Rumor: Publishers can choose if their 'Next Xbox' games need a net connection

Over the past few weeks, there's been tons of conflicting rumors about if Microsoft's next Xbox console will require an "always on" Internet connection to play games and access media apps. Today, a new rumor claims that Microsoft may give game developers and publishers a choice of whether or not to require some kind of Internet connection for the games they are making for the console.

Polygon, using unnamed sources, claims that the console itself will have at least some form of "always on" requirement for accessing apps as well as a possible anti-piracy tool. However, in terms of playing games, the article says for the moment, the choice of requiring an Internet connection for playing games will be up to each individual game to support. If a game does need an Internet connection, it can also have the choice of either needing an "always on" link, or just for a one time connection for authentication purposes.

The article also claims that the next Xbox will have some way to quickly capture gameplay for the games made for the console and to share them with friends, similar to what Sony announced for its upcoming PlayStation 4 console. Xbox Live Achievements may also get a revamp with the new console, with the article claiming that new achievements will be able to be added to games without the need for a DLC pack. Cross-game achievements will also be supported and it's possible that cross-platform achievements could be put in place.

Microsoft will offer the first public details for the next Xbox in a press event on May 21st in its Redmond, Washington headquarters, with more details to be revealed at E3 2013 in June.

Source: Polygon
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If any game publishers are reading this, I will tell you now. If you game requires an internet connection for single player, I will NOT buy it.

How is this different to how it operates now really. On my PS3 I can't play some of my PS Plus games on demand without being online, even though they're installed on my hdd, on my Xbox many of my arcade games revert to trial versions without being signed in to Xbox live.

Excessive FUD being spread around this system for some bizarre reason

I mean technically isnt this already happening?

"Some Apps" - IE is an app for xbox that is useless without an internet connection, Iplayer etc is an app that needs an internet connection to function.

As for Games, I don't think there are many of them however I have a Socom Game which is basically MP only - isn't this exactly the same? I don't know for sure but what about Defiance - it seems that it is has a massive multiplayer element to it, although I don't know if it NEEDS the connection to function.

Like everyone else I am a little bored of the rumours and hope they put an end to this either way next month.

So basically the exact same thing that Sony is doing. Sounds about right, both Sony and MS want to do it but they don't want to risk it if the other doesn't do it.

Look people. If you think about it, won't be happening. Games needs to have it's story to tell what the game about. PC games are an example of not require online, most of them are not unless you vs someone over the other side.
Console are treated the same as PC apart from modding and some of other stuff. They may use the net to update in the background process, so when your friends comes over, you do not require to wait for 45 min (depends on the net speed of yours). So I think is a good thing!

So nothing has changed apart from updating in the background.

The long term goals are simple. You will eventually be connected (and monitored) anytime you play a console game. DRM is one thing, the data collected for everything else is what is more concerning (long term). It might be introduced more slowly for now, but make no mistake, it's going to happen...unless half the market suddenly decides they don't like it enough to stop buying ...and we know that won't happen.

Ahh, pretty slick. That way they won't get tons of of negative press to start with. But gradually over time, more and more games can ease in the Internet connection requirement until it becomes the norm. Then when the Xbox 1080 is released, it can have the Internet connection requirement and no one will care because they are used to it already.

I may be wrong, but I always assumed the 'always on shock-horror' was actually a Durango restriction as in the actual pre-release devkits, to stop them turning up on Ebay....

The actual release gear may well be different,

However its not like the devs don't have a choice on the current gen - if they wanted to release a 360 game right now that did a check before it would launch they could, there is nothing preventing this

Its the same on PCs - SimCity requires it, other games don't....

Shouldn't this be based on whether you're playing single player or multiplayer? Requiring online for the single player portion really doesn't make much sense.

What confuses me is this part "If a game does need an Internet connection, it can also have the choice of ... a one time connection for authentication purposes." Either the game needs the internet or it doesn't... so why a one-time connection? This just furthers the idea that the next Xbox system will prevent you from bringing a game over to a friend's house, no lending/borrowing games, no trading games, no used games. This is just as stupid as requiring a 24/7 connection.

