Xbox One doesn't require always-on connection, but mandatory installs tied to accounts

In an interview directly following Microsoft's presentation today, Don Mattrick confirmed that the newly announced Xbox One console won't require an always-on Internet connection.

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Update: Microsoft's Xbox Support has disputed the report that used games would require a fee to activate, and says in a system Q&A that it will allow users to resell and trade games. Apparently, Microsoft will have more information on how that will work at a later time.

Original story: In an interview directly following Microsoft's presentation today, Don Mattrick confirmed that the newly announced Xbox One console won't require an always-on Internet connection. However, mandatory game installations tied to Xbox Live accounts are said to serve as the system's DRM.

"You don't always have to be connected," Mattrick told Geoff Keighley on Spike TV. "But for a lot of things like multiplayer gaming, streaming content from the Internet, you're going to need an Internet connection. That's the world we live in." Asked if that means gamers can relax, Mattrick said, "Gamers can calm down, we've got you covered."

Complicating matters, though, is the way games will actually work. Wired reports that a response from Microsoft indicates that installations to the harddrive will be mandatory, and each disc could be tied to a unique Xbox Live account to keep players from just sharing their disc. If a disc was used on a second account, the owner would reportedly be given the option to pay a fee to install the disc, then enabling them to play it without a disc. But Microsoft hasn't detailed what would happen if the second person wanted to play off the disc, without installing, or even without being connected.

Meanwhile, developers are able to create games that put certain tasks on the cloud, through Microsoft's Azure service, but it's not required. That means an always-on required game could vary on a case-by-case basis.

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  • reply
    May 21, 2013 11:11 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Xbox One doesn't require always-on connection.

    In an interview directly following Microsoft's presentation today, Don Mattrick confirmed that the newly announced Xbox One console won't require an always-on Internet connection.

    • reply
      May 21, 2013 12:02 PM

      I often borrow games off friends and lend my games to friends, so this sounds pretty terrible.

      It will also kill game rental services and second hand sales, but that's not a problem for me personally.

      I usually buy all the consoles, but I've already skipped the Wii U and I'll be giving this a miss as well.

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      May 21, 2013 12:17 PM

      so basically they're trying to kill all used game sales. I think it's just another example of them thinking they're too big to be turned down by the market when they do dick moves... but we'll see. ;)

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        May 21, 2013 12:49 PM

        publishers have been clamoring for stuff like this. It may not be MS's idea.

      • reply
        May 21, 2013 1:38 PM

        Eliminating used games is not a dick move. It's the main thing getting in the way of sales, coupons etc. (why would you lower the price of a new game if gamestop can always undercut you by 5 buck?).

        I can't think of a single example in history where eliminating middle men hasn't been better for the customer.

      • reply
        May 21, 2013 3:21 PM

        They have seen used games as piracy for a while now. For every used game sold it is somebody playing their game that haven't payed them for it. This is a problem with the entire entertainment industry, if somebody plays their game or watched their movie and money isn't transferred their way then it is piracy.

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          May 21, 2013 6:42 PM

          I piracy the person didn't show a willingness to pay though. Just they were willing to get it for free and the time cost of getting it free. For used games it shows a willingness to pay. Often times $5 less than whatever retail is set to.

    • reply
      May 21, 2013 12:21 PM

      Didn't Sony patent something similar?

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        May 21, 2013 12:23 PM

        Ah they did, but just read it was not PS4 related.

    • reply
      May 21, 2013 12:24 PM

      This sounds like something that can be easily reversed if it bites them in the ass.

    • reply
      May 21, 2013 1:09 PM

      Hold on now... If I want to stream from the internet, I need an internet connection?! Damnit MS!

    • reply
      May 21, 2013 1:16 PM

      So if rental and used game sales die does that mean gamefly goes away? Of which they own shacknews....

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      May 21, 2013 1:21 PM

      It sounds like you need to be connected for a one-time activation of any new game to your account. So, without hooking up your box to the internet, if you run out and buy CoD, you wouldn't be able to play it.

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        May 21, 2013 3:11 PM

        Guess I'll have to sign up for home internet service. Complete waste of money imo :(

    • reply
      May 21, 2013 1:28 PM

      I'm confused about disc sharing. Are they going to be putting some unique identifier on each disc, or are we entering an era of CD-keys for console games?

