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Rumor: Next Xbox to 'just work' offline

A purported internal e-mail from Microsoft says that some elements of the next Xbox, like playing a single player game, should "just work" regardless of your Internet connection.

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Rumors have been circulating for quite a while that the next Xbox will require an always-on Internet connection. Most recently, sources claimed that the system would only grant a 3-minute offline grace period. A purported internal memo now contradicts those reports, stating that the system will "just work" when it comes to certain offline functions that users expect.

Ars Technica reports that an internal e-mail was sent to all full-time employees working on the next Xbox. "Durango [the codename for the next Xbox] is designed to deliver the future of entertainment while engineered to be tolerant of today's Internet," it states. "There are a number of scenarios that our users expect to work without an Internet connection, and those should 'just work' regardless of their current connection status. Those include, but are not limited to: playing a Blu-ray disc, watching live TV, and yes playing a single player game."

If legitimate, the e-mail would mean that the next Xbox will allow some level of offline functionality, either by simply playing offline or by activating games online and then being able to play offline, a la Steam. The quote also seems to imply that the next Xbox will connect with cable for live TV viewing. Microsoft has been especially keen on positioning the Xbox as an entertainment brand lately.

This is a rumor for the time being, of course, and we don't expect Microsoft to confirm or deny anything until May 21.

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  • reply
    May 6, 2013 12:30 PM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Rumor: Next Xbox to 'just work' offline.

    A purported internal e-mail from Microsoft says that some elements of the next Xbox, like playing a single player game, should "just work" regardless of your Internet connection.

    • reply
      May 6, 2013 12:38 PM

      "rumors" are always put out by companies to gauge public reaction before they either confirm or dispel said "rumor." This new rumor is probably in response to the anger over the last 'rumor' of "always connected to play single player"

      • reply
        May 6, 2013 1:02 PM

        It's definitely newsworthy, especially given everything recently that's come out to the contrary. It's really about how it's reported. Shacknews does it right by identifying it as a rumor. I cannot tell you how much I hate the way the word "confirmed" is used in rumor reporting by so many sites these days.

        • reply
          May 6, 2013 1:08 PM

          in the world of tech blogs you get to do things like say "new rumor confirms next gen donkey tech in new system" is the same as what the last rumor claimed/made up

      • reply
        May 6, 2013 1:28 PM

        Yeah thats the ticket, Adam "Nobody" Orth's stupid joke was corporate gospel and this memo is just a response to the fury of the console's .00001% potential users? Hundreds of billions of dollars later and pretty much credit as THE pioneers of the computer industry, MS is still stumbling their way through this eh?

    • reply
      May 6, 2013 1:39 PM

      Not surprised. Microsoft is dumb sometimes, but they're not THAT dumb.

      Actually the most interesting thing I take out of this is the accidental confirmation that it plays Blu-rays.

      • reply
        May 6, 2013 1:43 PM

        I still dont believe this 'rumor' but I do believe they arent stupid

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          May 6, 2013 5:05 PM

          Though, across the entire industry, I have heard plenty of people who think that there are no problems at all with always-on requirements, despite the illustrations to the contrary by things like Ubisoft's myriad UPlay DRM failures, as well as SimCity 5's epic faceplant (which, arguably, probably did the most damage to always-on-DRM requirements on boxed games).

          I thought of it today, and it's not rocket science. If it's published on a disc, allow the offline portion to be played completely offline. If it's only digitally distributed, an always-on requirement will make far more sense in context.

    • reply
      May 6, 2013 1:44 PM

      Question is, once you've inserted your single player game and the code in the disc sleeve, can you ever loan that disc to a buddy or sell it on ebay?

      • reply
        May 6, 2013 1:50 PM

        If you were running a publisher, would you allow this? Purely as a business move, remove yourself from the entitled gamer perspective for one moment. I predict they will do some kind of 'update hardware charge' in case you 'give it to a buddy' or for resales

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          May 6, 2013 1:52 PM

          I fail to see how wanting to sell used games, like you can sell just about anything else you own, makes a person "entitled".

          • reply
            May 6, 2013 2:02 PM

            Because the ability to resell your game takes away potential sales from the publisher and also creates situations where people can pass the game along dozens of users who will never shell out a dime. Do I like it? No. Do I understand how a number cruncher can see dollars bills with wings flying away? Yes.

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              May 6, 2013 2:06 PM

              Console games are higher priced, one of the only reasons I ever took up console gaming was I was so impressed with this locked system where I can borrow a game and get the full experience, unlike PC gaming which is CD key bound.


              If they want to take that away, they need to match PC game prices. Drop at least 10$ a game.

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                May 6, 2013 2:09 PM

                Yeah like a few others said this is the last optical disc generation most likely so I sure hope publishers will pass along the savings to the users, as they will save all the way along the publishing trail, from disc creation to transport to retail. Not to mention this very issue we are discussing, why would you want to spend 60$ for a locked license of a game?

                Cant take it to your friends house for a quick game, cant replace your console? Maybe it will be user ID based but they have lots of issues to sort out for the future here, to keep people happy

            • reply
              May 6, 2013 2:23 PM

              Kinda like books. From the library.

              Wait

              • reply
                May 6, 2013 4:44 PM

                Except books aren't multi-million dollar endeavors by teams of people.

