers by Kinect on what logos and branding you like and/or how many people are playing/watching.

      Microsoft's patent on using Kinect to charge for the number of users watching a movie.

      Microsoft's plans on using Kinect to look for logos on shirts etc, so they can serve up up even more adverts in the Xbox dashboard.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If that's true and the PS4 rumoured features are true

      You can block the xbox dashboard ads just search on Google. I believe it involves OpenDNS

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If that's true and the PS4 rumoured features are true

        Microsoft have a patent to work out if you are blocking adverts, which blocks access to the bought game.

        Outrageous, that they seem to think they can do this after you have bought the game. However there are too many braindead Xbox idiots that can't see what is happening infront of their eyes. This gen was about sucking you in, the next one ripping you off (even more than the double-dip subscription model they currently make you believe is worth the money).

  7. Dazed and Confused

    connection comes with a 99 per cent contract guarantee

    OK, I've not been interested in online gaming for nigh on 25 years, but 99% up time is shit in a world where you need reactions. Even 25 years back I was killed seconds before I'd expected to achieve wizard ranking on a complex MUD, months of effort down the plug whole thanks to a sudden burst of latency at a crucial moment. Pooooooooof you're history those points are gone.

    Back then online games were textual and you typed in your commands, so rarely split second stuff. But you still needed to be able to react.

    Today's games don't seem to be like that. Watching the kids playing, many of the games they play online are split second reaction time jobbies. Even in an always connected world networks just aren't that good. I don't suppose these people have separate Internet connections of each of their devices, or that they run some sort of incredible QoS on the line to ensure the best latencies. So what happens when a big email comes in, or more likely when a big email goes out of your asymmetric line? What happens when the other people who live in your house start watching iPlayer, or surfing for pron?

    Leaving alone when bastard parents like me, have cron jobs which cut all the kids network connections at set time of day.

    1. g e

      Re: connection comes with a 99 per cent contract guarantee

      Thank God I'm not the only parent who routes the kids through some gateway with an iptables cron to murder all but allowed MAC addresses, I was beginning to think I was a Nazi.

      Shit. Godwin's Law... ;o)

      1. Dazed and Confused

        Re: connection comes with a 99 per cent contract guarantee

        Either that or we're both Nazis.

        I told the kids as soon as they could understand a word I was saying that I was wicked and cruel and mean and nasty. I thought it would save time later when they wanted to shout at me.

        iptables and cron, precisely. All Internet connections should be looked after like this.

      2. nexsphil

        Re: connection comes with a 99 per cent contract guarantee

        That's a joke??

    2. Gerhard Mack

      Re: connection comes with a 99 per cent contract guarantee

      As someone with several years experience connecting servers to both networks and power sources with 99.999% uptime guarantees I can tell you exactly what they are worth: nothing. When the connection goes dead they pro rate the time you were down and refund that amount.

      Out for an hour? lets say you pay $1000 a month for your rack. Assuming 30 days that is 720 hours in the month $1.30 an hour. Your refund after an hour of being off-line? $1.30. And that is standard operating practice for the industry. I have yet to see 99% actually ever be 99%

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: connection comes with a 99 per cent contract guarantee

        "Out for an hour? lets say you pay $1000 a month for your rack. Assuming 30 days that is 720 hours in the month $1.30 an hour. Your refund after an hour of being off-line? $1.30. And that is standard operating practice for the industry."

        Yup. Your compensation is based on the price of the service provided. If you want compensation based on direct or consequential losses, you can pay more for a service, or try to insure against those losses. Sadly, many companies treat network as a commodity and push for the lowest possible cost. Then complain when the business is offline. YGWYPF.

        With Xbox and always-on junk, they're just more traffic generators to congest access, core and distribution networks. MS will pay for pipes from their DCs to peering or transit points, your ISP will pay the rest of the carriage costs. You'll pay your ISP, and your contract may include a usage quota and fairly pricey per-GB overage charges. If the 'always on' requirement is the occasional DRM packet, it shouldn't generate too much overage. If it's keeping you constantly up to date with the latest ads, MS will get paid to deliver that essential content to you, you will pay to receive it whether you want it or not. And it's unlikely the Xbox will let you install an adblocker.

        It will be interesting to see how MS advertises the TCO of Xbox, and how much traffic it will likely generate by being always-on.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: connection comes with a 99 per cent contract guarantee

          Even with a decent connection I switch the Xbox on my network to "offline" before I play any online multiplayer games on my PC. With the XBox on, even when playing a game on it which has nothing whatsoever to do with anything networked, the XBox is regularly hogging the bandwidth on my LAN - I can tell from my in-game ping display in World Of Tanks whether the XBox is on or not. And it occasionally causes huge spikes, which I suspect is a background process on the XBox downloading some ad junk.

          I really hope Microsofts 'yes' men grow some balls and stop this lunacy because the XBox is a great console, but requiring always-on will be commercial suicide.

      2. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: connection comes with a 99 per cent contract guarantee

        That is, unfortunately, the exact scenario for which I signed my last two contracts. Everything is on a ProRata basis in relation to the cost of the Data Line and nothing to do with the "actual" cost of what you may have lost due to the downtime.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: what happens when a big email comes in, or ... a big email goes out of your asymmetric line?

      well at a friend's house, the teenage boy bullies everyone else offline before he starts serious gameplay.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Been that way for a while. .

    Take any new PC and if you dont have a high speed connection then you are screwed. How can a new Windows 8 PC need to download nearly 600MB of updates when its first booted up....

