Despite not having a release date other than “later this year,” the new video game console is already stirring up controversy among gamers because it hasn’t been clear whether or not the console will require an Internet connection to work.
The Xbox One will supposedly need to connect to the Internet to verify that you aren’t trying to play pirated games.
Early reports about the console stated that it wouldn’t require “a constant Internet connection” nor block users from playing used games, based on statements from Xbox UK’s director of marketing. However, when journalists asked for clarification regarding what Microsoft meant by “constant,” Microsoft Games Studios General Manager Matt Booty noted that in the case of Internet connections going down, “there are likely to be some games modes that you’ll be able to continue to play.”
In response to fears that this meant that most games would require Internet connectivity, a serious problem for gamers with spotty or non-existent connections, the Xbox PR team put the following update on the Xbox One FAQ page:
No, it does not have to be always connected, but Xbox One does require a connection to the Internet. We’re designing Xbox One to be your all-in-one entertainment system that is connected to the cloud and always ready. We are also designing it so you can play games and watch Blu-ray movies and live TV if you lose your connection.
So the official response was that yes, the Xbox One will require an Internet connection, just not all the time. Thus the question in gamers heads became: how often? Video game news site Kotaku sought out an answer from Microsoft corporate vice president Phil Harrison, who said that the console would check in with Microsoft servers once a day.
But then Microsoft backpedaled on its response. It gave video game site Polygon a statement that said Harrison was only talking about “potential scenarios” with the Xbox One:
While Phil [Harrison] discussed many potential scenarios around games on Xbox One, today we have only confirmed that we designed Xbox One to enable our customers to trade in and resell games at retail.
Finally, in an interview with Business Insider, Xbox’s hardware boss Todd Holmdahl said users will only need to connect the Xbox One to the Internet to authenticate it, but you won’t be required to connect to play games.
Bottom line: it’s pretty clear that Microsoft hasn’t developed a consistent policy for how the Xbox One will connect online and how often it will need to do so in order to work.