UPDATE: Xbox One Needs Internet Connection Once Per Day


For complete Xbox One coverage today: follow Game Front on Twitter for live-tweets during the reveal, and stay tuned to gamefront.com for full coverage and analysis.


UPDATE II: In a statement to Polygon, Microsoft representatives have characterized Harrison’s statements (see below) as “potential scenarios.” The company’s response is as follows:

“There have been reports of a specific time period — those were discussions of potential scenarios, but we have not confirmed any details today, nor will we be,” Microsoft said.

UPDATE: According to a report on Kotaku, the Xbox One won’t require a constant internet connection, and you’ll still have access to key services and features if you’re internet goes down, but it will need to connect to the internet at regular intervals. Once every “24 hours” to play single-player games, according to Microsoft Vice President Phil Harrison.

Here’s Harrison explaining the general concept:

There are many devices in your life that require the Internet to function. Xbox One is no different in that it requires, at some point in the beginning and at various times through its on state, to connect to our cloud and to our Internet. That is to deliver Xbox Live functionality, that is to deliver download content to you, that is to deliver some of the innovations around TV and entertainment that we showed today. But it doesn’t require it to be online all the time.

For single-player games that don’t require connectivity to Xbox Live, you should be able to play those without interruption should your Internet connection go down. Blu-ray movies and other downloaded entertainment should be accessible when your Internet connection may be interrupted. But the device is fundamentally designed to be expanded and extended by the Internet as many devices are today.

When asked specifically about playing single-player games, and how often Xbox One would need to connect to the internet in order to enable play, Harrison had this to say:

I believe it’s 24 hours.


Original story below

Microsoft provided a wealth of information about its new Xbox One console this morning; you can read Game Front’s comprehensive coverage here. That said, the presentation left many things in doubt. Despite mentions of the console being “connected and ready” for “connected experiences,” there is still no definitive answer to single question which has dominated pre-release conversation about the Xbox One: will it require an “always-on” internet connection?

The short answer, thankfully, seems to be “no.” Soon after the big reveal, Microsoft posted an FAQ on the official Xbox website that responded to the question directly:

Q: Does Xbox One require an “always on” Internet connection?
A: No, it does not have to be always connected, but Xbox One does require a connection to the Internet.

This confusing response was then updated, and these two sentences were added.

“We’re designing Xbox One to be your all-in-one entertainment system that is connected to the cloud and always ready. We are also designing it so you can play games and watch Blu-ray movies and live TV if you lose your connection.”

The quote echoes remarks made by Xbox LIVE general manager Marc Whitten to the Official Xbox Magazine UK, which shed further light on the situation:

“So much of the experience is based on things that come from the internet, and obviously I will tell you that if you’re not connected, those things will not work…You will not be playing multiplayer, you will not be surfing the web, all those sorts of things. It is built to be a box that is a digital native of the web, it always wants to be connected, it always wants to be up to date, so you can get these great experiences. That said, we understand how the internet and the world works, and the box will operate with movies, TV, Blu-ray or whatever, you can play the single player side of your game while there’s an outage.”

According to the article’s author, OXM Deputy Editor Edwin Evans-Thirlwell, “one analogy for the new Xbox is a modern smartphone…a device that’s clearly at its best when hooked up to a network, but not one that’s dependent on it.”

The issue is further complicated by an article posted by Wired writer Chris Kohler on the magazine’s Game Life blog. According to Kohler:

“Xbox One will give game developers the ability to create games that use Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing service, which means that they might be able to offload certain computing tasks to the cloud rather than process them on the Xbox One hardware itself. This would necessitate the game requiring a connection.”

Kohler also asked Whitten to address the issue:

“Are developers forced to create games that have these online features, and are thus not playable offline? They are not, Xbox exec Whitten said to Wired — but ‘I hope they do.’ So the always-online future may come in incremental steps.”

Despite Whitten’s remarks and the official response on the FAQ page, it’s still not quite clear, exactly, what kind of connection system Microsoft is describing. Does it work like Steam does on the PC, asking users to log on, register, and install a game, then play it with their internet connections enabled at least once before the game becomes available in offline mode?

The situation raises a number of key questions:

  • Will it be possible to log onto the Xbox and play a game without having an internet connection at any point?
  • Is it necessary to log onto the internet every time you launch a game?
  • Will each game come with a registration or serial code that’s somehow tied to the player account?
  • Are certain features disabled if the user’s Internet connection is down? If so, which ones?

Until Microsoft elaborates further on how this system functions, answers to the “always-online” question and descriptions of the connectivity requirements are reduced to the level of speculation and guess work. As we did with the day’s other big controversy — the possibility of the Xbox One including a built-in “online pass” feature — Game Front is reaching out to Microsoft for comment.


Read more of Ian Miles Cheong’s work here, and follow him and Game Front on Twitter:@stillgray and @gamefrontcom. Ben Richardson (Twitter:@B_C_Richardson) contributed to this piece. You can follow his work here.

