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Xbox One: No Always-Online Requirement, But Needs To Phone Home 395

Posted by Soulskill
from the ways-in-which-microsoft-is-like-ET dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Xbox One was revealed earlier, and Kotaku was able to get some answers about the always-online rumors that plagued the console before its announcement. Microsoft VP Phil Harrison said Xbox One doesn't need a constant connection in order to play games, and you won't be dropped from single-player games if your connection cuts out. However, it does require check-ins with Microsoft servers. This echoes the Xbox One FAQ, which cryptically says, "No, it does not have to be always connected, but Xbox One does require a connection to the Internet." The number Harrison gave was once every 24 hours, but Microsoft's PR department was quick to say that was just one potential scenario, not a certainty. Microsoft also provided half-answers about how used games and game sharing would work. Players will be able to take a game to a friend's house and play it (using their profile, at least). Players will also have some mechanism to trade and sell used games, but it's not yet clear exactly how it would work. If one player uses a disc to install a game on their Xbox One, then gives the disc to a friend, the friend will be able to install it, but needs to pay full price to play it. That scenario, however, assumes both players want to own the game — the second one would essentially be a unique copy. Microsoft said they have a plan for trading used games, which would involve deactivating the game on the original owner's console, but they aren't willing to elaborate yet." Several publications have hands-on reports with the new hardware: Engadget, Ars Technica, Gizmodo.
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Xbox One: No Always-Online Requirement, But Needs To Phone Home

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  • by blarkon (1712194) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @08:18AM (#43792513)
    Xbox One includes and requires Kinect. This means that each Xbox One has an internet connected camera. In every living room, dorm room and bed room where someone places an Xbox One http://windowsitpro.com/blog/csi-effect-not-everyone-wants-kinect-camera-their-living-room [windowsitpro.com]
  • Explanation (Score:5, Funny)

    by puddingebola (2036796) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @08:21AM (#43792535) Journal
    The games do not require an always-on internet connection, provided that the user first supplies a blood sample and a retinal scan and wears a special microchip implanted in his/her skin. The special microchip must always be within contact of a wifi connection, and not doing so voids the warranty on your XBox. You are free to sell used games to your friends, but after doing so, you are required to provide their name and address to Microsoft so that they can hunt them down and kill them and destroy the existing copy of the game.
  • How about making a straight forward good old console. Why do we need to have all consoles internet active and DRM locked, what ever happened to the rocking systems like the NES ans SNSES?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      you can make more money by being evil and doing stuff like this?

    • The NES and SNES aren't so innocent since they still had the form of DRM known as region locking. The PAL/NTSC limitation is complete bullshit when the digital game ROM has no analog video signalling components.

      At least my old games still work on those old consoles. The future is pretty bleak as to the longevity of current games with activation servers going offline after they become an expense. Cracking teams are our only hope of preserving our gaming history.

      • by Murdoch5 (1563847)
        Fair enough, your right! Region locking was a pain in the ass but you never had to worry about your internet being down or buying a used game. Everything just worked, you might of had to blow in the cartage a few times but that was part of the magic of the system.
      • by havana9 (101033)

        The PAL/NTSC limitation is complete bullshit when the digital game ROM has no analog video signalling components.

        I'm not sure about NES, but PAL and NTSC Commodore 64 have different clock speeds and the vertcal blank is at different frequencies, so on some games the timing is wrong or some video tricks aren't working.

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TWiTfan (2887093) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @08:52AM (#43792793)

      What, you mean you don't want your console to put an annoying kludgy overlay on top of your cable box?!?!?!? Don't you want your living room filled with the magic of MS ads?!?!?!?

      You people are so ungrateful. Here MS is kind enough to allow you to pay $50 a year for the privilege of paying Netflix $8 a month to watch movies, and THIS is how you repay them?! Ingrates!

    • by JDG1980 (2438906)

      How about making a straight forward good old console. Why do we need to have all consoles internet active and DRM locked, what ever happened to the rocking systems like the NES ans SNSES?

