The "always online" controversy seems to be rolling forward with new comments from a major publisher. In an interview with The Guardian, Ubisoft Montreal CEO Yannis Mallat answered a number of questions about preparing for the next generation of consoles.
In responding to questions about hardware that requires a consistent connection to the Internet, Mallat had some surprising things to say. The furor over former Microsoft creative director Adam Orth's statements in response to rumors that the next Xbox would be an "always online" device has barely died down. Now, Ubisoft is lending credence to the speculation.
When asked if we are prepared for this requirement, Mallat stated, "Well, that's a question you should put to Microsoft and Sony! I would say that a lot of people are already always online through other devices – I would suspect that the audience is ready."
This follows a question in which the interviewer specifically brings up the botched launch of EA's online only SimCity and consumer concerns about a similar necessity for hardware. Mallat replies, "The answer lies in the question – as soon as players don't have to worry, they can only take into account the benefits that those services bring."
Just this weekend, Xbox Live suffered a number of problems that resulted from routine maintenance. Players were unable to sign into their accounts or communicate with friends. Offline play wasn't affected, but should the next Xbox require an active connection, even solo gaming might not be possible in a similar situation.
Whether Mallat's statements are his own or the official stance of the publisher isn't clear. We've reached out to Ubisoft for clarification.
[Source: The Guardian]
I would say he suspects wrong.