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New Console Always-Online Requirements and You

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the only-you-can-prevent-forest-fires-and-terrible-DRM dept.

DRM 435

An anonymous reader writes "The new Xbox is almost here and the details appear to strongly suggest 'always on' is the way forward. We all know that this is an artificial requirement and certainly there are plenty of people on all sides of the table. To paraphrase the user 'tuffy' who commented on this issue at Ars Technica recently; if you're trying to sell 'always online' as a feature of the future, there needs to be some benefit for me the customer. There is not one. Or, rather, there is no sign yet of any actual clearly compelling reason why any end user would support this limitation to their purchase. So, what's the best way to express this? Spend your money on an Ouya? Contact the Xbox team? These are all valid options but they also lack visibility. What we need is a way that could help actually quantify the levels of discontent in the gamer community. Maybe E3 attendees could turn their backs in protest like some did during Thatcher's funeral procession. Or gamers could sign some useless petition. What do Slashdotters think? Is the upcoming Steam box a reasonable plan? As a gamer, I'm of two minds about the whole thing. I really don't like it but I may roll over eventually and join the herd because I could get used to it. Then again part of me is rankled by this slow erosion of access to me and my data."

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435 comments

The only winning move.... (5, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#43565641)

The only winning move is not to play.

Re:The only winning move.... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43565665)

The only winning move is not to pay.

Re:The only winning move.... (0)

rmqkr (2908319) | about a year ago | (#43565717)

Microsoft has denied that Xbox 720 will be "always on". These articles are just spreading FUD.

Re:The only winning move.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43565747)

And knowing MS that means that the unit can be turned "off". You will have to be connected to the Live servers if you wan't to go "Live" (in other words, access gaming content) but in no way will an Internet connection be required for the unit to function (unless, as has been specified in the licence, you want to use the console for the gameplay(tm) feature).

Re:The only winning move.... (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#43565795)

There is no pressing need for MS to require "always on". What they will want for sure, though, is that you have to go online the first time you play the game to lock your game to your console, to kill the second hand market and circumvent first sales doctrine (i.e. you can sell it, but nobody's gonna buy it 'cause he can't use it).

Only when I hear that there is NO need to EVER go online with this console, we can start talking.

Re:The only winning move.... (4, Interesting)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | about a year ago | (#43565825)

Sony already do this. Many games now come with a code that you redeem from he Playstation Store. You get very basic features such as arcade mode or you can only play to certain levels unless you download the unlock file. Now you can buy an used game and purchase a new code, but you may as well purchase a new version as it may work out cheaper that way.

Re:The only winning move.... (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#43566099)

Thanks for your time, keep your console, no sale.

Re:The only winning move.... (4, Interesting)

trout007 (975317) | about a year ago | (#43566169)

It shows how bad at economic these companies are. It all depends on the total cost. The cost to play a game is what you pay minus what you can sell it for. If a game coss $70 new but you can sell it for $40 in a month the cost to you is $30. That is what you are willing to pay. If they kill the second hand market then the real cost will be $70. You will now sell a lot fewer games because if the higher price. If they kill the second hand market but drop the price to $30 they will sell about the same as before. Now the trick is to figure out which gives you the highest total revenue. I don't think DRM is going to help.

Re:The only winning move.... (1)

flimflammer (956759) | about a year ago | (#43565837)

Have they? Any article I've read thus far merely points out they won't comment on it.

Re:The only winning move.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43565891)

Or your comment is just spreading false PR?

If MS had indeed officially denied it, you'd do better if you'd add a link. All I remember is them disavowing that-always-on-twitter-dude without giving any official statement on the subject.

As it is, both sides are just guessing.

Re:The only winning move.... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#43565773)

That's actually the better way to phrase it, given the record of such "always on, requires internet to let you play" schemes where you pay for a game and then you can't play for at least 2 weeks.

Re:The only winning move.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43565669)

Ding ding ding. Winner. /Thread

Re:The only winning move.... (5, Insightful)

TrollstonButtersbean (2890693) | about a year ago | (#43565779)

The only problem is that, sadly, people aren't going to care. From DRM in games to privacy-exploitation in Facebook/Google/... people *will* buy and play these games.