    1. Greg J Preece

      Re: Been that way for a while. .

      How can a new Windows 8 PC need to download nearly 600MB of updates when its first booted up....

      It needs explaining again that the DVD you're installing from, or the PC you're starting, wasn't set up last week....?

      1. Charles 9

        Re: Been that way for a while. .

        Whatever happened to getting things right the first time?

        1. asdf

          Re: Been that way for a while. .

          Why the downvote? Still sore nobody plays MoH Warfighter with you due to the servers being empty because everyone saw what a joke that game was and how rushed it was with it's enormous day 1 patch?

        2. Greg J Preece

          Re: Been that way for a while. .

          Whatever happened to getting things right the first time?

          What, you don't want security updates? Fine, don't get them. Enjoy your infected system.

          Go download an Ubuntu ISO and install it somewhere. I guarantee at least 250MB of updates immediately, even though Ubuntu periodically update the install ISOs. Mac OS X updates are *huge*, and download at a bloody crawl from Apple's rubbish servers.

          Software gets patched. This has always been the case. Get over it. (Seriously, why are people on an IT site downvoting me for the bloody obvious?)

          What is your suggested alternative? Not ship the patches? Destroy a massive number of shipped DVDs every time the smallest update comes out and replace all of them?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Been that way for a while. .

        You seem to fail to understand the point. The PC builders (and Microsoft upstream) just assume that everyone has a high speed uncapped internet connection. I'm lucky I live somewhere where I can get a good down load speed at a reasonable price but for people NOT in major conurbations a 600MB download is going to take a seriously long time and could well cost a lot.

    2. itzman

      Re: Been that way for a while. .

      if its not ON the net it probably doesn't NEED the updates

      anyway,. you could always install linux <ducks>

      1. VaalDonkie

        Re: anyway,. you could always install linux <ducks>

        Yes, because I have never had to download 600MB worth of Ubuntu updates before I could run NetBeans or Apache.

    3. JeffyPooh

      Re: Been that way for a while. .

      Exactly right. How about the Wii U game console that required 5+ GB (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) of updates before it was ready to go on Christmas morning, ah, I mean afternoon.

      You're right about MicroSoft - stoopid idiots. Here it is 2013 and they still haven't figured out how to prioritize HUMAN network traffic over all the OS and programs cramming up the network connection at start-up. If we had to contact the fire department by email, the house would be ashes by the time I fought past the unmanageable auto updates to bring up the browser. All by itself this can explain the diminishing role of PCs and Windows.

      All the code monkeys should be forced out of their normal office and into an alternate office space once a week for 4 hours. The workstation there should be two generations old, with a 17-inch monitor, and connected to the network through dial-up. This approach might save entire industries.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Even if I had 500MB/s internet connection with 100% up-time, I still wouldn't buy any game or games console from a company who thought it could force their customers to required a permanent internet connection to use it. It's for their benefit, not ours, otherwise they wouldn't be trying to force it on us.

    Why should I have to permanently ask permission to use something I have bought and own? And why should I give them total control of the product I bought? If I don't have internet connection or their servers go down or their servers are busy, the product is totally un-useable. When they decide to shut the servers in a few years (which they will), the product is useless. Do they really believe people will accept this?

    They know where they can stick their on-line nonsense!

  10. GBL Initialiser

    As much as I am impressed with Microsoft's latest products there is no way in hell I would ever purchase an always online console.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Always on gaming, are these guys allowing for ANY BREAK IN THE CONNECTION?

    As a games designer not living in perfect Stepford-Silicon-Valley... I can think of 6 quick reasons connections to games servers can be routinely interrupted or severed :-

    1. Laptop power failure: i.e. Auto-sleep mode triggered due to power cable slipping out of laptop unnoticed.

    2. Power outages: i.e. Total power loss to your Router after a storm even if the laptop runs off its battery.

    3. Wi-Fi signal temporarily goes out of range / Router crashes / Router resets itself or changes channel.

    4. Wi-Fi interference from 3rd party devices in nearby dwellings operating on same gigahertz freq.

    5. Regional problems: Telcos exchange maintenance / capacity upgrades / Utility accidentally severs cables.

    6. Local problems: Office building re-wiring maintenance / nearby apartment building rewiring maintenance.

    1. nexsphil

      Re: Always on gaming, are these guys allowing for ANY BREAK IN THE CONNECTION?

      I'm not sure we need to provide a detailed defence. The reality is that always-on is a highly offensive anti-consumer cash-grab, which nobody with an ounce of sense will accept. The only threat is the potential size of the 'pleb market' that have no knowledge/concern about these issues and will give these shitty companies money regardless. Unfortunately, I believe that market to be extremely large. So do the decision makers at MS, EA etc, clearly.

      1. Snake Silver badge

        Re: Always on gaming, are these guys allowing for ANY BREAK IN THE CONNECTION?

        Since when does common sense have to do with this?

        This topic has already been decided and settled - the companies have already won. They decided upon a corporate policy, required always-on, and implemented it. The public had the chance to vote yea or nay to this policy with their feet and wallets - they could have not purchased the products.

        But, as history proved, they DID buy the products. Sim City had sales and continues to do so even after the always-on system was pointed out.

        So common sense lost. The sales of the product has shown the companies that enough people are willing to purchase the product regardless of the type of DRM in use, meaning that their policy is justified. So this type of DRM use will only INCREASE because not enough people walked away from the company's products to teach them a lesson.