The game system authenticates the game every time it starts up, so why authenticate online? To stop piracy? Yeah, because proxy servers don't exist, and surely online authentication has never been defeated in any other game *cough*ubisoft*cough*. Pirates will never get around this! Completely worth all the frustration for legitimate users.

Edited by Geezy, Apr 26 2013, 9:43pm :

Whenever people criticize anti-piracy efforts it always sounds like they're saying nothing could ever stop piracy so nobody should ever do anything preventative at all and piracy should just be legalized.

I will always challenge critics of anti-piracy to, instead of whimpering about DRM, suggest an actual, feasible way businesses can make games and protect profits.

And none of this "make games cheaper" crap. Cost isn't a factor in a world where people happily declare they'll pirate software to "punish" or "send a message" to the studio for something they're arbitrarily offended by.

Joshie said,
Whenever people criticize anti-piracy efforts it always sounds like they're saying nothing could ever stop piracy so nobody should ever do anything preventative at all and piracy should just be legalized.

I will always challenge critics of anti-piracy to, instead of whimpering about DRM, suggest an actual, feasible way businesses can make games and protect profits.

And none of this "make games cheaper" crap. Cost isn't a factor in a world where people happily declare they'll pirate software to "punish" or "send a message" to the studio for something they're arbitrarily offended by.


Agreed. Not to mention how piracy impacts the cost for those of us that do pay for what we get...

Joshie said,
Whenever people criticize anti-piracy efforts it always sounds like they're saying nothing could ever stop piracy so nobody should ever do anything preventative at all and piracy should just be legalized.

I will always challenge critics of anti-piracy to, instead of whimpering about DRM, suggest an actual, feasible way businesses can make games and protect profits.

And none of this "make games cheaper" crap. Cost isn't a factor in a world where people happily declare they'll pirate software to "punish" or "send a message" to the studio for something they're arbitrarily offended by.

Well, to be fair, I believe software/games is cheaper in Russia simply because piracy is so rampant. Better to get something than nothing I suppose.

Still, exceptions aside, I think it can be done properly. Steam has proven to the world that DRM can be introduced in an acceptable model if anything. That isn't to say it's perfect, but ultimately, I think the level of convenience they provide steeply outweighs all the headaches piracy involves. It's less about DRM overall with Steam, and more about the services they provide. Even if they aren't the cheapest, how many people shop on Amazon looking for Steam copies of the games? I know I do. (Dark Souls for $15, woo!)

Though, I suppose it's much easier to regulate this stuff in disc-less media form. Not sure where I'm going with this to be honest, as I think I've lost track...

Excuse my ramblings~

Joshie said,

And none of this "make games cheaper" crap. Cost isn't a factor in a world where people happily declare they'll pirate software to "punish" or "send a message" to the studio for something they're arbitrarily offended by.

Actually it is still the deciding factor, along with ease of delivery. I still buy physical copies of most games because Steam's prices are higher. I won't buy any games from domestic brick and mortar stores because the prices are 30-50% higher. So I resort to ordering games online from abroad (I live in Finland) so that I can get them at a reasonable 30-40 euros. I'd rather buy from Steam if they could offer those prices as the physical copies just clutter my shelves.

I don't mind transparent DRM. I don't mind at all that many games installed from physical discs require you to authenticate via Steam nowadays as that still means that I don't have to cram a disc into my PC's DVD drive (a noisy ******) just so I can play a game. But when DRM causes extra inconvenience like requiring an always-on 'net connection people will start looking for cracks to games etc.

I'd rather see developers offer multiple models. No online requirements (excluding updates) for single player. Allow people to use the same disc to install a multiplayer/coop single player game on several machines and then pay a small extra, one time only, transferable volume license to support LAN gaming only, again with no constant internet connection requirement.

I'm pretty apathetic to this issue because I've been living comfortably with always on Internet for years now. Sorry to folks who don't have access to that luxury yet, because if these rumors about next gen are true then it will be a royal kick in the pants to them. I feel apathetic about the issue (somewhat bad) because I probably will buy one of the next gen consoles regardless of this issue. I'm sure that there are a lot of other folks just like me who are really just enablers to publishers pushing the limits. You know, Diablo 3 owners.

