UPDATE: Xbox One’s online policy has changed for the better! Check out the article below:
One of the biggest controversies surrounding the Xbox One is its online features. Microsoft has made an effort to clear up the facts regarding its next-gen console’s “always online” capabilities. We gathered up all the factual information concerning everything you need to know about the Xbox One’s connectivity features.
1. The Xbox One Requires A Periodic Internet Connection
In order for gamers to fully utilize their Xbox One console, the system has to be connected to the internet through a 24-hour periodic connection. This differs from the rival PS4 console, which doesn’t have to be online all day just so you can play your games. This connection must be re-established every day in order to access the consoles online features, as well as access the offline gaming option. Microsoft explained that “offline gaming is not possible after these prescribed times until you re-establish a connection,” which could present a problem for those who don’t have the strongest internet connection.
IGN’s description of the console’s feature can be read below:
The Xbox One does not require an Always Online Connection, but it does require a periodic internet connection. After connecting your console to the internet and logging in to your Xbox Live, you can play a game offline for up to 24 hours on your primary console, or one hour if you are logged on to a separate console. Offline gaming is not possible after these time limits until you re-establish a connection, but you can still watch live TV, Blu-ray and DVD movies offline.
The tech giant also explained that a gamer’s Xbox One account can be accessed on another Xbox One in order to access their digital libraries. However, an internet connection check will be required every hour in order to use this feature. The only offline features that work without a 24-hour internet connection is live TV and playing DVD/Blu-Ray movies.
Don Mattrick, president of the company’s Interactive Entertainment Business, conducted an interview with GameTrailers and spoke about the backlash from gamers about the Xbox One’s 24-hour online connection feature. His comment came under fire, due to him mentioning the internet capabilities of a nuclear sub:
When I read the blogs and thought about who was really the most impacted there was a person who said “Hey, I’m on a nuclear sub” and I don’t even know what it means to be on a nuclear sub but I’ve got to imagine that it’s not easy to get an internet connection.
A former Marine addressed Mattrick’s comments with Business Insider. He also gave his opinion on the future of gaming in the armed forces:
I predict a major shift to PlayStation Marine Corps-wide. Xbox is going to tank in the military. Among the current generation of video game consoles, Xbox 360 is the favorite, even at sea where there’s no Internet access. Xbox was the previous favorite. ‘Halo’ has always been an essential team LAN game aboard ship. It was almost a standard. Lots of people had it so easy to link Xboxes for 4 on 4. Xbox was king of social gaming aboard ship.
2. The Console’s Online Check-In Takes Kilobytes, Not Megabytes
During an interview with Game Informer, Microsoft Studios’ corporate vice president Phil Spencer tried to ease the fears towards the Xbox One’s 24-hour online check-in. He offered some information on the tech specifications for always being online, but he also offered a suggestion to those with no internet:
It’s kilobytes, not megabytes. You can also set your console to always have the latest bits in a standby state. If you have no ability to connect to the Internet, the Xbox One is not the console for you.
3. Microsoft Has Factored in the Cons of the Internet
Phil Spencer spoke to Destructoid and let gamers know that Microsoft has factored in the possibility of online downtime and connectivity issues:
The 360 ecosystem is a great ecosystem for somebody that’s in a purely disconnected state for long periods of time. We have built a natively connected device with Xbox One and we think the experiences are moving in that direction. If you look at the bandwidth requirements for this authentication it’s very small. So if you think about something that you’ve downloaded and you want to go play, the bandwidth requirements are not going to be an issue. We understand what the internet is. We’ve built fault tolerances in our system like we have with Live in our past. We’ll continue that. That’s why we built this window in. Because we understand that things happen. My internet might go down, I’m in a metered system and I want to make sure I’m monitoring my use of the internet — we’ve built to support those ecosystems completely.
4. Microsoft Has Defended Its New Online Strategy for the Xbox One
Don Mattrick defended the Xbox One’s always online feature in the same GameTrailers interview. He’s adamant that people will ultimately appreciate it:
It’s a service-based world, if you think about things and how they get better with an internet connection, [and] that’s a design choice that we made. I think people will appreciate it. It’s something that when people experience it it’s easier than having people like me describe it but it really is powerful. We did a lot of research and consumer testing and I think we made a good choice.I think people are going to love it and then they’re going to understand what we’re trying to create and how it links games and entertainment and the functionality of the box, some of the advantages that you get by having a box that’s designed to use in an online state. To me it’s a future proof choice and I think people could have arguably gone the other way if we didn’t do it.
5. “If You Can’t Get Online, “Don’t Buy An Xbox One”
One of Don Mattrick’s most controversial comments during his GameTrailers interview came off as sarcastic. If you don’t have a constant online connection, then Mattrick has a tip for you all:
Some of the advantages that you get, of having, a box that is designed to use an online state, so, that, uh, to me is the future-proof choice, and I think people, could’ve arguably gone the other way if we didn’t do it and fortunately we have a product for people who aren’t able to get some form of connectivity, it’s called Xbox 360.