Most people have an internet connection available and might complain, but they'll go along with it. And game makers will get their live-DRM.

It is going to happen and it won't be stopped. --- But this doesn't mean the end of the world, you personally don't have to go along with this and there will always be games on PCs, etc.

But consoles?

Yes .. their device, their rules ... and they have big marketing budgets.

might as well enjoy it?? (4, Insightful)

globaljustin (574257) | about a year ago | (#43566121)

People hate 'always on' DRM. No one likes it. Some hate it with a fiery passion.

It's 'people' like you who assume the following:

It is going to happen and it won't be stopped.

That gives M$ the notion that doing this would work. Seriously, only because people like you exist, the "if you're getting raped you might as well enjoy it" logic people...fsk you and your notions of consumer choice.

Platforms can die when the alienate their users and/or make bad business decisions, ex: Sega, Neo/Geo

Re:The only winning move.... (1)

marxzed (1075971) | about a year ago | (#43565805)

exactly, or as I'd put it, I'll vote with my wallet.

Despite living within 6 Klm of the CBD of my state's capital city my only available internet option is 3g/4g broadband, and I'm in a reception shadow for that, AND of course every house here is trying to use that one cell tower, I can only (and only just) play online stuff like turn based games that have low bandwidth and can handle a large degree of latency (WoW lagged bad enough for me to throw in my subscription when I moved here (and nothing of any value was lost) but 9 months TF2 & Tribes free has not been fun).

So I guess me and a hundred or more households in my suburb will be holding on to our old "playable off line" consoles and PC games for a while yet.

Re:The only winning move.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43565979)

One of several things I always check when looking at a new home is the available Internet options. You should have done the same.

Re:The only winning move.... (2)

DavidRawling (864446) | about a year ago | (#43566175)

Yeah yeah I know, feed the troll.

Even when you do - the available information is out of date or just plain wrong. For example - the day I made an offer on a place I knew the current resident had a stable ADSL2 connection, and that the RIM at the end of the street had spare ports. The day the contracts were exchanged there were no ports and a waiting list for Internet access.

Fact is the telcos have an active disincentive to invest in Australian broadband (with the NBN coming, or not, or maybe, or halfway, or God only knows what - frankly I suspect even (s)he has given up trying to work it out). My new place might get it within 3 years if the plan doesn't change. Or I might never get it. When I apply for a connection, I get to join a hidden waiting list with no ETA for service. Oh, and I WORK for the telco who would have to do something about the problem and I still can't get information.

Re:The only winning move.... (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | about a year ago | (#43566181)

You are not the target audience, don't worry about it.

Re:The only winning move.... (3, Insightful)

DThorne (21879) | about a year ago | (#43566013)

It's evolution - either it survives or it doesn't, users will cave or they won't. MS will bring back the start menu or they won't - this can be applied to pretty much everything. So yeah, vote with your wallet, that's *all* MS cares about, like any other corporation. If there's some seriously flawed security issues in the implementation, make it public so users enjoying the service can be informed. But a "hell no we won't go... ONLINE!" flashmob? Please. Let the natural order decide and if it grinds your gears all that much best to buy an apple orchard and keep the local kids out of it - better use of your time.
I use steam all the time, a PS3 less so, I get some value from being connected, but it's nice to know if I wanted to I have offline mode with steam. MS will likely give me less choice so I probably won't invest.

Re:The only winning move.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43566089)

The only winning move is not to play.

i cant wait to play battlefield 4 on the new xbox :)! it will be so nice!

rap beats for sale: http://www.insanebeatz.com

Re:The only winning move.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43566145)

The winning move is to support the indie game community. The real Indie one that doesn't bother with DRM and doesn't publish on a always-on DRM-fest like Ouya.

This is the 2nd article Ive read today (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43565645)

That still thinks the 720 will be "always on."

Microsoft have emphatically denied this is the case.

Re:This is the 2nd article Ive read today (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43565765)

I'm sure Microsoft said something like "We have no current plans to introduce such a requirement." That's not quite the same thing as "For the lifetime of the console we guarantee we will never introduce, or allow third parties to introduce, such a requirement."