        And this is the problem: there are enough people in the world to blindly swallow just about any stupid, bad idea that true failures are hard to come by. The lack of failure breeds arrogance (can we say "banking industry", as a modern well studied example) and the system runs on autopilot into dark oblivion. Happened more times than I care to admit.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Always on gaming, are these guys allowing for ANY BREAK IN THE CONNECTION?

          'This topic has already been decided and settled - the companies have already won. '

          Afraid I agree. In fact its similar to how similar companies took privacy away from us...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How much progress is lost in new Sim City single-player game if connection is interrupted?

    Any Sim City players reading this...?

    There's a real Silicon Valley bubble mentality as this article touches on. You see the same thing in social networking when FB's Zuck won't shut-up about the 'user experience' ... Meantime users are saying: 'Hey this FB app is a dog...'

    1. RWNW

      Re: How much progress is lost in new Sim City single-player game if connection is interrupted?

      Sim City will play on for 20 minutes before booting you out of the game when the connection drops, it'll try and reconnect throughout this time, and the clock is reset each time it connects, so it will play on a tempramental connection.

      It seems to cache (save!!) the game locally as it picks up from where you were. The 20 minutes has already been determined to be an arbitary amount of time from a review of the game code. Of course this is if things work as planned, sometimes there's a problem that seems to be server side and you might lose a couple of hours of game play, the whole city, or even the region. All it shows is the the always on side of things really is more about DRM than multiplayer.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I go back to a story I was told in Silicon Valley some 8 years ago

    about the fine folks who worked at Nokia's Palo Alto research center which was liberally decked out with every possible mode of connectivity. The routine comment upon leaving the premises at for lunch or in the evening was "And now, back to the Third World".

  14. tempemeaty

    It's just wrong

    I don't care if the Internet connection is good or bad. The ass hats have no business making me have to keep my device tethered the web just to use it.

  15. Thorfkin

    Cold Hard Reality

    It's about time someone finally wrote in an article what I've been thinking for the last few years. I live 25 miles out of town in the middle of a desert. If my internet connection drops Only 5 times a day I consider it a very good day. I'm in exactly the situation you describe and there's not a damned thing I can do about it. I have exactly one internet provider here and I pay over $100 a month for a shitty 1.5mbps connection. This always on bullshit is simply and purely unacceptable. If either next gen console comes with an always connected requirement, I simply will not buy that console. I consider this matter non-negotiable. If they want my money, i require that they drop their always on connection requirement. I WILL NOT and CANNOT budge on this position.

  16. Mike 16

    Silicon Valley is not Heaven

    I do live in Silicon valley, and have "the fast internet connection" (Comcast, as opposed to AT&T), but "fast" is relative and latency burps are _very_ common. I do not recall ever getting though a whole movie on NetFlix without several multi second pauses, and the occasional much longer screwup. And now Comcast are apparently doing Deep Packet Inspection and javascript injection in web-pages to provide "important notices".

    So, just to say, I don't think living here normally provides an illusion of living in the future. Working for a major company and having "Business class" ($100+/month) service, paid by your employer, might.

  17. W.O.Frobozz

    Mark My Words... some point the only option for survival we will have is the Galactica gambit: to completely un-network and disconnect our computers.

    So say we all.

  18. Mikel

    No biggie

    Don't like it? Don't buy it. There are people who live always online lives and it is not a crime to tailor products for that specific customer group. Not everybody is the same. Not everybody has a car but they still sell gasoline.

    /sheesh. I think I just defended Microsoft. I need to sit down.

    1. Stuart Castle Silver badge

      Re: No biggie

      For one thing, we don't know for sure if MS are doing this (although with the amount of rumours around, TBH, it seems likely).

      However, I think requiring an always on connection is a staggeringly bad idea. Not everyone has a reliable connection, and some have a connection that will be too slow, or has data limits.

      You say that there are people who live always online lives, They can do so without any requirement for the rest of us to do so.

      Now, IF microsoft do enforce this requirment, and IF it offers REAL benefits for the consumer (and I do not mean online play or the ability to communicate with friends as these are already being offered without the requirement for always online), it could be good.

    2. Mikel


      That was an unpopular view. I wonder why.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    " but in comparison, the cooperative oligarchy US telcos have stitched together makes me dream of internet speeds and prices European."

    You'll appreciate this then.

    NSFW Warning

    NSFW Warning

    1. Nigel 11

      Like it. (Don't be drinking cola as you view it! )

  20. dssf

    Always-On Risk to Inventiveness

    So, for those Sim City players, forget about master plans of privately-developed cities, right?

    Imagine if you're using Sim City to scheme up real development plans for, say, a New Palm Springs. You cannot have the risk that some outside wanker gets early, unprivileged, but otherwise full access to your designs. What happens when, say, crackers break into the Sim City servers and disclose some hot, cool designs that might be competitive designs not to be released to the public in advance of being seen by judging panels.

    Is this a legit concern?

    1. RWNW

      Re: Always-On Risk to Inventiveness

      Not quite sure what you're getting at here as it seems doubtful that anyone would use a game to plan a city, unless as part of a game related competition

      Anyway, the way the game is set up, you're allowed to have a good nosey around other peoples cities, regions can be set as private, but AFAIK these private regions still show!

      1. fbsduser

        Re: Always-On Risk to Inventiveness

        Actually, modern versions of Sim City CAN be used to do architectural CAD work. because , unlike AutoCAD, the game shows the way people will interact with the virtual structure, which helps the architect visualize how good or bad will his design work out when said structure is opened to the public. The architect can even test how people try to exit the structure during different types of disasters.