    • reply
      May 21, 2013 1:32 PM

      why couldn't they jsut come out and say that months ago and end all the dumb speculation and bad press?

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        May 21, 2013 1:39 PM

        Because they hadn't announced the *existence* of the product yet?

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        May 21, 2013 1:43 PM

        because you set a precedent when confirming or denying a rumor before its been announced.

        what if they squash a rumor about always-on, but ignore every other rumor? stupid people would then assume that those other rumors are true because MS didn't respond to them.

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          May 21, 2013 3:48 PM

          ^^^ it's pretty basic PR, no one responds to rumors for this reason

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        May 21, 2013 1:45 PM

        Because they don't talk about rumors. It was all a rumor up until 10 AM PST today.

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        May 21, 2013 3:42 PM

        Because MS is historically bad at PR and they are just continuing the trend.

    • reply
      May 21, 2013 3:06 PM

      Note the difference of wording between Mattrick and Sony's Shuhei Yoshida:

      Mattrick: "You don't always have to be connected, but for a lot of things like multiplayer gaming, streaming content from the Internet, you're going to need an Internet connection. That's the world we live in."

      Yoshida: "Oh yes, yes, you can go offline totally. Social is big for us, but we understand there are some people who are anti-social! So if you don't want to connect to anyone else, you can do that."
      http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-02-21-the-big-interview-sonys-shuhei-yoshida-on-ps4

      I'll take "You don't have to connect if you don't want to," over "DEAL WITH IT!" anyday.

      • reply
        May 21, 2013 3:17 PM

        I have no idea what you're trying to say here.

      • reply
        May 21, 2013 3:21 PM

        those two statements say exactly the same thing about the actual functionality. One is just about the positive aspects of being connected, the other is acknowledging shut ins.

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          May 21, 2013 3:46 PM

          Also, we'll have to wait for clarification from Sony on whether the PS4 will be able to play offline games without ever connecting to the Internet, but as far as the XBox One goes, the answer is "No". It requires at least some Internet connectivity. Which will be fun in locations like Antarctica bases, army bases, and so on. Additionally, it'll be a pain in the ass for fighting game tournaments like Evo, which may now have to be networked just to have the consoles be able to start a game. Yay.

          And these use cases do exist: see this post from Sailor of Fortune: http://www.shacknews.com/chatty?id=30195579#item_30195579

          Some bases have Internet services for the personnel stationed there. It's not free nor fast. Sniper Hill was one ISP which the fastest download rate was 512 Kbps and it cost $90 a month. It was always slow when a lot of people were on and weather degraded connectivity.

          Some locations that are more remote did not offer personal ISP services to soldiers there. The only internet access for morale/welfare/recreation were provided by the military like NIPR or MWRNet which do not allow personal computers to connect to them. If someone tried it would result in lockdown and an investigation for breach of the network.

          Being able to doff your body armor and equipment after a patrol, convoy, or 14-16 hour shift to play some BLOPS 2 or whatever is a great way to decompress.

          • reply
            May 21, 2013 3:47 PM

            and none of those scenarios affect you and all of them are the case with Steam today

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              May 21, 2013 3:51 PM

              It affects me; my PS3 and 360 BayoForza machine are network-quarantiined. Only the PS3 has seen occasional anonymous connections to download specific targeted patches, after which point the ethernet cable is ripped out.

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                May 21, 2013 4:06 PM

                It doesn't affect you. Technically you are completely capable of living with a largely always online system, you choose not to. It's completely unlike people in remote locations who don't have the choice because of some philosophical opposition. It is no work at all for you to connect your 360/PS3/PC to the internet to download whatever you need and then go offline. Both of these new systems work completely fine for that scenario.

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                  May 21, 2013 4:08 PM

                  Okay, now tell that to the soldiers who won't be able to play Call of Duty: Ghosts on an XBox One because they're stationed at a base. At least someone's thinking of what it's like to play games in that connectivity scenario.

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                May 21, 2013 4:09 PM

                Do you actually use tor shit to connect to PSN?

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                  May 21, 2013 4:10 PM

                  Nope; still don't have a PSN account. The VIta has still been stuck in airplane mode since I got it, only running Persona 4 Golden, which is perfectly fine by me.