Re:This is the 2nd article Ive read today (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43565843)

The damn things are nearly paperweights now without not only an internet connection, and a paid subscription that only allows you to play the online parts of the games you bought that were incomplete and contained only half-assed attempts at single player campaigns, planning only to charge you to download the rest of the content to the tune of what you paid for the game in the first place, while constantly nagging you to pay them an annual fee instead.

whew... best run-on venting ever...

Console gaming was the way to go. You just started a game and played. Now it's intolerable. But your alternative is to maintain a ridiculous and expensive beast of a PC where the video card alone costs more than a console.

Gaming kinda sucks. I hope devices like the Ouya end up being decent because we need a rescue.

Re:This is the 2nd article Ive read today (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43566163)

Gaming kinda sucks. I hope devices like the Ouya end up being decent because we need a rescue.

Ouya isn't any better, that's like saying you hate burning in a house fire, so you decide to jump into a bubbling volcano instead. Lame.

Always online isn't a feature, its Digital Restrictions Management gone insane.

Re:This is the 2nd article Ive read today (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43566087)

Microsoft have emphatically denied this is the case.

MS has denied that the guy who opened his mouth about this spoke on their behalf. You know, the guy who doesn't work for MS anymore?

MS needs to come out and say this won't be a requirement for their console, but they haven't. They've spun things via PR and plausibly deniable comments.

If they code the 'always on' functionality into their SDK then they are responsible for any game studio that uses it whether MS makes it a hard requirement or not. Enabling is not a guilt free action.

FFS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43565647)

Xi3 is NOT the SteamBox.

Steambox (2, Interesting)

redback (15527) | about a year ago | (#43565653)

Steam basically requires an internet connection. Offline mode exists, but you need to switch it over while you have a connection, so its useless if you go offline suddenly.

I have no reason to believe that the steambox will be any different.

Re:Steambox (5, Insightful)

damaki (997243) | about a year ago | (#43565701)

Err, no. This is not needed anymore. Test it: disable your connection, you can then switch to offline mode.

Re:Steambox (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43565771)

Err, no. Steam will "forget" you password after a day or two (in my case it was one day) and you will be left without being able to play untill you connect Steam to the Internet again so it can cache your password again. My internet was down for two months, I was able to play my thousands of dollars worh of games for a whole evening! :-)

(I thing the biggest probl;em with the "always on"/Steam schemes is that the game will only be usable by one person. I have tons and tons of games, when one of my kids come over and whant toplay one of my games I have to buy it again for them or not play myself (any game on Steam). At least Apples scheme allows you to install and use on five computers at one time (and is not always on).

Re:Steambox (3, Informative)

Anubis350 (772791) | about a year ago | (#43565821)

Last year I moved to my grandmother's place to house sit for a few months while she was away. She has no internet, I was entirely reliant on my phone. My workstation stayed at my home, accessible remotely as needed via laptop+LTE from my cell (or starbucks), but I did haul my gaming machine out with me. It had no internet access for quite a while and steam offline worked just fine...

Re:Steambox (4, Informative)

sourcerror (1718066) | about a year ago | (#43565903)

When did you have this problem? Last year around October there was a major Steam client update. Since then I can go offline without an internet connection too.

Re:Steambox (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43566011)

I have had Steam longer than that, and I have used offline mode extensively, across multiple reboots. I have never had it magically forget my password. In fact, once I enabled offline mode and forgot to turn it back on for a few months. I found the experience more positive than online mode really, since internet connections in New Zealand are largely pretty crap.

Re:Steambox (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#43566209)

Err, no. This is not needed anymore. Test it: disable your connection, you can then switch to offline mode.

Did they also fix the problem where Steam goes into online mode when it crashes, so that it has to connect the next time you launch it? That bug persisted for many years, and it is one of the big reasons I removed Steam from my computer.

Re:Steambox (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43565703)

Then always play offline unless playing multiplayer. And if the game forces you other wise through whatever mechanics, don't buy it.
Besides, what's the worst that will happen if you do get a disconnect ? It's a freaking game, not a NASA space shuttle. Just replay the last hour or two.

