back to article Next Xbox won't need always-on internet after all

Widespread fears that Microsoft's next Xbox gaming console will require an always-on network connection may be unfounded, if a memo purportedly leaked from Redmond proves authentic. Ars Technica claims to have had a peek at an all-hands memo sent to every current staffer working on "Durango," the codename for the next Xbox, …


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  1. OrsonX

    what to have for tea?

    What I really want is a crispy chilly beef..., but that's supposed to be for Friday's.

    I need something to see me through the dark hours before "Monday-Tuesday" arrives.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: what to have for tea?

      You want cold beef for dinner ?

  2. JeffyPooh


    Will it have a Start button ?????

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Embarrassing climbdown in 3, 2, 1

    I wasn't expecting anything else. They've let up this balloon to see if it would fly, and it emerged to be wholly engineered out of lead. So you'll be able to play offline a bit longer, but give it a year or two and they'll try again.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Embarrassing climbdown in 3, 2, 1

      The only advantage to M$ forcing an online connection is for them to know everything that you are doing and for them to have total control over what you are doing. There is no advantage for customer in forcing them to have an internet connection for that piece of junk to work

      1. Homer 1

        Re: the "advantage"

        The one and only reason for "online only" is DRM, which is clearly never an advantage to anyone, not even the vendor, because it serves no purpose but to drive potential customers away, usually right into the welcoming arms of "piracy".

        It's incredible that vendors haven't worked that out yet.

        Assuming that memo is genuine, you'll note that it doesn't preclude the possibility of DRM, just that it shouldn't be used for single-player games. But that assumes there will in fact be any single-player games in the future, which given the direction games developers are headed (e.g. SimCity) is becoming less likely all the time - unless they finally work out that DRM is futile.

        The only other "advantage" to "online only", that I can think of, is the opportunity for Microsoft (and anyone it sells the data to) to spam the user with targeted advertising, based on the content they watch and games they play. But, like DRM, spam is not really an "advantage" to anyone, for exactly the same reason as above.

        Sooner or later these desperately greedy vendors are going to work out that you can't squeeze blood from a stone, and you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. Hopefully they'll work it out sometime before they "protect" themselves into oblivion with DRM and other draconian restrictions.

        1. Paul Shirley

          Re: @Homer 1

          Though I hate to give the impression I'm defending them, the phrase that kicked off the shitstorm was 'always on', not 'online only'. The 2nd is a sensible extrapolation based on current industry practices that Microsoft chose not to deny.

          My personal belief is Microsoft gave no serious consideration to whether misuse of online as DRM was an issue for customers and had no policy either way. It is however a serious issue for shitty developers Microsoft cannot ignore, like EA, so it will be allowed.

          The social network features of Durango (video sharing, in game messaging etc.) clearly do require a permanent connection *for them to work*. Microsoft leak still doesn't clarify completely whether that will be used as camouflage for DRM or whether we can disable that and still play games.

  4. mickey mouse the fith

    Weasel words maybe?

    I wonder if it will still require periodic check-ins like windows 7 insists on doing? They say that its not a `permenant` online requirement, but maybe you need to be online when the game is first installed (maybe to lock it to that machine) or it phones home every week or so to check you havnt been a naughty boy and run your disk on multiple machines without paying.

    1. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: Weasel words maybe?

      Windows 7 does not require periodic check ins unless you choose to use a corporate licensing scheme that has key (KMS) servers....

      1. mickey mouse the fith

        Re: Weasel words maybe?

        "Windows 7 does not require periodic check ins unless you choose to use a corporate licensing scheme that has key (KMS) servers...."

        Yup, your right, I just checked. I got confused because a friend of mine without internet got the "your a victim of counterfitting" message after 3 months. So it needs an initial online check to validate, which is also what I suspect the new xbox will require.

        1. Gene Cash Silver badge

          Re: Weasel words maybe?

          Pffft. I got "you're a victim of counterfeiting" about 10 minutes after I installed my store-bought copy of Windows 7. So I installed a crack. There endeth my little experiment in actually buying Microsoft software.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Weasel words maybe?