                • reply
                  May 6, 2013 6:47 PM

                  Book advances get up to that amount fairly regularly for big name authors

                • Ebu legacy 10 years
                  reply
                  May 6, 2013 8:03 PM

                  They can be.

                  Just like games don't have to be. Some amazing games that only required a couple of guys to make.

            • reply
              May 6, 2013 4:38 PM

              If they want to drive people to the competition in droves then this is the way to do it.

            • reply
              May 7, 2013 6:52 AM

              Should we also ban used car sales? Think of how many people and how many millions went into designing and building the Ford Fusion. Why, you are literally stealing from Ford if you buy a used Fusion.

              • reply
                May 7, 2013 1:33 PM

                While I have no love for the idea of banning or invalidating used game sales, that's not an equal comparison. Physical objects degrade through continued usage. Games (aside from disk damage) do not. If a game works now, it will probably work exactly the same way ten years from now. You can't say the same thing for cars, which tend to be less reliable and require more maintenance the older they get.

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          May 6, 2013 2:04 PM

          "Remove yourself from the entitled gamer perspective" lol

          • reply
            May 6, 2013 2:10 PM

            hehe yeah... I mean imagine the people making these decisions are not entitled gamers, odds are they are barely gamers as it is... Just business people with dollars signs in their eyes

      • reply
        May 6, 2013 1:54 PM

        You don't really own the game. You bought a license to play it that at the discretion of the publisher can be non transferable.

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        May 6, 2013 1:57 PM

        can you sell your kindle books ?

        • reply
          May 6, 2013 4:20 PM

          nope but you can lend them all you want, 14 days at a time

          • reply
            May 6, 2013 4:29 PM

            isn't it up to the publisher to allow lending?

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              May 6, 2013 4:40 PM

              yeah apparently, i was just being contrary. ive never actually done it but ive heard that its pretty widely allowed.

              • reply
                May 6, 2013 4:49 PM

                yeah my gf actually borrows Kindle books from the local library a decent amount but I've never done Kindle to Kindle loans

      • reply
        May 6, 2013 1:59 PM

        Welcome to PC gaming. Big reason I don't buy single player PC games at full price anymore.

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          May 6, 2013 2:10 PM

          PC gaming has regular specials, due to multiple sources of game keys. Physical in store, multiple online digital stores.

          When MS and Sony ONLY control the distribution of their games through their online store, you will NOT see discounted prices like steam, yet you will see all the negatives of digital only games (no refunds, no reselling, no renting the games, no loaning) - will we still pay the 10$ console gamer tax? Yes and on top of those prices which aren't being discounted anywhere near as often or as much as PC games.


          I predict a dark future for console gamers, especially like myself - not in the US of A.
          Region specific pricing to boot, 99$ AUD (105$ US) for god knows what, and no wayto buy it elsewhere, no incentive for publishers to make demos anymore and no sales.
          Awesome.

          • reply
            May 6, 2013 2:11 PM

            Thats fine, they will see their sales drop to shit levels and adapt. Or die.

            • reply
              May 6, 2013 2:17 PM

              Or blame it on piracy and pump out call of duty over and over again.

          • reply
            May 6, 2013 2:19 PM

            one thing we can all agree is that nobody important cares about region-specific pricing. should've thought of that before you decided to be born outside of the greatest country on earth

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            May 6, 2013 2:30 PM

            Geez abrasion. It costs a lot of money to make next generation assets. Also god knows what kind of regulatory hoops a publisher has to jump through to sell in Australia.

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              May 6, 2013 7:53 PM

              It does not cost more to sell software online in australia than it does in other countries. Not long ago our government asked major companies why they price gouge us, and they basically replied with "cuz we can".

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            May 6, 2013 4:45 PM

            This is why he doesn't buy a PC game at full price anymore.

            • reply
              May 6, 2013 6:36 PM

              It's why console gaming could go to shit.

      • reply
        May 6, 2013 2:01 PM

        would you sell a CAR???

      • reply
        May 6, 2013 2:01 PM

        can you sell your steam library, your itunes library, your amazon instant video library?

        we all know where the trend is heading. sellable console discs are on their way out. this may be the last generation they're viable.

      • reply
        May 6, 2013 2:05 PM

        in addition to the other replies, we already live in this world with online passes. If I sell you my copy of the latest Batman game you get less content than me unless you rebuy the Catwoman levels from the publisher. Likewise for multiplayer and more in other games.

    • reply
      May 6, 2013 1:56 PM

      Either way i'm less interested in the next Xbox ... i'd rather have a gaming console and an all in one box.

      At this point i'm really pulling for steam box.

    • reply
      May 6, 2013 6:14 PM

      Is it just me, or am I the only person jazzed by this news? Finally we have evidence that they're not all batshit crazy up at Microsoft, and not only that, they just confirmed that the system will indeed play Blu-Ray disc, which was long rumored but to my knowledge was never confirmed until now. Granted, I have a PS3, and I barely ever watch Blu-Ray discs on it, but I have a sizeable BD collection and I want to have that convenience in my console of choice. Seems like everyone just skipped over that detail and is more excited about the system's ability to play Live TV and suggestions that it will have an HDMI in...great news, but finally getting BD in the next console should be a big deal, if anything just so that we won't need as many discs to play large, sprawling games.

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