You can only find that out after purchase (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43565853)

And guess what: despite being a license and a contract controlling the license, you cannot get a refund for saying "no" after reading the fine print.

Or if they change the "contract", you're stuck with nothing or accepting, no other options.

Re:Steambox (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43565715)

Stop spreading lies. Steam will go into offline mode if you have no internet connection as long as your login credentials are saved.

Re:Steambox (1)

damnbunni (1215350) | about a year ago | (#43566003)

That's the theory. In practice, offline mode sucks ass and doesn't work reliably.

Failed on me yesterday, for instance.

Re:Steambox (1)

flimflammer (956759) | about a year ago | (#43565863)

This has not been true for a long, long time.

Re:Steambox (4, Insightful)

Goaway (82658) | about a year ago | (#43565887)

I also like how gamers will yell until they are blue in the face about second hand game sales and how important they are.

And then they will turn around and talk about how "Steam gets it right", conveniently forgetting it was the first place that forbid second-hand game sales.

Re:Steambox (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43565999)

Let me guess, the gamer that yells it is called "Anonymous Coward"? Disregard him, that guy's totally schizophrenic and usually can't hold a thought for longer than one comment, sometimes not even that long.

Seriously, did you ever think there might be different people in a forum, with different priorities and opinions?

Re:Steambox (1)

adunstan (1409073) | about a year ago | (#43565901)

It requires to be online for games that use DRM, but DRM on Steam is actually optional for the developers/publishers of each game. For games without DRM you can simply run the executable from the Steam directory.

Re:Steambox (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about a year ago | (#43566051)

This has only been true for games that are online to actually play. The others only require on-line to originally download or register the games, to get updates, and to save your games. They also allow you to connect and download the game to any device you log in with, on any OS that the game will play on, and to save your games in their cloud. So you actually get something in return for being online.

Interrupting a game to go offline is usually seamless, but not always, if the game is being saved and doing autosaves to the cloud. Again, you actually get something and something well identifiable for that online connection. It's been useful to me to be able to play the same game at home, and later on a work machine during a long break or on a trip.

Or you might just (4, Interesting)

trifish (826353) | about a year ago | (#43565659)

Use a PC for gaming and vote with your wallet (refuse to buy games that require internet connection).

Re:Or you might just (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43565675)

Until you realize that almost all of PC games are sold on Steam, which is always on-line incarnate (off-line mode never works).

Re:Or you might just (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43565729)

1) There are a hell of a lot of other places to buy PC games. Steam is not a monopoly.
2) The DRM in Steam is optional. There are plenty of games that just use the distribution system to deliver unencrypted game files. A lot of indie games do this.
3) I used to have the world's least reliable internet connection. Until it was repaired, a corroded cable left me able to get net connection for about five minutes at a time, maybe. I never once had a problem playing any Steam games during that period. I've never seen a problem with offline mode.

Which ones are optional??? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43565953)

Oh, that's right, they don't say, do they.

They don't say if it has third-party DRM either.

And to install you HAVE to connect to their service. Upates? Have to connect. And sometimes, though the game itself may be OK with being offline, the Steam client demands you log on to update IT. And since you have to (or at least normally do, and have no reason to know you shouldn't this time) run the steam client to start the game, it won't start because the steam client won't run.

Re:Or you might just (2)

bfandreas (603438) | about a year ago | (#43565751)

It's not only Steam. Basically any game may require a constant internet connection on PC. But at least it isn't baked into the only distribution channel available on the plattform...because there are a lot of them. GoG springs to mind.

Let's not forget that Blizzard ran afoul of a German consumer watchdog because they hadn't printed the always-on requirement prominently on the box of Diablo 3. If this is done consequently we are able to avoid inacceptable sales conditions and vote with our wallets.

If the new XBox has an always-on requirement let me be the millionth person to predict a PSN level of brouhaha in the near future. It seems stupid to integrate such a massive single point of failure into your product. If anything goes wrong with that it will be entirely your fault. Even an Act of God would be your fault since you designed the system in such a vulnerable way.
Who indeed is so stupid to include such a massive liability into their system?
In recent history Blizzard, Sony and EA have fallen into that trap. Repeating the same mistake over and over again is madness.

