Apr 24, 2013

Would you buy an "always online" game console?

Rumors suggest the next gen XBox will require that it be online at all times to play games. I'm still deciding which of the next gen consoles to get, but where I live it is not uncommon for my internet connection to drop for a few seconds (thanks AT&T). If this causes games to pause (or worse) during single-player gaming, I could easily see the cost of the console purchase being exceeded by the need to purchase new controllers and windows that said controllers gets thrown through. Maybe not really, but I could see this being extremely frustrating. I don't think I would be very good taking (former) Microsoft Studios creative director Adam Orth's advice to "#dealwithit".  Am I an outlier here, the one gamer with an internet connection that isn't perfectly reliable, or would Microsoft and other console manufacturers be shooting themselves in the foot by building "always online" hardware?


Just an FYI, recent news indicates that the next XBox will function when it is not online, at least according to this article, which makes sense unless Microsoft really wants to annoy a large number of potential customers. 

No, why would anybody want to have such a system? There may be times when it can't connect, so why should it not work? Besides, sometimes you need to disconnect and playing videogames should facilitate that for the people who prefer it.

So I wouldn't buy it.

I suppose I would, but I don't look at it as a positive. It adds too many failure points for my liking. I don't see the need for it, plus when everyone at my house is doing their own thing on my home network, it has a big impact (3-4 people streaming Netfix, watching YouTube, on Skype, etc. can use some bandwidth). It wouldn't be the sole determinant in my decision, but if the new XBox and PS4 are otherwise similar and only one of them requires a persistent internet connection even when playing single player games, that would certainly be a factor I would consider. I usually end up getting at least 2 of the 3 consoles in each generation anyway, but it would make me more likely to wait to see what impact it has on other users' experiences.

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