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12 Comments on UPDATE: Xbox One Needs Internet Connection Once Per Day

pooleboy87

On May 21, 2013 at 7:21 pm

Thank you so much, Microsoft, for absolutely ensuring that I have no interest whatsoever in buying this completely anti-consumer piece of . I didn’t think I would be getting any next gen console, but your combative design choices absolutely confirm that choice.

I’m so effing sick and tired of these constant decisions that are CLEARLY made with 100% effort to remove as much money as possible from my wallet and putting it into their corporate books while refusing to even grant me ownership of whatever it is I’m purchasing.

I sincerely hope this device bombs. I sincerely hope EA starts to suffer some serious hurt. I sincerely hope that the smaller/indie developers that still seem to have some sort of respect for their consumers begin to dominate the industry.

But me? I’m disgusted by it, and I’m largely done with it. F%$# you Microsoft. So much.

folklore

On May 21, 2013 at 7:28 pm

@ polleboy87
How big is the chance of microsoft getting put under the anti capitalist prank on the consumerist do you think?

sep

On May 21, 2013 at 8:41 pm

screw you fu3k5. I’ll just pirate the damn game and play it on the PC. It’s almost as if you want to turn away those that want to pay for the product, and then and moan that these measures are there to prevent piracy. you.

Dach

On May 21, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Looks like it’s Back to Sony’s console; the lesser of two evils.

Kind of a shame, I really like the Indie Marketplace and Xbox arcade.

quicktooth

On May 21, 2013 at 10:42 pm

Microsoft, I will definitely NOT be buying your product. Your patronising bullsh!t isn’t even the only deal breaker for me; your anti-consumer garbage (online “features”) you’ve attached to it’s design is EQUALLY a deal breaker. YOU have to convince ME that I care about your product. Given all you’ve said, I’ve become actively hostile to your product. Hope this thing tanks.

TheDog

On May 21, 2013 at 10:46 pm

I love this stuff. No, honest, I do. This is the perfect thing to bring people back to the pc. Not even steam requires you to connect to the internet every 24 hours. I can play all year long without ever going on to the internet except to register a game. After that, I can play in offline mode all I want.
Funny how the more they try to turn the console into a pc, the more they make the pc look that much better. Alright microdoosh, way to get your pc gamers back. Heck, I’ve been able to do everything they’re saying and more for years (well, minus the cloud bs). My pc’s been my tv recorder for several years now, as well as doing tons more. Gee how they make all this sound so new and nonexciting.

R.J.

On May 21, 2013 at 11:18 pm

While it’s better than requiring a constant connection, this isn’t a whole lot better. Sure, if the connection is down or slow, you wouldn’t be totally out of luck, but it still would force anyone without the internet to sign up for service, and maintain that service.

Na Na Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye

On May 22, 2013 at 3:52 am

Microsoft is insuring that it will be absolutely obliterated by PS4. Frankly, Microsoft won’t be missed in the console market.

Mr Glassback

On May 22, 2013 at 11:35 am

Has the PS4 been confirmed as used game friendly and not always online?
I have a funny feeling that the PS4 will have the same kind of thing and have dodged the questions with sly technicalities just like MS are trying i.e “is it always online?”, “no”. (but turns out it needs to go online at lest once per day), “can you play used games?”, “yes”, (but it’s our own used games system, possibly cutting out the retail side of it)
I think EA cancelled season passes simply because they knew they wouldn’t need them anymore (another d**k move by them), and I can’t see them doing this without the PS4 being in a similar mostly online state to the xbox one.
If they are both the same, then a move to PC gaming it is. (assuming I can get a near silent rig and use an xbox controller with it)

Changeformer

On May 22, 2013 at 1:04 pm

“There are many devices in your life that require the Internet to function” Where are these devices? I have a PC, laptop, receiver, smartphone, and a 50” TV, all of them can be connected to the internet, but none of them require internet connection to function at all. What if i don’t want your Live functionality and just want to play games. When they made these decisions didn’t anyone just said it out loud to hear how stupid it sounds… almost as stupid as their responses – “No, it does not have to be always connected, but Xbox One does require a connection to the Internet.” This one makes me laugh hard every time.

XDarkMario

On May 22, 2013 at 8:56 pm

i smell a pile of bull!? constant online required!? and possible serial key?! what is this a PC!?

Zachary

On June 1, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Changeformer

On May 22, 2013 at 1:04 pm

“There are many devices in your life that require the Internet to function” Where are these devices? I have a PC, laptop, receiver, smartphone, and a 50” TV, all of them can be connected to the internet, but none of them require internet connection to function at all. What if i don’t want your Live functionality and just want to play games. When they made these decisions didn’t anyone just said it out loud to hear how stupid it sounds… almost as stupid as their responses – “No, it does not have to be always connected, but Xbox One does require a connection to the Internet.” This one makes me laugh hard every time.
I agree, the Xbox 1 needing but not needing an internet connection contradicts what they meanand show typical Microsoft stupidity, Back to PC for me