Re:Or you might just (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#43565807)

Huh? What games are you playing, I think none of the ones I own ever refused to run because no internet connection was available.

Re:Or you might just (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | about a year ago | (#43566007)

He's trolling and you bit. It's complete FUD that offline mode doesn't work.

Re:Or you might just (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43566027)

Not sure about him, but for me Civilization was the killer, after it refused to run a fucking single player game because my internet connection was down last year I have refused to buy another fucking thing from steam, even if that means missing some games I want I like to vote with my wallet and fucking steam isn't getting another cent.

Re:Or you might just (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#43566107)

So from "almost all games" we're now down to "one game"?

That was quick!

Fact is, there are games on Steam that require always-on. Never, though, have I seen this requirement being added by Valve, it's something the maker of the game require. Valve can hardly do anything against that...

Re:Or you might just (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year ago | (#43566185)

"refuse to buy games that require internet connection" So basically the options are No Games or pirating all your games?

20 minutes into the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43565671)

Oh you mean always online when it's on, not always on. Well, let's wait 20 minutes and check again.

Microsoft can do what they want. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43565681)

I will not be buying another xbox.

The game quality has gone down. The bullshit has gone up.

It's a bad deal. I'll pass.

Solution is easy (5, Insightful)

Skiron (735617) | about a year ago | (#43565683)

Just don't buy one.

Hyperbole (1)

Mike Mentalist (544984) | about a year ago | (#43565691)

The new Xbox is almost here and the details appear to strongly suggest 'always on' is the way forward.

There's too much hysteria about this. I've not seen anything that suggests 'always on' is 'your console won't work if it isn't connected all the time'.

Re:Hyperbole (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#43566201)

There's too much hysteria about this. I've not seen anything that suggests 'always on' is 'your console won't work if it isn't connected all the time'.

That's what "always on" means. It's not literal, because pretty much all devices are "always on" and merely sleeping now. It means your console needs to be on the internet to work. And this is very much the indication Microsoft has given with their public statements.

Or not get "720" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43565695)

A PC, PS3 and Wii was all I had.
The few exclusives 360 had weren't worth the hassle. Not to mention how much of a rip Live is.
Most are on the other consoles and PC.

It will likely be the same. Well, worse.

All hail hackers (5, Funny)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#43565711)

A hacker will provide a fix to remove that always online requirement. Problem solved.

Re:All hail hackers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43565789)

They can make part of the gameplay dependent on the connection (eg the computer AI). At that point, the hackers can't do anything.

Some game studios will choose not to employ such draconian DRM, but there will be plenty of studios/publishers that do.

Re:All hail hackers (1)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year ago | (#43565849)

That would just make it worse...
Release day of any AAA title would be a repeat of D3 and SimCity.

Re:All hail hackers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43565889)

I agree, the "feature" would almost certainly make games worse. That doesn't mean that games publishers won't do it anyway.

yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43566127)

Just like the 'hackers' jailbroke the 360, right? Oh that's right, they didn't.

So what are the exclusives... (1)

Torp (199297) | about a year ago | (#43565723)

That would make an xbox worth buying? I didn't notice one in the previous generation...

Whats the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43565725)

Whats the point of consoles again? Its not like any next gen console have any chance in hell of being more powerful than my PC. Why should I spend money on a separate box?

And who the hell wants to use a game pad to play an FPS?

Re:Whats the point? (1)

someone1234 (830754) | about a year ago | (#43565769)

Consoles are typically weaker. Except if the PC is old. Consoles are for people who can't afford 1-2 year old computers but want to play FPS games.

Re:Whats the point? (2)

Mike Mentalist (544984) | about a year ago | (#43565785)

Whats the point of consoles again? Its not like any next gen console have any chance in hell of being more powerful than my PC. Why should I spend money on a separate box?

The 'point' of a console is that it allows you to shove a small, simple device under your TV and play games.

And a controller is fine for FPS games. I can play Halo as easily as I can play BF3 on the PC with a mouse and keyboard.