Developers have the same choice on PC as well. Unfortunatly many will use it and I dont trust my connection (its fast but I get IP conflicts often enough). So I just wouldnt be able to risk it. What if an offline game that I enjoy like The Elder Scrolls forces me to be online all the time?

If PS4 doesnt have this then it will be very appealing as it would be the only true nextgen platform that doesnt force it. But if this is true then no doubt these developers have talked behind the scenes and PS4 will have something similar.

If its a serverside game (MMO style) then really, a connection is the only option. But for playing Batman Lego, uh, no. I think most companies will have common sense. I hope. Glass half full kinda person here, lol.

I've already thrown out the "common sense" card and replaced it with a "common cents" one instead for most of the big-name players. They are gambling away their business thinking they can prevent piracy by requiring an online state for the games they sell.

torrentthief said,
If give the choice EA WILL use on-demand

Just stop buying their games then. That's what I did with Blizzard, and pretty much Activision on a whole come to think of it.

They give developers the option to region lock their games on the 360 so I wouldn't be surprised if this is true for the next Xbox and developers once again have the choice to use whatever they want.

necrosis said,
And if they have the choice I have a good feeling they will use it.

Maybe, but it also depends on the game. PC games like WOW or Guild Wars always require a connection but other games don't. If they take that approach, wont be a big deal.

necrosis said,
And if they have the choice I have a good feeling they will use it.

What makes you say that? Developers/publishers have had the opportunity to do this on PC for years and very few choose to.

Why? The option already existed on the PS3 and Xbox 360. This is also one of the reasons why MMO's are not popular and not in vast supply on the Xbox 360 (note I'm not saying it's THE reason as there are many more factors).
Developers could already opt for a playability license model (used games block or full featured license purchase) as well, but it never got implemented by anyone. Project 10 Dollars was as far as it went this time.
Microsoft knows very well what all the pitfalls are and will discourage developers and publishers from such practices but in the end it is not their decision to make as the industry is becoming a harder and harder one to work in and it might go there eventually anyway.

Can't wait until May 21st when all these rumors will be put to rest. Good news and if true, really have no problem with it.

techbeck said,
Can't wait until May 21st when all these rumors will be put to rest. Good news and if true, really have no problem with it.

Do you really think microsoft are going to say "oh btw guys you will need an internet connection permanently" at their announcement? Yeah right. That is something they will keep quiet about, maybe they might admit it if they are asked this at the q&a or maybe they will dodge the question. My bet is the first time we know is when EA is just about to release a game for it and it says on amazon "this game requires an always-on connection".

The always on standby mode and always online connection is not used for DRM.
It was never meant to be used for that as a primary reason.
It's meant for pushing updates and other content to the Xbox when it isn't directly in use, so the device is always available at a moment's notice and you won't have to wait for updates.

Yay, so when Xbox Live goes down, you won't even be able to play single player to keep busy!

But hopefully by the way gamers reacted to the Final Fight Double Impact online requirement for PS3, online requirements for single player games won't happen, but I kinda doubt publishers will pass up a chance to be as restrictive as possible.

Thief000 said,
The always on standby mode and always online connection is not used for DRM.
It was never meant to be used for that as a primary reason.
It's meant for pushing updates and other content to the Xbox when it isn't directly in use, so the device is always available at a moment's notice and you won't have to wait for updates.

Yep, that's all it most likely is. Particularly considering that very little actually supports this rumor.

torrentthief said,

Do you really think microsoft are going to say "oh btw guys you will need an internet connection permanently" at their announcement? Yeah right. That is something they will keep quiet about, maybe they might admit it if they are asked this at the q&a or maybe they will dodge the question. My bet is the first time we know is when EA is just about to release a game for it and it says on amazon "this game requires an always-on connection".


Oh please. Microsoft has been nothing if not honest about features of their products... They're more transparent than most.

torrentthief said,

Do you really think microsoft are going to say "oh btw guys you will need an internet connection permanently" at their announcement?

Why woudlnt they. Its a hot topic when it comes to the new XBOX. And they were pretty forthcoming on certain things with Win8.

I can't wait until the announcement either. I'm getting annoyed seeing these people run around the forum dismissing one's arguments as nonsense, when they have nothing but rumors to back them up just the same.

It's a big circle of stupid...