  21. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge


    Indeed, the one person I know with a 360, he like brings it over every so often to get the updates and such (and play some games). I know some people do carry their XBox around, bring it with them to play. Having to set up the Wifi constantly would make that pretty unbareable when you just want to play a quick round of golf or car racing or whatever.

  22. NogginTheNog

    Similar mentality?

    I was reading up on the new government Real Time Information requirements for PAYE filing yesterday (it's now mandatory), and one of the things I noticed was a comment that some small businesses might still not have their payroll computer connected to the Internet and how they'd need to rectify that. Apart from the security implications it struck me as incredibly arrogant.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Similar mentality?

      To be fair, in the UK that doesn't matter.

      You do do those filings over dial-up speeds and it won't take much longer, and everyone in the UK can get dial-up speeds for very little money. If nothing else, one of those 3G dongles on pay-as-you go would suffice.

      Aside from that, almost all small businesses have needed Internet connections for many years for other reasons, and payroll is very commonly outsourced.

      Broadband on the other hand...

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think this is good.

    I really think this is going to be good for the industry. It leaves the door wide open for newer, better, companies who understand what their customers want to storm in and kick the big boys where it hurts. The console still has some life left in it but I think a little Android box from ebay for £40, attached to an hdmi port is more likely to give me a pleasurable console experience than one of the xbox/ nintendo /Playstation consoles. The big companies don't want to cater for their customers? Fine as a customer I choose to not to buy their shit.

    1. cantankerousblogger
      Paris Hilton

      Is the console paradigm still the right one?

      I bought an HP N40L for £85 after cashback. Added a seventy quid 7750 slimline graphics card, slapped on an old copy of W7 I had lying around, installed Steam, plugged in a pair of controllers and plugged it into the TV. Result: Outperforms an Xbox 360, low power, much cheaper games on Steam with no DVDs to lose or scratch, less annoying ads, no Xbox Gold, kids can access CBBC/CBeebies/Netflix Kids/iPlayer/Wikipedia, proper wireless keyboard and mouse, etc. (lying around again but cheap to buy). What are the advantages of a console these days? I just don't get it? Paris doesn't understand either...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is the console paradigm still the right one?

        Out-performs a console designed in 2004? really?

        News just in, a laptop is actually a better media player than the PS3.

  24. Mystic Megabyte


    I do not have any consoles but it is informative to read the comments here.

    What I learned:

    Kinect is looking for logos and serving you related adverts. WTF!

    The result::

    The folk that ask me for technical advice will be told NOT to buy an Xbox.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Has Microsoft forgotten already the "Flight" fiasco?

    MS Flight was designed to be played mostly online and keep on spending on "walled garden" DLCs. It was shut down six months after launch because no most flight simmer didn't like that model, although a lot fly online and buy add-ons. The corporate world is trying to enforce a business model users don't like. And playing is not a compulsory activity. And there will be other products when someone smarter understand what people neeeds.

    1. P. Lee

      Re: Has Microsoft forgotten already the "Flight" fiasco?

      > And playing is not a compulsory activity.

      Something the producers haven't tumbled to. Professional managers treat all goods and services alike, but they are not. If a game is unpleasant to use, people will drop it faster than a hot potato, because potatoes are needed for nourishment.

      I have a small collection of (free) android apps. They were updating on their own. Now I have all updates switched off because it annoys me that some of them have cost me money by waiting until I was on 3g before updating themselves (3 of them together) despite having been on wireless for hours. I've also got rather ruthless about deleting everything I'm not currently using. Even free does not outweigh a bad customer experience.

      1. Snowy Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Has Microsoft forgotten already the "Flight" fiasco?

        To stop apps updating over 3g just set your phone to only update over Wi-Fi

        Start the play store and select settings, there is an option to Update over Wi-Fi only.

  26. localzuk Silver badge

    Always on = future switch-off

    No company will keep their always on servers on forever. Like with EA, they turn off their online gaming servers as little as a year after release. If a company like Microsoft were to release an always on console, that means they have set a timescale for their server farm to support it. In 5 years, when they come out with the Xbox 1440, they decide 'lets turn off the old servers'... So suddenly all those loyal customers have a single choice - buy their new console to continue playing.

    Well, or stop using Xbox.

    This is the reason I didn't buy SimCity. Not the bugs or the downtime. Not the high as hell price. No, the fact that at any moment, EA can decide 'you've had enough entertainment for your £40, buy SimCity 7'...

  27. Efros

    Same Sh#t different decade

    I remember attending a Microsoft Junket back when IE4 was being launched in the late 90s, One of the biggest topics of conversation was the size of the download (IIRC about 28 MB) and the inability of IE browsers of that time to continue downloading after a break in the internet connection, a not uncommon problem with 56k modems. The MS spokesgolem didn't see this as a major problem as shurely it would only affect a small minority of users.

  28. Prowler
    Thumb Down

    No biggie ?

    This isn't Microsoft 'tailoring a product to a group'. This is Microsoft hurling a single product at everyone whether they like it or not.

    Microsoft never does what you imply, creating one product addressing some niche. Their arrogance precludes that. Instead they force their alleged vision onto everybody. They always hammer square pegs into round holes.

    They set their goals: DRM, always-on, always-connected, no resale of games, no earlier game compatibility, possible Kinect required, ( not all confirmed yet, but who really doubts it/? ). All these goals are clearly designed to benefit Microsoft only, even though they will all be spun with some crazy marketing propaganda, which will in turn be parroted far and wide by enablers and fanboys.