Re:Whats the point? (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | about a year ago | (#43566199)

Don't worry about it, you're not the target audience. :)

HEY DUMFUX !! YOU ARE THE PRODUCT !! YOU !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43565759)

Welcome to the Brave New World !! You !! Stupid !! Fux !! Enjoy !! Playing !! Your !! Games !! I !! Will !! Be !! Watching !! YOU !!

Always online is here to stay (5, Insightful)

zugurudumba (1009301) | about a year ago | (#43565783)

Microsoft knows and abuses their user base. For example, all Xbox Live game servers are hosted by players. These players pay a yearly fee to MS, so that MS will grant them the privilege of hosting these servers and playing against other players. MS is basically getting free money.

Rednecks who don't know better; Call of Duty dudebros; 13 year olds with gullible soccer moms - these are all people don't give a shit about always online and represent the core audience of the Xbox brand. They'll buy the next console without asking questions and they'll create the critical mass MS and publishers need in order to push always online.

People who hope the PS4 will save us from always online are naive. Always online has always been the publishers' wet dream. They've been pushing for this for years. At the very least, MS and Sony will implement mechanisms so that any publisher will be able to impose the always online requirement for their games. And remember, MS and Sony are also publishers, and they're quite big publishers. Where do you expect people to go once all games released by Activision, EA, Sony, MS, Ubisoft and others will all require always online? How will you fight a cartel in its own walled garden?

Blizzard games, Steam games, even the dreaded SimCity sell tens of millions of copies each year, despite the various types of (partially) always online requirements. Always online is here to stay and there's nothing you can do, because of the massive amount of people who will gobble this up without thinking twice.

Re:Always online is here to stay (2)

edxwelch (600979) | about a year ago | (#43565841)

Re:Always online is here to stay (2)

zugurudumba (1009301) | about a year ago | (#43565913)

Sony said there won't be any hardware restriction for used games and always online. But they'll grant publishers free reign on always online in software. This way, it will look like the Sony had nothing to do with this. Then, because Sony is also a big publisher, they'll also require always online for their own games, citing the fact all other publishers are doing it. Welcome to an always online world.

Re:Always online is here to stay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43566117)

Yes, If you still want to play high-production-value console games, then go with the PS4 as it has no _intrinsic_ always online requirement.

Re: Always online is here to stay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43566067)

Indeed! I read yesterday that MS stated that the always on DRM will be left to publishers the implement or not.

Use the Windows XP solution (1)

gadget junkie (618542) | about a year ago | (#43565799)

Quite simple.
Do what countless users and corporations have done over the last decade: if the latest and greatest is not so much better than the existing system, do not buy it, and continue using the older system and games built for the older system.
All threats from microsoft, as in the win XP case, will come to nought. not even Ballmer, who has proved his, ah, "determination", will try to stem the flow when content designers will say: "the installed base of 360 is X million consoles, and they continue to buy both older classic games and the new ones we design. If we target only the new console with this newfangled game, we'll be lucky to sell a couple hundred thousand. No contest, babe, it's either this or Sony."

The reason why this will happen? (3, Insightful)

88NoSoup4U88 (721233) | about a year ago | (#43565809)

"As a gamer, I'm of two minds about the whole thing. I really don't like it but I may roll over eventually and join the herd because I could get used to it."

And that's your problem right there. Why is everybody expecting that sticking to your principles doesn't need something in return?

Don't assume consumers will care. (1)

gallondr00nk (868673) | about a year ago | (#43565815)

...there needs to be some benefit for me the customer.

Does there? Or will people just buy it anyway and in some cases complain about it after their purchase?

Always on is the content industry's wet dream, whereby the purchase model turns to a leasing model. This has huge ramifications.

The time people will really start caring is in ten years time when the activiation servers are switched off and they can't play their games anymore.

Re:Don't assume consumers will care. (4, Informative)

zephvark (1812804) | about a year ago | (#43565873)

The time people will really start caring is in ten years time when the activiation servers are switched off and they can't play their games anymore.

Optimist. Microsoft "PlaysForSure" lasted for all of four years.

