A series of reports claiming that the next-gen Xbox, codenamed Durango, would have an always-online requirement recently made waves around the gaming world, prompting many gamers to outrage and frustration driven by lessons seemingly unlearned from the launch fiascos of always-online AAA titles such as SimCity and Diablo III. It has certainly been an eventful week for Microsoft, to say the least—ranging from initial reports, to outspoken employees, to a firing, and now to a conflicting report. Let’s take a look back.
Kotaku first reported rumours of the next Xbox’s always-online requirement, citing two sources who claimed that the console requires an “active internet connection to be used,” that no apps or games can be started without an online connection, and that any active games or apps are suspended when an interrupted connection is discovered. Microsoft refused to confirm or deny the report when contacted by Kotaku. Microsoft creative director Adam Orth later added fuel to the fire via his Twitter account, openly mocking anti-online-DRM advocates and telling those expressing concern to #dealwithit. Microsoft acted quickly to distance themselves from Orth’s comments, issuing a statement apologizing for and disclaiming his Twitter posts. In fact, a recent report from Joystiq suggests that Microsoft went so far as to release Orth, though Microsoft has issued no comment on the matter. Microsoft’s lack of comment on the issue, coupled with Orth’s subsequent comments, would seem to lend some credence to the possibility of an always-online Xbox. In the wake of these rumors, Sony has taken this opportunity to confirm that the PlayStation 4 will not require an online connection to run or play games.
However, gamers should be careful not to jump the gun quite yet. As noted, there has been no official word from Microsoft on the issue at hand, and further, CVG now reports that the next Xbox will not require an always-online connection. This report is also unconfirmed as of yet, but even if true, it remains to be seen as to whether this has always been the case, or if this is an about-face by Microsoft due to gamer backlash.
Until more concrete information comes our way... what are your thoughts, dear reader? Would you buy an always-online console? Why or why not? Let us know below.
In other gaming news this week, thatgamecompany plans to change the industry—again, EA is named “Worst Company of the Year”—again, and ShackNews investigates the current whereabouts of a forgotten classic—No One Lives Forever.
- Eidos Montreal claims that the PC version of the next Thief game will not be merely a cash-grab, throwaway console port. Developer Stephane Roy states that “the PC version is very important” and that Eidos will be sure to fully optimize the game for PC.
- Warner Bros. has announced the development of the next Batman: Arkham game, entitled Origins. The game is slated for current-gen consoles and is scheduled for an October 25 release date.
- Former thatgamecompany employee, Asher Vollmer, recently stated that while the development studio’s next game is still years away, it will “change the industry” upon release. Of course, thatgamecompany is no stranger to altering the gaming landscape, as evidenced by their work on such visionary titles as Journey and Flower. We wait with bated breath.
- In what might be the most unsurprising news of 2013, Electronic Arts has been named “Worst Company of the Year” for the second year running. EA COO Peter Moore responded, stating “We can do better. We will do better.”
- allgamesbeta has posted 12 screenshots of Dark Souls 2. Prepare to die—again, and again, and again, and....
- So, um, remember that Halo movie that District 9 and Elysium director Neill Blomkamp was spearheading? He still wants to do it. Get on it, studios.
- Finally, ShackNews asks: whatever happened to No One Lives Forever? NOLF, an intellectual, charming, and flat-out fun spy caper/shooter, was one of the best games of the early 2000s, and we’ve made it a personal mission to pester the good folks over at Good Old Games on pretty much a weekly basis to check in on the availability of the game. Sadly, according to ShackNews, the status of the game’s IP rights is currently unknown, which likely remains the largest stumbling block in the game being re-issued. Old school PC gamers, keep your fingers crossed....