    Microsoft is continuing on a path of destruction of all their signature products. Windows, Server, Studio, Office, and now Xbox. What is left?

  29. Tomas K.

    There are a lot of people removed from reality

    There are many people with an electronic toy addiction as perpetuated by all who profit from such anti-social behavior, ignorance and abuse. They are in complete denial and can't buy a clue.

  30. whoopdewoo

    FFS EADON...

    that is all.....

  31. Bear Features


    It was tactless and a silly remark yes, But when His Holiness Steve Jobs was rude to people it was considered "amazing" that he replied himself.

  32. Andy Fletcher


    Good to see they're still around. I see the one guy with the temerity to say it doesn't sound all bad got his shit pushed in. Hate to be the one to point it out, but barely any of the comments on here sound like those of gamers, so why care? If you don't have an Xbox now, you're not very likely to buy the next one anyway so I don't really get the massive levels of vehemence being displayed. If you're running your own Linux Doom server to play your mates, this changes nothing anyway.

    I hate bloody discs. The only games I play are multiplayer. I live in this thing they call a city. I don't mind paying for decent gaming experiences. None issue.

    And as for the "the servers will get turned off at XXX date" of course they bloody will. All the big multiplayer titles pretty much expire within 2 years due to players moving onto the newer titles. This expectation that because you paid £40 in 2007 you should get eternal server access for your money is ludicrous.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Luddites

      Not everyone likes multiplayer.

      I play single-player games almost exclusively, and I like the fact that I can still play the copy of Dungeon Keeper (albeit in a VM) that I bought many years ago, and I love that I can still play Freespace 2 - lovingly updated for modern OS & graphics and expanded by a dedicated team of volunteers - that I've owned for almost as long.

      If either had been reliant on their company servers, they would long since be completely unplayable.

      A good single player game will still be good in 20 years time.

      Why shouldn't I still be able to play it?

      What right should the publisher have to say "Ok, you've had enough fun now. Game over forever."

      1. Crisp

        Re: Luddites

        Dungeon Keeper is ripe for a make over. No one has come close to doing that game justice yet.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Paw Bokenfohr

      Re: Luddites

      "expectation that because you paid £40 in 2007 you should get eternal server access for your money is ludicrous"

      Nobody is suggesting that, as you well know, you're just attacking a straw man.

      The issue is one of choice, as always.

      For you, you prefer online, multiplayer games - MMORPGs, FPSs, and so on, and those games as you say have a limited shelf life. For you, perhaps, a monthly subscription with access to all games currently running on the servers would be a good deal - never buying a game at all, but having access to all while the publisher believes that they are worth hosting, and never having to have a disc which you hate so much.

      Others may have no interest in the online components of games, may prefer their kids didn't connect online, they have poor (or expensive) network connectivity, or play games for which an online component is of no extra value. For these people, buying a physical copy of the game, and being able to use it as is makes more sense, and there should be no reason why they shouldn't have that option.

      CoD, Halo, Far Cry, and Borderlands players are not the only people in the world who matter.

  33. Sean Kennedy

    The market will correct

    Just imagine if "Always on" does become a requirement from here on out. What a great marketing angle for the next bunch of indie developers that want to make a splash with their game concepts.

    Dear EA/Microsoft: Please do make an internet connection a requirement for all of your games, single player or otherwise.

    Indies have the greatest potential for great games with original ideas. Let's give them all the help we can, shall we?

  34. robp


    I can just imagine it. The bods all sat around the desk brain-storming how to monetize their latest creation. Don't get me wrong, I understand that when you need 2 years and a talented team of developers, artists and stuff, you need to be able to make enough money to pay them and satisfy the shareholders.

    But, I hate free games that pester and need constant feeding of money in order to progress. I don't like always on for no good reason, other than it incorporates the latest "cloud" buzzwords. I hate that I would be artificially restricted into not buying and using second-hand games.

    Younger kids might just go with this, but I'm old enough for it not to wash.

    Which reminds me. I have Amiga, Spectrum, Dreamcast, PS, Nintendo emulators and more. I have MAME. There are literally thousands of fantastic, challenging and fun games that are readily available (note: I'm not condoning piracy). The Xbox360 in my living room may be the last console I buy (although an OUYA may be good for XBMC, and the name reminds me of Euro Pron movie dialogue if said with a Dutch accent!).

    1. Crisp

      Re: Monetize

      If you could actually buy a copy of Galaga, then you'd be a filthy little pirate for running mame.

      But since you can't actually buy a copy of Galaga, you can't exactly be depriving the original artist of any income can you?

      1. TheVogon

        Re: Monetize

        You can buy Galaga on Xbox Live Arcade.

  35. Snowy Silver badge

    Always on, I'm not buying your next console #dealwiththat

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    not quite on topic

    but lots of programs help buttons (i'm looking at you, firefox) open up a browser window (ok) to an addy on t'internet (not so good...)

  37. Bsquared

    Wasn't Steam supposed to do this right?

    A timely thread. Some twat of a contractor chopped a fibre optic at our local exchange last week. 4 days with no landline and hence no ADSL.

    First I sighed, because I would be unable to mark all those exam papers online this weekend.

    Then I slapped myself hard and realised I could devote more time to Return to Castle Wolfenstein, yay!! (I know, I know, woefully late to the party.). Steam will work offline, I told myself.