Privacy concerns (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43565829)

I'm fairly sure the "always online" requirement on these things is a play to get better marketing data on consumers en masse. The thing that concerns me is: when you tie that desire, the always-online requirement that's gaining popularity, and the technology behind Kinect, what happens?

Am I just paranoid, or is this a rational concern? I'm sure as hell not letting anyone watch me in my goddamn living room.

Im not planning on buying one, but... (1)

Mistakill (965922) | about a year ago | (#43565835)

Unplug it from power outlet and the network? Lets see if its ALWAYS ON then? ;)

Amazing markets (1)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#43565865)

You know? With the android mobile gaming market showing signs of serious growth and market presence, how is it they think they can milk the addicted gaming market for more that so many can tolerate? They want their $50-60 every time the disk media changes hands? When fun little games exist on Android devices for a dollar?! Really?

I'm rather interested to see how badly the "big ticket" gaming market fails. Their greed will be the root cause.

Re:Amazing markets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43566111)

Right, because everyone's quite content with playing thousands variations of SameGame, Angry Birds and Temple Run.

There are some games with nice graphics/innovative mechanics/good plot/all of above for mobile, but 99.9% of that serious growth falls on those "fun little games for dollar" you play for five minutes on a toilet or in a metro. Not quite a bright future for gaming.

I don't get it...punishing users with no internet? (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about a year ago | (#43565917)

It's bizarre, OK I suppose MS have done their homework, but why force this on consumers?
Sure, I suppose nearly all of their target market has a connection, but even so, I can think of many use cases where that might not be available, including intentionally.
For example, when my children were young, I was happy for them to be playing with consoles not connected to the internet, since I could control exactly what games they could use, (nice mix of fun & eductaion, all safe).
Also, at home my internet connection goes down..a lot.
So, agree with the major sentiment here; fuck 'em, do not buy.
Build yourself a nice little PC instead.

Steam is the choice for you. (3, Insightful)

Jartan (219704) | about a year ago | (#43565931)

Steam only has DRM the publishers chose. You're free to support the ones who do things DRM free. Steam does not require a connection to play in any way shape or form.

These are the facts.

Re:Steam is the choice for you. (2, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#43566189)

Steam only has DRM the publishers chose. You're free to support the ones who do things DRM free. Steam does not require a connection to play in any way shape or form.

These are the facts.

Well, no, those are not the facts. Those should be the facts, but in reality the fact is that Steam often reverts to online mode, especially when it crashes, which it does a lot. There is no excuse whatsoever for this behavior. It wouldn't even happen if Valve were competent. Actually, that's a lie. Valve can clearly fix a bug that is this pathetic, if they try. It wouldn't even happen if Valve were not doing this deliberately to force logins.

The worst part about this (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43565947)

What I hate so much about "always online" is that EVENTUALLY these companies are going to shut down their servers and people who want to play these games in the future will be screwed. I really do hope hacking solutions come out of this, otherwise you're going to have an entire generation of games that literally cannot be played in the future. Imagine if movies did that and you could no longer watch The Shawshank Redemption because its profitability expired a long time ago and it cost money to keep the movie servers running.

If you think this won't happen, see how Microsoft has pulled the plug on multiplayer Halo 1 / 2 or Mercenaries 2. At least the single player component wasn't affected, but for future games, it will be. Over enough time, without proper cracks, these games will be IMPOSSIBLE to play.

I hate this mentality of forcing everyone online with no recourse for when the plug eventually gets pulled. It's intentionally destroying culture in the name of profit, which I find immoral.

The Art of Distraction (2)

mtb_ogre (698802) | about a year ago | (#43565983)

Microsoft is just using this whole always online thing to get everyone worked up so they are super focused on the fact that there is this onerous requirement. That way when they announce that it is not in fact going to be always on, the press will spend so much time focused on that they won't even notice that it's price is in the stratosphere unless you agree to a subscription regardless.

OUYA?! WTF are you even thinking?! (4, Insightful)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#43565985)

So, what's the best way to express this? Spend your money on an Ouya?

