Was Xbox 720's "Always On" Demand Confirmed on Twitter?

On Thursday in interesting conversation broke out on Twitter between two staff members from Microsoft Studios and BioWare after Kotaku reported that Xbox Infinity (720) will require an Internet connection to load games. An unnamed source told the site that if there isn't a connection, then apps and games cannot start. If the console is disconnected while an app or game is in use, they will be suspended after three minutes and the console will go into network troubleshooting mode.

The news shouldn't be surprising. Publishers like Electronic Arts and Gameloft require an Internet connection to verify the validity of an installed app on a tablet and smartphone even after the customer has downloaded all the necessary bulk files once the smaller, base app is installed. If you're on a plane flying across the nation without a Wi-Fi connection, these apps are useless.

Unfortunately, DRM rules the digital world in which we now live thanks to piracy. That's the stance Microsoft Studios creative director Adam Orth took after Kotaku's report went live and the tide of negative feedback began to wash through the industry.

"Sorry, I don't get the drama around having an 'always on' console," he tweeted, presumably talking about rumors of an Internet requirement for Xbox Infinity. "Every device now is 'always on'. That's the world we live in. #dealwithit."

This comment didn't seem to sit well with BioWare designer Manveer Heir who jumped on Twitter to retaliate. "Did you learn nothing from Diablo III or SimCity?" he said. "You know some people's internet goes out right? Deal with it is a shitty reason."

Orth then pointed out in several comments that, just like an Internet connection, the electricity can go out as well as a wireless carrier's signal. "Sometimes the electricity goes out. I will not purchase a vacuum cleaner. The mobile reception in the area I live in is spotty and unreliable. I will not buy a mobile phone."

Meanwhile, Heir continued his stance by acknowledging that while Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle are highly congested, highly connected areas, towns like Janesville, WI or Blacksburg, VA aren't quite as saturated with Internet coverage, making it hard for many potential customers to meet the Internet requirement. "Gamers live in non-urban areas too," he wrote.

He makes a good point. By imposing an "always on" requirement, Microsoft may be missing out on a large market of gamers who simply don't have that kind of access to the Internet. Unfortunately, Orth has seemingly verified the "always on" rumor, thus the new Xbox Infinity may be out of reach for many gamers this holiday season.

Later on, both apologized for their online banter on Twitter, saying that the back and forth comments are the norm for the two developers. "You should know we [Heir and Orth] are good friends who joke around with one another," Heir said. "Don't read too much into our back & forth... All those tweets you are seeing about the city being superior. That's him just trolling me. And I fell for it. Don't bust his balls on that."

Orth has now protected his Twitter account so that only confirmed followers can see what he writes. Meanwhile, The Workshop Entertainment Senior Designer Nikolai Mohilchock has taken to the Evil Avatar forums to hint a possible Internet requirement for Xbox Infinity.

"Given that legally I cannot confirm or deny if this information is true, nor can I comment on rumor or speculation, all I can say is be sure to pay your ISP bills," he said.

Thanks for that.

UPDATE: This article was modified to reflect that the opinions of Adam Orth and Manveer Heir have nothing to do with Microsoft Studios and BioWare. My sincere apologies that the previous version offended Orth, Heir, the two companies and their fans. - Kevin Parrish

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  • Hando567
    Well, that settles it, wont be buying the next xbox. Sorry Turn 10, looks like Forza Horizon is the last one I buy from you unless you port to the PC. The Forza series was the only reason I got the 360, and was going to be the only reason I got the Infinity, not anymore.

    Also, I sometimes would bring a console with me when I travel, usually without internet at my destination, so in these cases I guess you are just saying I am SOL, and need to deal with not being able to use the console which I paid good money for?

    Using Piracy as a scapegoat for this is getting kinda old as well, seeing as almost 100% of the time the pirates find a way around it, and the DRM measures only inconvenience the paying customers. It almost makes me want to pirate crap if I have to deal with DRM and limitations on the legitimate version, and I can get a copy that I can do whatever I want with pirating it. If I was truly able to move everything around, and convert formats, etc for all of my various devices on legal copies, I would be much more likely to spend the money.

    Much like with Windows 8 and Metro, I'll "dealwithit" by not purchasing the product, and they wonder why Windows 8 has not been selling very well. I predict much the same for the Infinity.
  • popatim
    Sorry MS but Bioware is right. I live in a heavy ISP coverage zone and yet my internet is only on when I need it. I don't want you tracking everything I do no matter how much you (and others like google) try and cram it down our throats and try to make it seem perfectly normal, nothing to be concerned about... screw that.

    At worst you should be allowed 8 hrs game-time w/o an internet connection. This should handle any issues while travelling or isp downtime.

    But still.. I won't be getting either of the new systems just because of that.
  • enewmen
    I agree with others. If you don't like always-on, then just don't buy it. No need for yelling, complaining, whining, or flaming.
  • razor512
    What happens if microsoft decides that they no longer want to do gaming and move on to something else, then decide that it is no longer profitable to run those DRM servers (well your consoles become a paperweight)

    What happens if they go out of business a few years from now ad you still want to play some retro xbox 720 games? well you cant because there will be no DRM server.

    Never buy a game that has single player elements but requires an always online connection for everything, or requires an online connection even for the initial activation.
    When you buy a game that requires any online activation, you are essentially renting the game since if the company goes out of business or gets rid of the DRM servers, then you will no longer be able to activate or play your games.

    imagine of games like red alert 2 required a always online connection DRM, none of them would work today (at least none of the non pirated copies). In fact, those games would not word if they required so much as an online activation because there would be no DRM server to do the activation.
  • slomo4sho
    Here is how I will #dealwithit; I will simply elect to not purchase the console.

    I do, however, look forward to supporting BioWare with my $
  • SirTrollsALot
    Ive been into PC gaming since the late 1980's. I like to game a lot of the time with 1st person shooters, but there are so many hacks!!! I got a XBOX Slim a few years ago to by pass the hacking bullshit, and the only other thing I needed was a keyboard mouse translator enter the XIM 360. I like the always on feature so forth for that point... Are consoles getting hacked more and more that I should not look into the next generation of consoles and stick with my PC games?
  • lpedraja2002
    Oh Microsoft, keep it up and you'll demise will be something that I can clearly imagine. If your solution if to force users to your decisions, like you did with Windows 8 then I wonder how much is enough until you run your game division to the ground.
  • 10hellfire01
    I still don't understand this ignorance with businessmen though. DRM doesn't work...I think the scene groups have proven that too many times. Why waste so many funds on something that is bound to flop, rather than putting it into good use to make a higher quality product that will entice even more people to buy it?

    Anyways, the PS4 could pull all this too (not taking sides here for either)--we just don't know anything 100% yet until we get it in our own hands. I am very eager to see how this all plays out come end of the year.

    Anyways, I find it funny Orth compared the internet with electricity--two different...elements/technologies. One of which struggles when faced with heavy congestion.
  • meluvcookies
    Dear MS,

    There is ZERO chance that I will purchase your new console if it requires "always on" for games.

    That's it.

  • RambosBodyguard
    Well if they confirm it later this month I'll just put that money into the new gaming PC I'm planning to build near the end of the year. The only reason I am thinking of buying it is because all my friends have a 360 and maybe for Halo. This is something I won't support, like others have said, if I buy something I don't want to be told when or how I can use it, once it's in my hands I own it.