    Nope. Steam told me that my login credentials were not stored locally on my computer, and I could just piss off.

    I need my online connection to fix Steam, so I can play in Offline mode. Grrrrrrrr.......

    1. Piro Silver badge

      Re: Wasn't Steam supposed to do this right?

      Yeah, if your password isn't saved, you're screwed. It's annoying. If you try to log on anywhere else, too, it seems to reset your credentials on other machines, thus screwing you.

      I completely agree Steam needs to look at fixing this.

      /However/ if you can briefly gain a connection with a tethered phone, you can log in with saved credentials, flick into offline mode, and you'll be fine from then on, without any connection.

      But yes, it needs to be better.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  38. Anonymous Coward


    Simply pirate games... This does two things.

    It saves YOU money (if they are going to shove adverts and purchasable content within the game then they are getting extra money and when i spend good £ on a game, i shouldn't have to purchase more stuff to be able to play the fucking thing).

    As demonstrated, cracked copies with no such online requirements are easily available and let you play the game (OK, you may not be able to multi-play) offline...

    When the ratio of pirated / DRM removed gets enough, they will then reconsider....

    1. M Gale

      Re: Pah...

      "When the ratio of pirated / DRM removed gets enough, they will then reconsider...."

      I don't think you understand how this works. Allow me to demonstrate:



      say "Our DRM measures have worked, we will continue to develop them in future."


      say "We plainly need to invest more in our DRM solutions. We will continue to develop them in future."

      GOTO begin:

      1. Crisp

        Re: Pah...

        That should be a While(True) loop.

        Goto? You should be shot.

        1. Nigel 11

          re: Goto

          Ir was written by and for the marketing division. What did you expect?

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "and the nation that invented the internet is now lagging behind such comparative broadband paradises as Romania and Latvia in speed and cost"

    Since when has the UK been ahead of *any* european country in Broadband?

    the UK didn't have a particularly good take up in the early days and with poor investment and cheap infrastructure, it was always going to be europe's broadband poor man.

    1. Tommy Pock

      It's U-571 all over again

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The UK didn't invent the "internet"

      Point of order before more people get bent out of shape:

      The US invented the internet (arpanet) with some assistance from British nationals.

      The UK (well, Tim Berners-Lee, not the whole country) invented the world wide web.

      And yes, the UK did acquire the Enigma machine referred to rather than the US.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge


        It wasn't the Enigma machine which mattered, we had loads of those!

        Much like grabbing a copy of the RSA algorithm doesn't let you break RSA, you have to find the specific key - not the general lock design!

        It was the weather code book that made it much easier for us to consistently break German naval Enigma codes.

        That book meant that we could know what the plaintext should be for the daily weather reports (because we had our own weather reports), and thus find that day's Enigma settings much quicker.

        It's quite fascinating, and very irritating that the U571 film bore no resemblance whatsoever to the real events of U110 and Operation Primrose.

        Perhaps the most amusing bit is that the USA didn't believe that we'd been cracking Enigma... Or at least it would have been amusing if that ignorance hadn't lead to hundreds of avoidable deaths.

  40. Spider

    why? just because that's why.

    I could go on about how xbox provided entertainment in otherwise dull places that had no chance of a connection bobbing about on the high seas defending the realm (at the risk of sounding like Lewis), or how I get together twice a year with good friends for a weekends xbox fest with as many xbox's as we can cram into chosen venue that it would cripple the net connection.

    But ultimately it's because i don't want to connect all the time to play a campaign or single player game. it's not necessary and it adds nothing to a system I would have already paid for a console and a game in. In fact I am worse off in not being able to borrow/lend games between friends.

    I know it's a luxury. I can choose not to buy. I just find it hard to believe they're willing to hand such a big win to Sony this early in the game. That's probably how I'll deal with it.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where I'm living, in the mountains in central Portugal, I get internet by my cell-phone and sharing a hotspot, as neither ADSL nor a telephone line arrive past the village about 4km below in the valley. I have a monthly datacap of 4gb (The largest commercial mobile phone plan offered in the whole country) and the national telecom industry mafia (Anacom) limits ANY mobile user to 15gb per month. (including all those poor saps sucked into b$ contracts with the phone company for a $40 a month 15gb deal with a Huwei pen modem dealie)

    This same Anacom published a paper recently, saying that all was fine, no one except naughty kids needed more than their monthly limit, and that most people stay well within their monthly bandwidth and do nothing. This is, of course, a patent LIE. Those bastards dole our our internet by the DROP...

    There is no choice. this company is the only one with signal up here... It's the former national telco, masquerading as "just another telco" as you may have seen in every other goddamned country on earth...

    I have to drive 1 hour to a town to an internet cafe to do any big downloads...

    I am VERY sensitive to :

    1) windows updates being ON by default and sucking up bandwidth without asking. (all visitors needs to check their update settings)

    2) installations and update executables that then download other components(WTF were those 70+ megs I just downloaded if you didn't "get all the files" yet?)

    3) games that require always on connections. Just go to hell directly, do not pass go, do not collect $200....

  42. jonnycando

    Re: Tethering in USA...Yes, it costs a goodly fortune and then some. Unless you have rooted your phone and installed something less ornery, like Cyanogenmod that allows tethering without cost. I do believe one's carrier can tell when you are doing it, and may throttle you but you get what can get when you can get it.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    here's what will happen...

    after this public outcry it will ship WITHOUT 'always on required'

    after about a year of releases a dashboard update will force 'always on' for the system to work, and all future games will require it. this will be dictated by a change in Terms of Service. Refuse and you'll be limited to first gen titles only.

    that way people have already bought into the platform, and are more willing to just tolerate it / upgrade their internet connection than go out and buy another system (and the chance of Sony not following if Microsoft do it is IMHO small)

    actually I'm surprised this is coming from Microsoft in the first place, given it was Sony who pioneered this removal of advertise features with the PS3 (features they'd promised would always be an option..)

    anybody expecting anything less is being naive at this point.