Are you fucking DAFT?! You have to connect the Ouya to the Internet AND give it your credit card information before you can even use it. It requires a mandatory firmware update out of the box. Then, EVERY game must be Free To Play in some capacity. As a game dev I want to like the OUYA, but it's shit. I can't even just put a full version of a game and demo version out and have you buy the game outright if you want -- Nope, instead I have to create an in-app-purchase and lock away features calling the locked neutered game a "demo", and then I have to check with the Ouya DRM servers before you start playing the full version of the game (better be connected to the Internet, always). Other games that are "free to play" and funded via in-app-purchased micro-transactions are roughly equivalent to "always online DRM", you doofus.

Ouya == Free To Play PITA == Always Online DRM. You want to escape this crap?! So do I. Game on your damn PCs. PLEASE!

Re:OUYA?! WTF are you even thinking?! (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#43566177)

I'm still buying an Ouya, but now I know not to buy a second controller for it. I'm just going to use it as a media center et cetera. Seems like overkill, but there is nothing else for $100 that is remotely as powerful that comes with a case and a warranty.

That is, unless someone can convince me that some other solution is worth buying. I'm not getting an Odroid-U2 with a four week warranty, though. That means they know it will fail.

Expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43565995)

Always on? Think about your electricity bill...

Its not a feature. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43566031)

You can have the beneficts of being online, like getting automatic updates for software, sharing videos, even be able to play multiplayer matches, withouth being forced to be always online.. you only need to be online for when data transfer occurs.

The people tryiing to push on the market always online will try to blur the line, and paint always online as a feature, but is the exact oposite, the reduction of features.

The new Wii U update yesterday... (2)

MindPrison (864299) | about a year ago | (#43566053)

...also "feature an always on", and they recommend that it's turned on so it can automatically update the system while turned "off".

I have however - paranoid as I am - blocked the camera on the console with black tape, there's hardly any games using that camera anyway. 

Perhaps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43566061)

You should get a life yourself idiot boy!

If MS want to shoot themselves in the foot again.. (2)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year ago | (#43566075)

... let them do it. They fucked up with Win8 , lets just get the popcorn and watch them fuck up xbox too.

People - an xbox is just a toy. If we were talking PC operating systems requiring always on then fine, that would be Bad News. But an Xbox? Meh, who cares. Its hardly a crucial purchase and hardcore gamers will use PCs anyway.

There *is* a benefit to the consumer (2)

Kijori (897770) | about a year ago | (#43566083)

There is a benefit to the consumer: playing video games on the new Xbox. The consumer doesn't pick, in isolation, whether they want always-on connectivity; they choose whether or not to buy the whole bundle of good and bad design decisions that make up the Xbox. There is presumably a group of people who will move from wanting an Xbox to not wanting one because of this feature, but my gut feeling is that they won't be that numerous, because I think that the games, not the technical requirements, are probably uppermost in peoples' minds when buying a console.

then nut up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43566113)

Spend your money on an Ouya? Contact the Xbox team? These are all valid options but they also lack visibility.

Make a social app for the smartphones that ties to a twitter hashtag or 2 which allows the user to state they are not buying X for Y reason.

Bonus - make sure a site/method exists for non-smart phone users to make the same hashtag submissions so tweets can be inflated.

sopcial shunning worked well enough at the old village level. Today smartcellphones can allow everyone who gives a damn about something to be part of a global viliage. Leverage that and make it easy to shun. You know you've hit the mark when Google bans your app.

Nintendo Wii U FTW (1)

WillAdams (45638) | about a year ago | (#43566151)

Still playing Pandora's Tower, The Last Dtory was great, Xenoblade Chronicles awesome, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword amazing, Red Steel 2 fabulous, Goldeneye: 007 riveting, The Conduit quite entertaining, Metroid PrimeTrilogy --- I need to go back and finish that...

By the time I'm done, there should be games I want for the Wii U --- hoping for a motion-controlled RPG.

I didn't buy last generation consoles (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about a year ago | (#43566153)

Xbox360 charges for its online component. I figure I already pay for my Internet so why should I have to pay more. I didn't buy an Xbox360 last generation because of this. Always on makes me want to play even less so it looks like I won't be buying this generation either.
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