A couple of months ago I reported on rumors that the next Xbox will require an internet connection in order to function. The “always on” requirement for Xbox 720 was said to be part of Microsoft’s digital-rights management strategy for its next-gen console. That rumor drew the ire of a lot of gamers and analysts.
Well, fast forward to two days ago. As Joystiq reported, Adam Orth, creative director at Microsoft’s video game division, added fuel to the fire by posting this message on his Twitter account:
This would seemingly confirm the Xbox 720 internet-connectivity rumor.
PS4 will not require an internet connection in order to function.
Microsoft risks alienating loyal Xbox fans by having the always-on requirement. Some former Xbox players might even switch over to Sony. It’s a terrible sign for the next Xbox when Microsoft is losing the PR battle before it’s even announced the new system!
Sony must be loving this.
If Microsoft is hell-bent on forcing an always-on requirement down gamers’ throats, it must do a better job at explaining why it’s necessary. If Sony doesn’t think such a requirement is needed, why does Microsoft?
Here are some of Orth’s snarky defenses of the always-on requirement:
Orth is trying to be funny, but these sarcastic defenses don’t make any sense. The very essence of a phone requires a connection to a cellular network. Vacuum cleaners, as currently designed, will not work without electricity. If engineers could create phones that didn’t need cellular reception or vacuums that didn’t need electricity, they damn sure would.
Single-player games, on the other hand, do not logically require an internet connection. So the analogy to cell phones and vacuum cleaners is asinine. Just because Microsoft wants to force players to have internet connectivity to play its system doesn’t mean such a requirement is actually necesssary.
If Microsoft is truly concerned about the effect digital piracy is having on its bottom line, it needs to spell that out. But it shouldn’t insult gamers’ intelligence by throwing out boneheaded justifications for its draconian policy.
In the company’s defense, Orth seems to be somewhat of a rogue agent within Microsoft’s ranks. It’s highly doubtful his superiors sanctioned these remarks. And Microsoft has since apologized for Orth’s statements.
We’ll see if this forces Microsoft to reevaluate its DRM policy.