  44. Tom 35

    "despite user antipathy, "always on" gaming is set to become the norm."

    I have given up on PC games do to this and other DRM crap, (and buying games that don't work, wait for weeks to download a giant patch so it sort of works). I buy the odd old game but mostly replay stuff I already have.

    If console games go the same way... I don't need one.

  45. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    "busses"? What are busses? Plural of "buss" - a big slobbery kiss.

  46. This post has been deleted by its author

  47. blcollier

    Thing is...

    Was going to post this as an AC, but screw it - downvote me all you want...

    I've long ago given up on modern consoles; most of the games out there are turgid dross and I've played them all - in one incarnation or another - many many times before. Generic Modern WarDeathKill #46 vs. Yet Another GunKillShootDeathGame #12? Thanks, but Doom, Quake, Half Life, Halo, Medal of Honor, Thief, Splinter Cell, etc, beat you to it (and probably did a much better job of entertaining me). Selling my Xbox was the best thing I've done with it.

    When it comes to PC gaming, always-on has been creeping in through the back door for a long time now. We as consumers had the choice to vote with our wallets a long time ago and we failed to take it. If people hadn't bought games with this requirement, publishers would not have seen these games as a success and would have dropped the idea. We didn't and they haven't, so here we are. And you can't ignore the fact that, even in the supposedly bullet-proof world of console gaming, piracy is a real problem and publishers/devs *will* want to protect themselves from it.

    At the end of the day I'm interested in playing the game. I couldn't really give a crap about whether it needs me to be always-online or not, I just want to play the game. I have a fast and reliable internet connection at home - and the day you manage to prise my router from my hands is the day they bury me - and I have a fast and reliable connection on the move; it simply isn't a problem for me. I caved and bought SimCity - despite knowing about the launch-day problems and online requirement - because I wanted to play the game. StarCraft 2 needs me to be online for, but I don't really care because I enjoy playing it (I'll admit that having to log in to my account *every* *damn* *time* is a pain in the balls however).

    It might be a problem if I wanted to play the game in 3/4 years' time and I discover that the publisher has dropped support for it, but the chances are that I'll be on Windows 93.6 or whatever by then and I'll have to get third-party hacks and patches just to install it - in the same way that I have to for many older games that I still play today. And all the people crowing the oh-so-popular opinions about EA and SimCity seem to forget that EA are still supporting Spore to this day, despite the fact that it was one of the biggest flops in PC gaming history.

    If anything, this opens the door for indie devs with more creative ideas, and that is no bad thing. Since Minecraft rocked my world two and a half years ago, I've been buying more and more indie games than "triple A" releases and I've been having a lot more fun for it. Most of those don't have always-on requirements and are fun & engaging that many "big budget" games couldn't possibly hope to be. It took me six months to beat FTL and I still can't beat it on "Normal"; despite the game kicking me in the balls at every opportunity I still come back to it. I've played Super Hexagon for a total of around 6 hours now and the longest I've lasted in that game is 48 seconds - another game that relishes kicking you in the family jewels (repeatedly, while wearing steel toe-capped boots, and shoving hot pokers in your face while it does so). And if Minecraft tracked hours played the figure would utterly horrify me; I poured at least 12 hours into it over the weekend alone and I consider that a relatively Minecraft-free weekend...

  48. Aoyagi Aichou

    Bah, Microsoft...

    All most recent Microsoft products are crap forcing the user to use even more crap, as follows:

    Windows 8 'forces' users to use their touch interface while doing only minor updates in other areas, not to mention it keeps nagging the user about logging into Live and using clouds. Not to mention Smartscreen. I bet there is a lot more privacy intrusion going on there as well.

    Windows Phone 8 is outright rubbish with its cloud nature, lack of user control, data harvesting and being closed tighter than <dirty comparison>.

    And as for XBox, even the current generation is horrible. Paying for the possibility to play online? Please. Getting served ads even then? Outrageous. The next generation sounds simply ridiculous.

    Don't get me started on GFWL.


    I don't like the path Microsoft has started. Does any of you like that? It's not a rhetorical question, I'm really curious if I'm being considered "conservative", "backwards" or "paranoid" by this fine community. And I'm sure as hell I won't be buying any of their products anytime soon while recommending others (who ask) to do the same.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bah, Microsoft...

      It's one click to get to the W8 desktop....

      Once you tell it once that you don't want to use a Live account then it doesn't bother you again unless you try and use something that requires it.

      No Microsoft product including Windows Phone harvest any of your data without your express permission - all defaults are for privacy enabled.

      Sure Windows Phone is secure. If you want a malware infested Swiss Cheese then Android is waiting for you....

      1. Aoyagi Aichou

        Re: Bah, Microsoft...

        Yes, one annoying click to get to desktop that lacks Start menu. Oh how great. I wouldn't touch W8 with a 3 meter pole if it didn't have Classic Shell installed on it. As for the nagging about Live part, if I remember correctly, there is some "very persuasive" text on the log-in screen. I think there was more, but that may have changed...