        Disagree. I have two Asus G75's w/ Win 7 bought off Amazon in 2012, so definitely retail not-corporate. After the first 3 months every time I run a windows app i.e. notepad or control panel etc, up pops this annoying dialog :-

        "Software Licensing

        This computer is not running genuine Windows.

        To use this feature without interruption...

        Resolve Online Now"

  5. TheItCat

    Watching Live TV?

    Just how are you going to be able to watch Live TV on an XBox without an Internet Connection?

    I really don't see them putting DVB-T and DVB-S support in there for all the major markets in the world somehow...

    1. dogged

      Re: Watching Live TV?

      USB tuner support?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Watching Live TV?

      Wouldn't be too difficult. Considering the beefy hardware, there's nothing stopping them defining most of it in software.

    3. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: Watching Live TV?

      Perhaps it has a satellite-in feed and operates as a freeview box

  6. asdf


    Even tone deaf Microsoft couldn't ignore the Simcity fiasco. EA's former CEO was a first class douchebag but he probably did more to kill DRM (or at least stunt its growth) than one else so far. And yes I guarantee he personally rubber stamped it should be online only (huge decision for major launch title) or if he didn't was neglect in his duties.

    1. asdf

      Re: yep

      >but he probably did more to kill DRM

      Forgot about Steve Jobs who did a lot to kill other companies DRM but did a good job of keeping his closed garden intact.

  7. squilookle
    Thumb Up

    I don't have loyalty to any console maker and usually change alliance (that is, buy a different console) every so often. I currently have an XBox 360 and I'm happy with it and I'll wait till both consoles are out before I choose one. A system where an internet connection is required all the time would be a dealbreaker for me - even though I rarely use my XBox 360 off line - but just out of principle because it's so pointless.

    I think with the EA thing and the detail on the PS4 MS have realized it was a bad idea. They may try again in future. The software on the 360, to my memory, doesn't resemble the original software at all, so who knows where this console will be in 5-6 years, whatever it looks like when it gets released.

    I hope they have dropped all this nonsense about not allowing second hand game purchases too - not that I buy second hand games because I haven't for years, but I don't like the idea of this being blocked for the interests of a few companies profits.

    Atleast this put the new Xbox back in the running for my next console then. For now.

    1. asdf


      > second hand game purchases too

      I have noticed a bit of cultural difference on this. At least among myself and my circle (American) second hand sales of things are somewhat rare. Its is looked down upon as a garage sale need the money pawn shop kind of thing or a hassle best avoided at least (except among kids who honestly need the money). I know many Americans do it on Craig's List and Ebay but I do get the impression tech resale is more common in the UK and EU than here in the USA. Probably not because we are snobs so much as the culture has trained us in consumerism (buy new use up or throw away and repeat).

      1. squilookle

        Re: hmm

        I see where you're coming from, buy buying secondhand games have taken 2 forms for me over different stages in life. When I was a kid, we would buy them with out own money from dodgy shops specializing in that kind of thing after school, or dodgy stalls in the market.

        As an adult, second hand purchases have typically been old games you haven't seen for years and have to buy out of nostalgia.

        Also, usually when I move house, I either take my last gen console and all it's games to a dodgy game shop, or as I'm planning to do this time, send them to music magpie.

        It's a tradition. Of sorts.

      2. Oninoshiko

        Re: (American) second hand sales of things are somewhat rare.

        I think you should propose this thesis to Gamestop. 2nd (and sometimes even 3rd) hand sales are where they make the VAST majority of their profit (yes, in the US). I have heard-tell the Best Buy has even started the practice after seeing how profitable it is for Gamestop (they have to do something to stop the hemorrhaging).

        I have bought games second hand, I dont think I have ever sold one back though.

        1. asdf

          Re: (American) second hand sales of things are somewhat rare.

          >I think you should propose this thesis to Gamestop

          Go into a Gamestop and you will find the customers who have fully been through puberty are a small minority in most stores (thus the exception for kids in original comment).

          >I have bought games second hand, I dont think I have ever sold one back though.

