While Microsoft faces the heat from gamers over rumors of a possible "always on" requirement for the Xbox Infinity, Sony president of Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida stepped out and told Game Informer magazine that the option was never a consideration for the PlayStation 4 due to the differences in web services across the globe.
"Did we consider it? No, we didn’t consider it," said Yoshida. "The main reason being that many countries don’t have robust Internet connections. It makes sense for people to have Internet connections to play online games, but for offline games there are many countries that we saw [that] do not really have robust Internet."
He makes a good point, and one that we've undoubtedly made in the past. Having an "always on" Internet connection could kill business in markets where customers don't have unlimited access to the Internet. Sure, it's a great way to combat piracy, but it's also a great way to shun customers in rural areas, and those who are not allowed to access the Internet, period.
Up until recently, it was rumored that Microsoft's next console would require an Internet connection at all times. If a consumer was playing a single-player game or watching a movie when the Internet connection went out, the console supposedly went into troubleshooting mode. Without an Internet connection, software could not load.
But an internal Microsoft email cleared some of the air, revealing that many services will work without it, including single-player games.
"Durango is designed to deliver the future of entertainment while engineered to be tolerant of today's Internet," the email states. "There are a number of scenarios that our users expect to work without an Internet connection, and those should 'just work' regardless of their current connection status. Those include, but are not limited to playing a Blu-ray disc, watching live TV, and yes playing a single player game."
Was this always the case, or did Microsoft feel the heat from agitated gamers and make adjustments? If the console is going to serve as a set-top box, then it will remain online anyway whether it's in use or not. But at least it sounds as if gamers will be able to play their games if the connection goes down due to weather, maintenance reasons, or utility worker blunders.