      • reply
        May 21, 2013 3:26 PM

        I think he's referencing the former xbox guy who said "DEAL WITH IT" http://www.destructoid.com/adam-orth-out-at-microsoft-after-deal-with-it-remarks-251310.phtml

    • reply
      May 21, 2013 3:07 PM

      Update - Microsoft's Xbox Support has disputed the report that used games would require a fee to activate, and says in a system Q&A that it will allow users to resell and trade games.

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        May 21, 2013 3:14 PM

        I gather they're not requiring it, but making it available. That'll be a very weird thing.

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        May 21, 2013 3:38 PM

        lol support is the lowest rung at a company and the worst people to ask.

    • reply
      May 21, 2013 3:12 PM

      But what if you want to bring a game disc to a friend's house and play there? You'll have to pay a fee—and not just some sort of activation fee, but the actual price of that game—in order to use a game's code on a friend's account. Think of it like a new game, Harrison says.

      http://kotaku.com/you-will-be-able-to-trade-xbox-one-games-online-micros-509140825

    • reply
      May 21, 2013 3:17 PM

      But what if you want to bring a game disc to a friend's house and play there? You'll have to pay a fee—and not just some sort of activation fee, but the actual price of that game—in order to use a game's code on a friend's account. Think of it like a new game, Harrison says.
      

      "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.

      "Let’s assume it’s a new game, so the answer is yes, it will be the same price," Harrison said.


      http://kotaku.com/you-will-be-able-to-trade-xbox-one-games-online-micros-509140825

      • reply
        May 21, 2013 3:18 PM

        Too slow formatting, I guess! :-)

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        May 21, 2013 3:46 PM

        hahaha! so it's just a way to charge retail to every box the disc touches for even 5 minutes? that is so fucked up for the kids. I mean I assume most of us on the shack don't really need to lend out games, but that's part of being a kid and gaming ffs.

    • reply
      May 21, 2013 3:20 PM

      Our overlords at Gamefly are probably kinda worried :(

      Gamefly, just tell us what corners to stand on and how much leg to show and let us, Shacknews, be your money makers.

    • reply
      May 21, 2013 3:56 PM

      Even if you can "unregister" your game and allow it to be rented/traded/resold/gifted the problem still lies in the process. The process entirely relies on the trust of the consumer to "unregister" their game before handing it off.

      Because of this, there is no way any legit business that rents or sells used games will be able to reliably handle Xbox One games. No matter what MS claims and tries to spin using PR speak, the logic is pretty apparent.

      Even if they manage to make "not for resale" versions of the disks for rental companies, which somehow can't be installed to the HD (ignoring the issue developers would face), they will still cripple the used games market. Their solution, which they will definitely try to hide from the consumer, is almost certainly a deal that will let resellers, like GameStop, "unlock" the game for a fee, allowing it to be resold without any issues.

      Overall Xbox One's ability to install games to the hard drive and be played without a disk is irrefutable evidence that MS is out to destroy this side of the market. That is of course unless they have absolutely no DRM and allow the disk to install on any Xbox One, any number of times. This would of course simply piss of the developers instead, and between the two we know which one MS would choose.

      The only way to solve this issue entirely is to completely backtrack on their "install on HD, don't require disk to play" feature. Yeah.....

    • reply
      May 21, 2013 3:56 PM

      Kotaku: If I’m playing a single player game, do I have to be online at least once per hour or something like that? Or can I go weeks and weeks?

      Harrison: I believe it’s 24 hours.

      Kotaku: I’d have to connect online once every day.

      Harrison: Correct.

      http://kotaku.com/xbox-one-does-require-internet-connection-cant-play-o-509164109

      Well.......

      • reply
        May 21, 2013 3:57 PM

        IM OUT!

      • reply
        May 21, 2013 4:00 PM

        How far does this shit go? Can it get any worse for MS at this point? They need to just stop answering questions until their PR figures out how to double speak better.

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          May 21, 2013 4:12 PM

          It's funny because their PR plan was already stacked for them to answer as little as possible, and it's created this splat among the enthusiasts. We'll see how many more questions they'll dare to answer, but I anticipate radio silence until a post-E3 private press event where they detail more features after they've solidified them.

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        May 21, 2013 4:02 PM

        Even with the disc in the drive?

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          May 21, 2013 4:09 PM

          That might be possible, but it would still need an internet connection when you start playing the game, and probably one when you stop playing it. Since the server can't determine when you stop playing it without pinging the client every once and awhile, every 24 hours seems like it would still happen.