        What? Are you kidding me? If you use "express" kind of settings on a WP8 phone, it makes the user participate in all kinds of "anonymous feedback and data collection", send some data about WiFi networks, share location, send all contacts (if you log-in, there is no way to opt-out) and god knows what else. So yes, it doesn't harvest anything without my permission, but then, if I don't give the permission, the phone becomes near to useless, because I can't download any "apps" and the OS itself is most likely a worse piece of crap than iOS. I caught myself thinking 'I wish this had -at least- Symbian'. And it's secure because nobody cares for OS that has 5% market share.

        You must work for MS, there is no other way you could defend the company this much. They did nothing good in the past two or three years.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Always online? No thanks

    Scratch the next Xbox off my shopping list if that's the case.

    What the fuck is wrong with these people? What is their obsession with always on or being connected to a `cloud`. Grow up. Not everyone wants to be connected to everyone else all the time. Some of us are quite happy being `offline`, you saddos.

  50. VaalDonkie

    The first time I experienced Always On

    was with C&C Tiberium Wars. 2 hours into the singleplayer game, my internet connection drops and I am left with the 1st tier vehicles. I promptly took the game back to the store I got it from and got something else instead.

  51. adam payne

    I don't agree with always on and I don't think I ever will. My console is not always on and I think I should be able to decide how I use the product I legally purchased.

  52. Dodel

    If M$ do decide to go down the "Always On / Always connected' path, I for one will not buy another console from them.

    I have two 360's atm, one for media and the other my sons, however I let the gold membership expire, and I now cannot even use the internet on either console unless I pay M$ for a membership fee. Utter nonsense!.

    It's already been mentioned that not everyone can have an always on connection, so why would you opt for a console that you can only play when your online, add to this that M$ want us to stop using pre-owned games and only use the games they want us too, I think NOT!.

    I payed good monies for these consoles, I should be able to play and use them how I wish (within legal realms), if that be online or offline / a new game or a game I've bought pre-owned so be it.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Captive audience

    This is all about the seller leading the market.

    With the cloud various industries would control how much you'd use a product and if you'd need to buy add-ons retroactively. The loss from 2nd hand games would no longer be an issue, since you'll pay again and again for what you previously considered as something you own.

  54. gkroog
    Thumb Down

    There MS goes again...

    ...showing just how much they know and care about their customers.

    "Why on earth would I live there?" Wow, SERIOUSLY, Adam?!

    You may not want to live there, and you may think no one should, but your customers live there.

    You know, the poor fools you rely on to pay for that fat internet connection you obviously think is the norm...

    Sure, he stated that that's his own opinion and not Microsoft's, but it sounds just a little too eerily familiar

    from the company that claims to be willing to help open source developers with signed keys for secure boot, but never quite manages to do that, with their support always promising to "get back to you" and never actually doing so.

  55. Ryleh

    I could live with this....

    If this would be a lovefilm/netflix contract like deal... with a console added as a part of a contract and be used to consume the pay as you go or subscription based content.

    Think OnLive! kind of thing...

    Other then that they can just f*off!!!!

  56. Nosher

    Always Connected my arse

    I have a two-day-a-week 1.5-hour-each-way commute to London during which I work (as part of my working day). Even though the Greater Anglia Inter City train has fairly good WiFi (considering it's a train and all), I find that unless it's *perfect* then all these Google Drive apps are a waste of time as *everything* they do (even just adding text) depends on some AJaX backhaul. Using them is tedious beyond words, so I find myself still using LibreOffice and such to create docs and spreadhseets whilst on the move. So much for the liberation of The Cloud: it'll probably be a generation before the cellular/radio/LTE/whatever network is good enough /everywhere/ between Diss and London, whilst travelling at over 100mph, for this to work practically and seamlessly.

  57. Anonymous Coward

    One thing you could do to help send a message..

    A lot of people have simply suggested that you dont buy the game which has DRM on it.

    And thats fair enough, but what if its a game you do want to play.

    Well publishers generally are only really intrested in the first two weeks of sales to give them some sort of indication of how well the game is going to sell (and hence how much money they are going to make).

    So simply dont buy the game on release, wait two weeks.. frankly if simcity and other examples are to go by your not really going to be able to play YOUR game anyway.

    So you can still support your delevolpers while telling the publishers to stick it (also helps if you bitch & whine like a 5 year old on the games forums in the meantime - plenty of examples in this post :p )

    then get to play your game anyway..

    *\. okay getting my coat, no need to shove me out the door..

  58. Sirius Lee

    Microsoft has it right

    As a director of a far reaching product, his horizons have to be years out. If they are not, he needs to be fired. We're hearing now of stuff (from any tech company) that was conceived, planned, designed and even created years ago. The people running projects at tech companies are making bets on what the future will be like (and living the life so they can check what it will be like). Microsoft failed to play this game well with the phone and they have reaped the consequences.

    Those living at the bleeding edge or the heart of a connected city (and paying for it) can't be expected to wait until all the dongles in the boonies have decided catchup. That's not how life works. The Microsoft guy doesn't want to life in Hicksville, West Virginia and not do I.

    I certainly don't want Microsoft's planning horizon to accommodate only Hicksville's modem speed connectivity when mine is 70MB/s download and 10MB/s upload (really, that what I have now). I want Microsoft (and others) thinking about new applications that can take advantage of this bandwidth.

    1. pepper

      Re: Microsoft has it right

      soooo... They need to make a product that can only be sold to those living with expensive connections? Sounds like a big market!

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