          Yeah that is probably the more common scenario among the not so young.

          1. Oninoshiko

            Re: (American) second hand sales of things are somewhat rare.

            You are missing the point, It's profitable. In the US, it's profitable. To EA (I'm starting to get to the point where I'm wondering if there need to be three categories, "EA", "other-AAA", & "indie") every 2nd hand sale is lost profit (as insane as that is, that is what they believe). That means there is a push to squash 2nd hand sales from largest incumbent players. We have seen it already, Diablo 3, Ubisoft's fling with it, (and of course the most recent poster-boy for why it's a bad idea) Simcity (which has been so hacked around it, there can be no question that this was only about DRM. Anyone saying otherwise at this point is either lying or an idiot.).

            I have the right of first sale. I never use it, but I have it morally reprehensible that the major publishers are trying to strip me (and yes, those kids too. Just because they have not reached a certain age and/or choose to exercise them more often does not mean they should not have basic property rights) of my rights.

            1. asdf

              Re: (American) second hand sales of things are somewhat rare.

              >I have the right of first sale. I never use it, but I have it morally reprehensible that the major publishers are trying to strip me

              Yes it is a good right to hang on. Often though it is used as a justification why an electronics item should be wildly overpriced in the first place <cough Apple>. The whole yes but you can resale it for half is not a real enticing argument for most middle class Yanks without infinite disposable income who rarely resale electronics.

        2. weenoid

          Re: (American) second hand sales of things are somewhat rare.

          "I have bought games second hand, I dont think I have ever sold one back though."

          What I generally like to do is after I've purchased and completed a recently released game, rather than sell it on for 50-75% of what I paid for it, I let it gather dust in the corner for a few years and then sell it to CEX for 30p.

          1. asdf

            Re: (American) second hand sales of things are somewhat rare.

            >than sell it on for 50-75% of what I paid for it

            Fat chance try more like %10 in the states. Bring in a big box of games and take the cool $27.50 they give you for them. Hardly worth the drive. Not to mention guess what no replaying those games if you get the itch in a few years.

      3. Ugotta B. Kiddingme Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: hmm

        "Its is looked down upon as a garage sale need the money pawn shop kind of thing or a hassle best avoided at least (except among kids who honestly need the money). "

        Speak for yourself. For me, the inability to play used games is just as big a dealbreaker as would be the requirement of an always-on internet connection.

        I regularly peruse the second hand bin at GameStop looking for bargains. In so doing, I've picked up quite a few games I otherwise would not have purchased (at full price). For example, Left4Dead and its sequel. I played both on PC when they came out. Years later, I found them in the bin of used Xbox360 games for $5 each so I picked them up for when I get bored with whatever I've been primarily playing. Now, that being said, I won't hesitate to pay "new" price for certain "must have" games like Borderlands. The used game bin transforms a "well... maybe" game into "at THAT price? Why not?"

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I still reckon this is classic MS - market research by the back door and increasing success by lowering expectations. Test the water with "leaks" about always-online games, see people respond with massive negativity, "leak" another memo saying the idea was stupid and MS would never do such a thing and suddenly those fountains of negativity are nodding fanboys supporting MS's foresight and common sense.

    Or Windows 8. Release a product you know will result in massive negativity from the geek press, then a year down the line put out 8.1 with the most minor of changes (a start button) and suddenly they'll all be buying it in bulk.

    Or Windows Vista. Put out a good, but flawed product, then a couple of years later make a raft of minor changes and suddenly it's hailed as the second coming.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just like the Xbox360

    The Xbox Next sounds like it's chock full of features from the previous Playstayion generation....

    Ahh well, idiots will always still queue up outside Walmart for one...

    1. ElNumbre

      Re: Just like the Xbox360

      Obvious troll is obvious.

      And let us say no more on the matter.

    2. Daniel B.

      Re: Just like the Xbox360

      It doesn't make him wrong. The Xbox360 uses low capacity DVDs vs. the PS3's Blu-Ray because MS was backing the wrong horse back then, and HDDVD was useless for data storage. Thus 360 players made a huge jump backwards with multidisc games, which is a nonissue on PS3. That MS caved in with using BDs as the new Xbox media says a lot on who's right....