          I have little doubt that you would never be able to start a game without an internet connection present, or at least a game that wasn't "verified" within 24 hours of starting it.

          • reply
            May 21, 2013 4:11 PM

            If this is true, this is pretty much the 'always online' requirement everyone feared. They just opened the authentication window to 24 hours rather than the rumored 3 minutes.

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              May 21, 2013 4:15 PM

              They really just opened up a can of worms by allowing you install the game and play it without the disk in the drive. This is because without online checking before playing a game, there is no way to tell if you just sold the disk off and are continuing to play it. Or from the other side, someone gets said disk, and tries to play it without internet, and with the disk in the drive, how would they verify that the disk wasn't "deactivated."

              The only non-online way that this could work is some form of RFID on the disk that written to once the disk is tied to the console. This is the patent that Sony has, and I doubt MS is using it anyway due to the cost of having such a system.

      • reply
        May 21, 2013 4:03 PM

        But it's ok because the Cloud will give you lots of gigahertz.

      • reply
        May 21, 2013 4:10 PM

        oh the horror

        • reply
          May 21, 2013 4:15 PM

          You ever use rural Internet?

          • reply
            May 21, 2013 4:17 PM

            yes, but not for a few years. I still dont see the problem with getting a connection for a minute at some point every 24 hours.

            • reply
              May 21, 2013 4:21 PM

              Yes, but I guarantee you that there will be people who don't hear any of this and don't have or can't have an internet connection. It is one thing for an online only distribution service to require the internet (like Steam), it is a really bold step for console which is still going to have physical game distribution to require it.

              Anyone who tries to say this isn't a big deal is a fool. For most people it is probably fine, and I agree that there is certainly going to be some inflation regarding the severity of the issue (hey it's the internet), but it is most definitely a big deal.

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                May 21, 2013 4:27 PM

                Steam isn't an online only distribution service. I buy my games at the store and now I have to activate them online with Steam and then use their service to play my singleplayer game.

                I would be curious to know the intersection of console owners with tablet owners.

        • reply
          May 21, 2013 4:39 PM

          Sometimes shit happens. I would have missed a month of Mass Effect's first launch because there wasn't an available service where I was living at the time. Another spot I moved required two weeks to setup internet, which meant I couldn't play Bioshock when it was first released (I actually never went back to play it).

          While the majority of the time I do have a connection, sometimes it isn't always possible to have one.

      • reply
        May 21, 2013 4:12 PM

        okay here's the deal: if you can't or won't go online with your console this is not your console. don't buy it. buy something else. this is a system designed for connectivity, sharing, and cloud.

        • reply
          May 21, 2013 4:20 PM

          It's really not an issue with can't or won't for many people. It's simply a fact that this is a hostile consumer 'feature' that offers nothing but possible headaches for users.

          It would be nice if people simply did not buy it and told them to fuck off with this. But I doubt it will happen and it's eventually just going to lead to home gaming becoming something akin to how user hostile Blu-Ray movies currently are having to deal with firmware updates, unskippable warnings and adverts and a host of other bullshit just to watch a movie because ohno pirates.

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          May 21, 2013 4:23 PM

          Then they should only have only one software distribution method: the internet.

          Otherwise it's confusing and is most definitely worth talking about.

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            May 21, 2013 4:26 PM

            yeah that makes sense, because an authentication check is the same as requiring 50gb downloads to play games

        • reply
          May 21, 2013 4:31 PM

          [deleted]

        • reply
          May 22, 2013 2:58 AM

          The PS4 sounds quite similar!

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        May 21, 2013 4:43 PM

        meh, once a day is fine.

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        May 21, 2013 4:45 PM

        It sounds more and more like they're making everything up out of their butt still, and they might change it. I really hope that's the case.

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      May 21, 2013 5:16 PM

      A game (reg number) will only be usable on one machine at a time, would be the only way I see them implementing the use of 2nd hand games. And you would need to insert the disc to also confirm ownership i would imagine, otherwise you know, if ya sold a game but did a complete install... the buyer of your used game will be pretty pissed if ya still playing it when they try to do so. Or I guess once a disc is registered to another live account, the game is automatically disabled on previous account (or maybe require authorization from the original?) Hmmm.

      Anywho, be interesting to here the further info from MS about this.

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