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publicado originalmente en:MSXL
Editado por the smi1ey: 6/17/2013 10:20:48 PM

In Defense of the Xbone's Always Online Requirement

The more I read about the Xbox One, the more I'm starting to realize that, while Microsoft still has a long way to go to prove that they actually care about their customers, they have made a lot of decisions that, while seeming crazy right now, will push the industry forward in the future. This [url=]article on Kotaku[/url] has shed some much-needed light on several aspects of the Xbone, but the biggest takeaway for me relates to it's 24-hour online requirement and it's relation to the cloud. First and foremost, most of us who are complaining about the Xbone's 24-hour requirement need to simply stop. The vast majority of people in America and the Europe (arguably the most focused areas for Xbox sales) have a constant internet connection. Some people have faster and more reliable internet than others, but the availability is still there, even in rural areas where patchy satellite internet has to suffice. The irony of all the bitching is that everyone who is doing so is on an internet connection... one that is reliable enough for them to view the press conference or read various gaming blogs and then submit their own thoughts on the subject. Yes, there are people in the armed forces without internet, but even in that example, if you're in an area without internet, you're probably without it for a reason, and gaming is generally the last thing on your mind. (with the exception of dudes in submarines... yeah. sorry.) my brother was in Afghanistan for a couple years, and whenever he wasn't getting ambushed in small villages, he had internet back on base that he used for gaming. It wasn't great, but it was internet, in Afghanistan, while in the army. But what about those that truly have no access to the internet? Well, as Phil Spencer said, the Xbox One simply isn't for you. Many people were shocked by this, and took it as Microsoft giving certain gamers the finger. Oh how easily gamers are butthurt these days! I have a lot of respect for Microsoft coming out and saying it like it is. We've known for years that "always-online" products are the way of the future. Phil gave the example of someone who buys an iPad without the internet. Not only are they going to be unable to download new apps, but they won't be able to use basic functions like Siri or Facetime. Apple may not require an internet connection on their devices, but the devices are all but useless without one. Sure, you can connect the device once, load a bunch of apps, and then disconnect it from the internet, but many of the functions of those apps are still going to be greatly hindered without an active connection. So why wouldn't Apple require an online connection for their devices, but Microsoft is? Two words answer this: cloud processing. Apple doesn't have a cloud processing service available to their developers, Microsoft does. What this means, and what you can see from the interview I linked at the intro, is that a ton of developers are hopping on board to use the cloud to calculate AI scripts, render background visuals, and more. This means that, theoretically, Xbox One games will eventually look and play better than their PS4 counterparts as the cloud and internet fidelity improves. This includes multi-platform games that will be released on both the XB1 and PS4. You may be thinking "Yeah that sounds great, but why make it a requirement? Why not just add it as a feature that can/cannot be used?" Let's answer this with an example. Let's pretend that Microsoft doesn't have the always-online requirement, and that you live in a rural without any internet. You've enjoyed playing single-player Xbox 360 games for years now, and since the new Xbox One doesn't require internet, you're down! You spend your $500 plus extra for a few games, then bring it home only to find that two out of the three games you bought require the cloud to be played properly. That would suck, and would be a terrible customer experience. There's no doubt Microsoft wants it's users to have the best possible experience with their console and games played on it. "Sure, the PS4 can play this game offline, but the Xbox One can play this game with better graphics, better AI, etc while staying online!" they might say. Why wouldn't Microsoft want their users to use their product to it's fullest out of the box? It's similar to Apple's "closed" policy with their iOS software. Apple wants to control the customer experience, because they want to offer the best experience possible. Some people hate Apple's way of doing things. That's ok, because that doesn't make Apple's way of doing things wrong or bad. It means that those people simply shouldn't buy Apple's devices. I understand that I lot of these "cloud" ideas have yet to be seen in action, but based on how much Microsoft is pushing the whole "cloud processing" idea out there, and the amount of developers that have jumped on board in adding the tech to their games, I would bet that it's closer to reality than we think. I mean, everyone scoffed at OnLive when it came out, and that service worked surprisingly well. (It's current state wasn't due to the tech, but rather several bad investments and business decisions.) So if cloud processing is a good as it sounds, and Microsoft wants each user to have the best experience possible on their console, it makes perfect sense for them slap an internet requirement on the Xbox One. That way, if you're someone who doesn't have a reliable internet connection, you won't buy their product and ultimately be disappointed. It seems that Microsoft would rather have less customers who truly utilize and appreciate their services than a larger customer base that complains about features they can't use. By forcing online connectivity, Microsoft is taking a bold move towards the future of technology, and I tip my hat to them for it. You guys remember all the crap the iPhone received from the press about how it would never catch on? (Probably not, because lets face it, the tech crowd has the memory of a gold fish. :P) Apple was stepping out and creating a very expensive piece of tech that required the user to give up buttons for a touch screen. It absolutely blew up, with countless companies copying the design and tech to this day. Microsoft is now asking it's users to give up the freedom of disconnecting from the internet (something the majority of gamers already do) to enjoy an Xbox who's processing capability will continue to improve as the years progress. It's a risky step, but if executed properly, could revolutionize consoles the same way the iPhone revolutionized phones. [i]NOTE: I understand that the 24-hour online requirement is actually to check for account-linked games, download updates, and other house cleaning activities, but I feel like the always online requirement links more directly to cloud processing than anything else.[/i]

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