      1. Dave's Jubblies

        Re: Just like the Xbox360

        What utter trot.

        The 360 didn't 'back the wrong horse' when it came out, as stated at the time, they didn't consider the extra capacity a neccesity back then, or worthwhile costwise.

        In case you didn't notice, the ps3 came out a year later, and cost a massive whack more than the 360 on launch, the main reason? the br drive.

        And MS haven't 'caved in', they have simply taken on board the prominent format, and NOW they really do need the extra capcity. What other choice presents itself?

      2. asdf

        Re: Just like the Xbox360

        > That MS caved in with using BDs as the new Xbox media says a lot on who's right....

        No it says who was willing to the lose the most money to win. Sony's "victory" might be some of the reason why they are 1/5 the size they were 15 years ago. Why the CEO who made that decision is no longer CEO (five years in a row in the red to the tune of double digit billions lost will do that) and why they will sell 80 million less PS3 than PS2 (extra $300 per console at launch minimum for BR went over real well). The term is pyrrhic victory. The downloaded/streaming media revolution thing really peed on their parade of long term ROI on the decision.

    3. asdf

      Re: Just like the Xbox360

      >Ahh well, idiots will always still queue up outside Walmart for one...

      Like the idiots queued up for a Vita at Tesco? Oh wait 4.7 million units sold worldwide in over a year means no queues anywhere that were not full of Sony employees anyway.

      1. asdf

        Re: Just like the Xbox360

        More importantly, ArsTechnica mentions that the Vita has sold about 1 million units in the US since its launch a bit more than 1 year ago. And to give you a sense of perspective, its older sister the original PSP sold 1.12 million units in the US in the month of December 2005 alone. Yup, back then, the PSP sold more in one good month than the Vita did in one year. Ouch?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Should I ever

    decide to buy a gaming console, I am far more likely to go with Playstation due to the nightmare experience I have had to endure in the past with Games for Windows Live on my PC.

    1. asdf

      Re: Should I ever

      Well you could always go with the 2010ish hardware Nintendo just put out to play Super Party Paper Wario and Zelda 27. Yet another platform to play emulated N64 games on and talk about the old times (lol hint if you don't remember wood veneer on your console or the TV collapsing into a white dot when you turned it off you can stfu about old) and play the same rehashed games over and over.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Should I ever

        Thank you for your considered opinion, asdf. I have considered your suggestions, and come to the conclusion that I am quite happy with my current PC gaming rig, which runs most AAA games on ultra setting. Should I ever feel like slumming it, however, I'll certainly consider your thoughtful console suggestions.

    2. asdf

      Re: Should I ever

      You could also buy a Sony Vita and be a member of an exclusive (and very small) club. Best of all you will have the official console 3rd party makers use to dump mediocre cutdown version of their franchises that weren't even good enough for the tablet market.

    3. asdf

      Re: Should I ever

      Finally to show I am an equal opportunity troll there is also the WinRT Surface fail to consider. Its more pricey than the other options and not built for gaming (or anything else but losing money) but you have a chance in a few years to recoup your costs as its so rare outside of Microsoft employees (who don't dare sell in case big brother tracks them) to be a collectors item.

  11. asdf

    @AC Posted Monday 6th May 2013 20:45 GMT

    Still sore about the Merkins putting Sony behind me too Microsoft for last place in the last generation eh? Most didn't buy Microsoft because its American but because Sony is run by some of the most arrogant douchebags outside of Apple. Granted Microsoft isn't much better but goodwill is more than just an accounting term as both companies are learning in various product lines.

  12. M Gale

    Watching live TV? With no Internet connection?

    Like, on the TV that you just plugged the Xbox into?

    No way. Lies.

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. Michael Habel Silver badge

    My understanding was...

    That Microsoft would be leaving the "decision" of always-on DRM to the individual Developer(s). So if it just happens that 99.95% of all the Dev's just happen to decide to use it, then so be it.

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