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Next Xbox: Always Online?

Ashley Crocker ’15 / Emertainment Monthly Staff

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Rumor about the highly anticipated next generation Xbox, codename Durango, and popularly known as Xbox 720 have been trickling out ever since Sony’s Playstation 4 announcement in late February. Though Microsoft has not made any formal presentation of the new system, leaks have been feeding game enthusiasts’ growing anticipation.

But not all the rumors are good. This past Thursday, gaming journalist website Kotaku reported that “the Next Xbox will require an internet connection to start games.” Although they are not the first to suspect this, they have added new information.

According to their sources, “if there isn’t a connection, no games or apps can be started” and “if the connection is interrupted then after a period of time—currently three minutes—the game/app is suspended and the network troubleshooter started.”If the rumors are true, Durango will be the first gaming console to ever require an online connection.

Microsoft has not confirmed these rumors, but speculation, as well as anger, increased when Microsoft Studios creative director Adam Orth tweeted “Every device now is ‘always on.’ That’s the world we live in. #dealwithit.” Microsoft has since apologized for Orth’s comments, but have not denied the claims and have been very quiet about Durango in general. So, now the gaming community is left to speculate about the possibility of an always-on Xbox.

The outcomes of an always-on Xbox do not look good. For gamers who have an unreliable Internet connection, buy games with unreliable Internet servers, or get banned for “whimsical reasons” – Durango could effectively ruin their gaming experience and users could lose their whole gaming libraries. Gaming writers speculate that Internet connection could “identify games themselves and block second-hand titles.” This might not bode well for Microsoft either. Steven Doyle of Games Dojo says that always-on Internet would “kill the Xbox” and “make Sony the ultimate winner of the console wars.” Microsoft might do well to learn from the disastrous releases of Blizzard’s Diablo III due to overwhelmed servers or Electronic Arts’ always-online SimCity. Always online has not had a successful past.

Until Microsoft officially announces project Durango, rumors such as this will continue to swirl around. Gaming enthusiasts predict this announcement will come at the next E3 convention in June. Until then, we can only guess as to what Microsoft has in store for the next generation Xbox. But don’t fret, one bad rumor isn’t enough to bring the Xbox down. So unless the negative impacts of an always online system are all true, the next Xbox still promises to be an incredible gaming system.

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