      If you ever saw that stupid blinking red light when trying to boot a game, you encountered a DRM-related problem on your NES.

      Whenever the NES boots, its internal CIC (authentication) chip tries to do a handshake with the matching CIC chip in the cartridge. If it fails, then it goes into an endless reboot cycle (that blink

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @08:25AM (#43792563)

    http://i.imgur.com/inXnRfO.png

  • In other news (Score:3, Informative)

    by quantumphaze (1245466) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @08:25AM (#43792571)

    Sony's stock jumps 9% [nowgamer.com] during Xbox One announcement.

  • by tepples (727027) <tepples@gmaiBLUEl.com minus berry> on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @08:26AM (#43792583) Homepage Journal
    Steam has been reported to work offline for weeks at a time. If the Xbox One really can't stay in offline mode for more than 24 hours, it just makes the Steam Box that much more likely to succeed.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by The MAZZTer (911996)

      Steam still needs to be online to activate new purchases, even if you buy them in a brick and mortar store AFAIK.

      Of course there's nothing saying Valve can't change this if they want to make Steambox more attractive to the internet-less.

      • by SirGarlon (845873)

        Of course there's nothing saying Valve can't change this if they want to make Steambox more attractive to the internet-less.

        Nothing, that is, except their business model.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Steam still needs to be online to activate new purchases, even if you buy them in a brick and mortar store AFAIK.

        Of course there's nothing saying Valve can't change this if they want to make Steambox more attractive to the internet-less.

        Valve can not change this without eliminating what DRM they have. As such, they will not change this. Look for all consoles of the future to go this direction.

    • Steam has been reported to work offline for weeks at a time. If the Xbox One really can't stay in offline mode for more than 24 hours, it just makes the Steam Box that much more likely to succeed.

      ...The XBox One also makes the XBox 360 look like open source.

      I'm pleased that I won't have to replace my 360 any time soon - there are too many uncertainties to jump in feet first into a new platform with new games and no backwards compatibility.

      • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @09:05AM (#43792907) Homepage Journal

        I'm pleased that I won't have to replace my 360 any time soon - there are too many uncertainties to jump in feet first into a new platform with new games and no backwards compatibility.

        That's what I thought about my Wii. But since the latest system update and Netflix update, I'm getting those hard lockups where the Wii makes a horrible air horn noise. (Thanks, Nintendo!) It's almost as if they snuck a classic Wii-killing function into the latest update. I opened up the Wii using a guide and made sure there was no dust in it, and there really wasn't. I hope the fan is just dying or something...

        I've had to repair my 360 as well, the optical drive went tits up so I replaced it, doing the logic board swap so that I didn't have to mess with key extraction. Just a small handful of solder points and I'm off and running. That is, after getting into the @#%@!!# case. Even the Wii was easier. The classic Xbox is like opening a Mac II by comparison.

        • by Agent0013 (828350)
          The WiiU also has lockups when using Netflix. I think their app has some room for improvement. But I did find the Wii to be a better Netflix experience. The touchpad is more clunky for scrolling through the show to a spot you are looking for than the wiimotes are. And it's battery dies much quicker, so you have to keep charging it.
    • by Hatta (162192)

      My Atari 2600 has worked offline for 30 years.

  • No Sale (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MitchDev (2526834) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @08:27AM (#43792589)

    So if you have to install games to your Xbox ZERO or "deactivate" them to sell them, why bother with a console at all, just get a PC...

    • I guess you realise Steam, Origin etc are the same, only with no option to sell at all?

  • If Microsoft want to make a home media device for use in people's main living rooms, that's fine. It's actually quite a good idea. But such a device cannot be principally viewed as a games console.

    I don't know about the rest of you, but aside from the occasional multiplayer split screen session, I play console games on a dedicated screen, either in a bedroom or computer room. I cannot play a game in a main living room, on a screen which in in demand by others for watching TV, films, or even browsing the internet. It's nice that this device can do so much, but flipping "channels" to whatever everyone else wants to watch is not conducive to the 4-6 hour gaming sessions I would like to have.

