Dealt with it: Why Microsoft will surely now shun an 'always-online' future

MONDAY MUSE: The Xbox firm is too smart to ignore community calls

I still outright refuse to believe that Microsoft will enforce an "always-online' policy for the next Xbox.


That's not to say that the recent reports from Edge, Kotaku and Paul Thurrott are the work of shoddy journalism - all three clearly have inside contacts and, no doubt, have taken care before publishing their information.

But there still remains the fundamental problem that "always online" - or at least the interpretation we have of that ambiguous phrase - would be a catastrophic and fundamentally deal-breaking curse of any games console.

There's no hyperbole there. Stable and swift internet connections do not blanket the earth, and Microsoft would only be able to effectively sell its next gen system in select regions.

That isn't just a haymaker on the chins of Xbox sales team in Redmond; it'd also hurt Microsoft's relationships with publishers and developers who, understandably, want to sell to the biggest global install base possible.

Microsoft is simply too smart to let this happen. If there's one thing that defined the Xbox business of the past thirteen years, it is how dazzlingly fast this company learns best practices.

By the time the 360 arrived, Microsoft had already understood that going first is immeasurably crucial, that superior system specs are not fundamentally important, that online identities and communities would define a generation, and that ease of use for customers and developers is paramount.

If there's one thing that defines the Xbox business, it's how fast this company learns best practices

Microsoft was overtly cognisant of such conventions just five years into its business. That's incredibly quick considering it was still venturing into uncharted territories. In fact, it took Sony another eight years to show it had learned these lessons the hard way.

This is why I don't expect the next Xbox will feature "online only" restrictions. Execs at Redmond are too perceptive and shrewd; they know this would split its customer base in even the most net-connected regions.

Only this weekend, Xbox Live went down for about ten hours - a moment that gave everyone with an opinion and a Twitter account a chance to remind Microsoft that even the most internet-connected company in the world needs to go offline every now and then.

Sunny-side up

For those who don't live in the UK, allow me to explain: It's been bloody horrible weather for about five months. But it looks like it's finally coming to an end!

You know what this means; increased guilt for staying indoors playing video games on a bright and warm day. Seriously though, get some of that fresh air and vitamin D while you have a chance!

Oh, also, over the weekend CVG received separate confirmation that May 21 is the date for the next Xbox event. We'll dedicate the entirety of our resources to the event when it happens, as you can imagine.

In other matters, this week we'll also be providing a first look at two new games - which I believe we're not allowed to mention just now. You'll find out soon enough.