New Leak Suggests Next Xbox Not "Always On" After All
As we get ever closer to the May 21st Next Xbox Event, where Microsoft's Next Gen hardware will apparently finally be shown off, the rumours are refusing to stop coming. As you will probably already know, there has been a great deal of controversy regarding the suggestion that the new machine will require an always-on Internet connection. There's been a lot of concern over this issue, with many people pointing to the Sim City Debacle as an example of how 'always-on' can go horribly wrong. Not everyone has the luxury of a reliable Internet connection. Does that mean that they should not be able to use the new machine at all? Thanks to their policy of not commenting on rumours and speculation, MS themselves have done nothing to quiet such concerns. In fact, certain (now-former) Microsoft employees only made it seem more likely. However if the latest leak to surface proves to be genuine such rumours may prove to have been exaggerated. And the source? Apparently none other than Microsoft themselves-via an internal email.
According to this message (which was apparently sent to all full-time staff working on the console) there will be certain functions that will not require an internet connection. These include watching Blu-rays, and most crucially, playing a single player game.
"Durango is designed to deliver the future of entertainment while engineered to be tolerant of today's Internet." It continues, "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."
The idea of "watching Live TV" without the internet connection seems a bit confusing, but apparently the new machine will be able to connect up with your cable box in some capacity.
Assuming the leak is genuine, this should go some way to calming the fears of a system that would become essentially useless when your internet goes down. Still, it doesen't clear everything up. For all we know, the persistent rumours of the new console blocking used games could still be true. It's also been suggested that the games will need to be installed fully to the internal hard-drive and will not play directly from the discs.
Fortunately, it's now only a matter of days until the unveiling, so (hopefully) everything will finally be cleared up, once and for all.