    Maybe they're going for the complete casual gaming market here, people who will flick over to Angry Birds or whatever. But even the most passé of run-of-the-mill gamers is going to spend an hour or so playing shooters online, and are not going to be inclined to flip over to daytime TV, or browse the web in the middle of their frag session. I just cannot see this working en masse.

    Some may call it anti-social, but to me playing video games is closer to reading a book than watching TV; it's principally an individual experience, and the living room is not the place to have it unless you are specifically playing co-op. I don't think Microsoft are serious about the Xbox One as a gaming console. It appears to be principally oriented around completely orthogonal capabilities.

    • Get a Wii U, then you can play on the main TV and allow others to watch TV without interrupting your session.
  • by Tridus (79566) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @08:29AM (#43792607) Homepage

    What's the real price going to be? You know, the one after you factor in whatever they're charging for Xbox Live this time around, in order to do what every other system on the planet lets you do for free. If they expect me to pay them for multiplayer gaming this time around, they're living in a fantasy land.

    This unveiling was so vague and missing information that it's truly impressive. It's like Microsoft knows their answers are going to piss people off, so they're just avoiding giving details at all.

    TBH the entire presentation was highly unimpressive. The people listening were core gamers, and Microsoft totally ignored them in favor of "hey look at Kinect moving the TV window around and bringing up a browser!"

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      If they expect me to pay them for multiplayer gaming this time around, they're living in a fantasy land.

      I feel the same way, but many people don't. And since games using Live will be able to use Azure to run servers, at least you're finally getting something for your money. In theory.

      This unveiling was so vague and missing information that it's truly impressive. It's like Microsoft knows their answers are going to piss people off, so they're just avoiding giving details at all.

      Which is why after the announcement, Sony stock is up and Microsoft stock is down slightly.

  • by TWiTfan (2887093) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @08:35AM (#43792649)

    Anyone remember that EA bullshit about SimCity needed to "offload" some of it's processing (which was proven false [kotaku.com.au] by a hacker later)? Well, one of the things they mentioned specifically at the announcement yesterday was that the Xbox One would feature this capability (they bragged as if it was a good thing). And with them highlighting EA as a partner, you can bet you'll see plenty of One games that require always-online connections, to connect to EA servers for "processing."

  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @08:47AM (#43792741)

    Why can't you just buy it, and own it, and use it how you like? Or... not buy the damn thing. It's supposed to be entertainment, not work, not some sort of interactive customer experience with Microsoft.

  • by sunking2 (521698) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @08:57AM (#43792841)
    I haven't read up on it but I would guess it is for the same reasoning. For Directv it was because if you weren't hooked up you couldn't use the PPV and some other pay as you go options. Being specific about why just ads confusion when dealing with millions of people, so they blanket it and say you need to be connected either by phone in the old days, or internet at all times whether you care about these things or not. Not ever doing PPV I've not cared and have technically broken their rules by not being connected to them for 15 years and it still does everything I want. My guess for the XBox is they want to be able to keep current on what their offerings from a TV aspect are. You may get annoying messages, but I doubt it'll be come unusuable as a whole if you don't connect. That would be a nightmare for them.
  • All they had to do was make the installation process work just like it does on the 360 where you have to put the DVD in on start up to prove you own a copy or have physical possession of one. They could have improved on that for convenience simply by making a feature to tie it to your profile and require the Internet for that. That way, the worst that could happen is two gamers share the same disk.

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @09:12AM (#43792997) Homepage

    So the system is built to work even if your Internet connection goes down, but you still have to be connected at least once a day to use it, according to Harrison. We're not sure exactly what would happen if you don't connect once per day - and that timeframe could change - but this doesn't sound good for anyone who was hoping to use Xbox One without an Internet connection.

    No, not happening. The last update I took on my current Xbox changed the screen the awful thing it is now, and introduced ads -- both in games and in the home screen. That's why my current Xbox isn't connected to the network and never will be again.

    I will connect it to the network when and if I choose, but if it requires the ability to call home once/day, it's simply not happening.

