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Published on April 23rd, 2013 | by Joseph Saulnier

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Why The Next Xbox’s Always On Feature Is No Big Deal

By Joseph K. Saulnier

(Site is being restored and updated after a security hack, please excuse the mess)

Rumors are swirling about Microsoft’s next generation console, but none bigger and more controversial than the “always on” issue. Though, it is not a rumor at this point, as we all saw with Microsoft Studios Creative Director Adam Orth’s twitter post from last Thursday. In case you missed it, Orth sent out some tweets basically announcing that the next generation Xbox was going to have an “always on’ requirement, as in always online. This sent the internet in an uproar, citing people to tweet him and bash him, and (in Orth’s words) cause so much drama. But is he wrong in what he said?

Now, don’t get me wrong. The guy didn’t handle it in the best of ways. He could have done it with more grace, or not even started the whole thing at all. I have a feeling he knows this now as his tweets are now private. But really, why is “always on” so bad. I have to agree with Orth when he said (paraphrasing) that in this day and age pretty much every device is connected to the internet. It’s the world we live in now. We are heading towards the reality of Total Recall, Gamer and even Blade Runner. The Xbox is just taking one of the first steps in that direction.

People can argue and say that I am in an area that is connected location living in Seattle, that the smaller towns in the country have more issues. But in reality, this could be blown way out of proportion. In truth, internet access is more available than ever before with more and more expansion of the major distributors. And yes. It sometimes goes down. It does everywhere, even in big cities like Seattle. But hey, there are power outages every now and then too. But nobody’s is up in arms about a battery pack being available (connected or preinstalled) for the situations when the power is out.

I am not saying “deal with it” like Orth did. I am just saying that people may be overreacting without being a little reasonable. People cite issues like those seen with Diablo III and SimCity, but then they forget about all of the shining examples of where it works. World of Warcraft, Everquest, Star Wars: The Old Republic and any other MMO you can think of. Yes, they have server issues every now and then, and they only focus on one game, but they are massive games and can’t be overlooked.

Not to mention that this is Microsoft we’re talking about. While they have had hiccups over the years, there was also a lot of controversy when Xbox Live was introduced. But look at the success they have had in pioneering and perfecting the online social aspect of gaming in consoles. Everyone forgets this and has little faith in the company and their decision despite their success, and their willingness to atone when mistakes are made.

And here begin the attacks that it’s not Microsoft that people are upset with, that the worry is about troublesome internet connections. But let’s remember. All we have is the tweet of one man who didn’t even directly say that the next gen Xbox will have the “always on” feature. Microsoft has not confirmed anything. And to another point, how many times have we seem something “officially” announced that changed before launch date, which is still a long way off. I think we will just have to wait and see what is announced at E3 this year. I know the current rumor is something will be announced on May 21, but again… rumors


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