Rumors of an always online requirement for Microsoft’s next console began to swirl up again as Kotaku’s sources reaffirms the software giant’s plans. Whether or not this will actually come to pass is up for debate but after SimCity, the instability of Xbox Live! in the past and the unreliability of certain ISPs, this looks to be a bad idea from a PR standpoint.
Consumers are not ready for such a requirement. It only takes a handful of disruptions to cause a frenzy of bad press. From personal experience, I’ve lost power more times than I’ve lost internet but even in 2013, that’s not the case for everyone.
I understand the notion of “games as a service” but people are not comfortable spending $300 on hardware and $60 on each piece software only to have it rendered useless with the absence of an internet connection. I cannot think of any other form of entertainment that does that.
Netflix requires the internet to deliver content but that’s a small flat rate for access to a huge library of content. There’s no initial investment other than the hardware device you’re streaming with. And chances are you did not purchase that hardware for the sole purpose of Netflix.
Microsoft can do whatever they wish but if they wish to curry favor with consumers, they will drop and debunk this “always online” requirement as soon as they announce the next Xbox.