    Microsoft may have visions of this being my entertainment center of the future, but it won't be. And if it is going to require this ability to connect to the internet at will (and from the sounds of it when I even have it turned off due to this low power napping), then this is a non-starter for me.

    Microsoft needs to clarify some of this, because the chances of me replacing my current Xbox 360 with something which demands it be able to access the internet when it chooses is pretty much zero.

    I don't care about the TV integration, I don't care about the skype integration, I don't care about the web integration, I don't care about enhanced sports watching ... I care about one thing, single player games with no internet requirement. This isn't it.

    Now I'm more likely to buy another XBox360 as a spare so I can keep playing the games I have now, but I won't be buying this.

  • Microsoft (Score:4, Funny)

    by MemoryDragon (544441) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @09:17AM (#43793035)

    "Where should I screw our customers today?"

  • by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @09:22AM (#43793075)
    My guess is that Microsoft is Angry that other companies are making money off the Internet and that they plan on putting a stop to that. This box will probably do its damnedest to charge people to access Netflix, Hulu, and the like. I am also willing to bet that MS is looking at the catastrophic failure of the Wii U with relief as it won't be a competitor instead of the correct way which is in sheer terror that it foretells their own fate if they don't get this perfectly right.

    I am not looking forward to the new XBOX that much. My timeline for buying one will be around 2015 and getting a used one. There is a long list of games for my existing XBOX to keep me amused for quite some time. I am looking forward to whatever Valve comes up with and every now and then amuse myself with something on one of my mobile devices.

    And there lies the rub. MS probably thinks they are going to do battle with the PS4. I bet their charts don't really show how shattered the whole market is. Does MS realize that one of their competitors is Netflix? The gaming market is part of a larger market called entertainment. People have an entertainment budget and will spend it on different things of which console gaming is just one possible thing. This is something the movie and TV industries have learned the hard way when console gaming vastly reduced people's appetite/budget for network television and movies.

    So as MS realizes that people want to do other things with their money and Televisions I suspect that MS will pathetically try to position their console in between people and what they want in order to collect some rent. I love when companies pull this sort of stunt because I always enjoy the show when fantasy crashes into and is steamrolled by reality.
  • I seriously think the people running Microsoft have completely lost their mind. Every one of their core consumer software products -- other than MS Office -- has turned into a lame iOS clone. Exactly why do they they people buy a smartphone, a laptop, a desktop, a tablet or a gaming console? Do they seriously think people want the same capabilities everywhere? I understand the idea, and in theory is quite elegant. But it's just not reality. It's like a cafeteria that serves up salisbury steak, corn, f

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @09:29AM (#43793131) Homepage

    Microsoft is completely stupid by doing that. If I cant loan a friend the game, then I'll support all hackers from cracking their system and pirating the hell out of the games.

    Microsoft deserves to lose big time for this, as well as all game devs that support such a platform.

  • So we get a $500 voice activated remote for the tv. Cool.

    Don't really want one.

    On the other hand, for those gamers that detest the controller and only game on the PC... why on earth not install a keyboard option? Or are a few million more customers not worth it? I would think that even if the keyboard was proprietary they'd increase sales by a huge margin.

    The most annoying thing on the planet is typing on a console/smart phone/tablet keyboard.

  • by DrEldarion (114072) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @10:35AM (#43793851)

    In an interview with Kotaku, Phil Harrison, a MS VP, stated the following: [kotaku.com]

    "The bits that are on that disc, you can give it to your friend and they can install it on an Xbox One," he said. "They would then have to purchase the right to play that game through Xbox Live."

    "They would be paying the same price we paid, or less?" we asked.

    "Letâ(TM)s assume itâ(TM)s a new game, so the answer is yes, it will be the same price," Harrison said."

    Yes, that's right, you can't sell your used games because they'll end up costing the person you sell it to full price anyway. Want to lend a game to a friend? Sorry, full price. Want to bring it over to their house to play? Sorry, full price.

    Disgusting.

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