Microsoft exec sees nothing wrong with "always-connected" game consoles

Posted by Shane McGlaun

I've always believed many hardware engineers and game devs simply don't understand that a huge amount of people in the United States live in rural areas.

Simply put, Internet connections out in such areas are horrible. Meaning, they are unreliable, constantly down and incredibly slow.

Clearly, if you live in a big city with access to numerous Internet services that are blazing fast, downloading large files or having games and game hardware which require an "always-on" Internet connection may not be a big deal.

However in some parts of the States, demanding an always-on Internet connection likely means you're unable to play slightly more frequently than you'd like to admit.

This is one of the reasons why Microsoft has caught a lot of flak over rumors that the Xbox 720 will require an always-on Internet connection. Indeed, Microsoft Studios creative director Adam Orth recent got into a Twitter spat with a BioWare designer named Manveer Heir over the very same subject.

The e-argument went like this:

• Orth: Sorry, I don't get the drama around having an 'always on' console. Every device now is 'always on'. That's the world we live in. #dealwithit.
• Heir: Did you learn nothing from Diablo III or SimCity? You know some people's internet goes out right? Deal with it is a shitty reason.
• Orth: Electricity goes out, too.
• Heir: Gamers live in non urban areas too.
• Orth: Sometimes the electricity goes out, I will not purchase a vacuum cleaner
• Orth: The mobile reception in the area I live in is spotty and unreliable. I will not buy a mobile phone.

Reports indicate that both individuals involved in the modest argument later apologized and said that they are "good friend to joke around with one another." Now whether or not these two are good friend or not, the above-mentioned exchange highlights the growing rift in the game industry with always on DRM for games and persistent connections required for hardware in the future.

I think most people would prefer hardware and games that don't require an Internet connection to function. At some point, game developers and hardware manufacturers are going to have to trust the people who pay their bills enough to worry about the needs and wants of the customer over any potential for piracy. To be sure, piracy is often blamed for the always-on Internet requirement, a dubious excuse at best.