With E3 nearly over it is time to reflect on the incredible reveals, decide the inevitable “winner” of E3, watch all those trailers and gameplay demos over and over again, decide everything you are anticipating most, and of course speculate on what is still to come. What is still to come is the release of two brand new next generation consoles. Consoles that will allow users to buy, sell, and play used games all while not requiring internet connection. Oh…I am sorry, I should clarify myself, one console revealed will allow the aforementioned things, that console would be Sony’s PS4 due out this Holiday season for the ripe price of $399. The other console that debuted was Microsoft’s Xbox One, a console that will put restrictions on buying and selling used games, and will require an always-on internet connection in order to play those games, also Xbox One requires you to check in with that internet connection every 24 hours. Xbox One: It’s your 400 dollar personal probation officer.
Okay, before I get too carried away, and before this turns into another “kick Microsoft while their down” article (there are quite enough of those for now) let’s have a civil discussion on why always-on internet connection is a bad thing. Many people might turn on their console every day. This will be the case when I get my hands on a next-gen system in November; however, this fades after a while, like when there is a dry spell in games coming out that interest you. But the most important reason you don’t spend your all your time on your console is because life gets in the way, and although Microsoft CEO’s like to think we have no life, we sit in our dark basements living off Mountain Dew and Doritos looking something like the World Of Warcraft guy on South Park, that is not the case. We have jobs so we can supply our gaming hobby, we go to school, we attend college classes, we have friends. For example, college just let out for summer break, therefore I am working to save up money so I can run-amok all over Las Vegas when I get back to school, (between attending my classes of course.) As a result of this my PS3 has not turned on in roughly two-weeks. If my Xbox One does not turn on and connect in two weeks, what happens? Will I not be able to play my games? Will Xbox self-destruct? Will Kinect murder me in my sleep? Will the world end? So many questions, so many rumors, so much speculation, no clarity.
The other issue with Always-On internet connection is lack of internet connection. Of course Microsoft has an answer to this. Microsoft’s Don Mattrick told Game Trailers: “We have a product for people who aren’t able to get some form of connectivity; It’s called Xbox 360.” Really? Is that so? So that means that Xbox 360 will have and be able to run everything that Xbox One can? No, you say? Well then that really isn’t much of a solution.
Of course internet connection shouldn’t be that big of a deal, right? You can afford a $400 console, you should be able to afford internet connection. Of course most everybody has internet connection, and of course most everybody lives in the city. But what about people living in rural areas like me. With school being out for the summer, and the fact I am not enrolled in the summer term that means I am stuck in rural Nevada, in a small town of 3,000 people roughly three hours from Las Vegas and four hours from Reno. Of course we have internet connection, but at an elevation of 6,200 feet with 60 mile-per-hour winds on a daily basis, it is not unusual for the internet (along with power in general) to go out occasionally. The high-speed internet also isn’t all that high-speed, to give you a clue, the first time I hooked my PS3 up to the internet was to download Red Dead Redemption’s Undead Nightmare DLC. The first night we attempted the download, the internet went down at least 3 times. The next day we got it to successfully start downloading at around 1 in the afternoon…the complete download did not finish until around 3 in the morning. (But the wait was well worth it.)
Point is, the internet is a luxury, a luxury everyone might not have. Consider the men serving the country. They may be in Iraq, Afghanistan, on a Navy ship in the middle of the ocean, or in a submarine at the bottom of the ocean. Many of these locations may not have the best internet connection, if they have internet connection at all. Microsoft is telling them they can’t get an hour of enjoyment out of their day simply because they cannot check in with Xbox One every 24 hours. Oh, but it’s totally okay, because they can just keep using their Xbox 360′s. They wouldn’t want to play new next-gen games, who would?
With all the backlash since the Xbox One reveal in May, websites declaring Sony the winner of E3 while also stating that Microsoft dug their own grave, and let’s not ignore a readers poll on GameInformer.com that has 78.1% of gamers saying they are getting a PS4 compared to the just 9.1% sticking with Xbox One, all we can hope is they will rethink some of these restrictions.
I have been with Sony from the beginning of my gaming career, starting with a Ps2 which eventually led to the choice of a PS3 over an Xbox 360 against popular demand. I do not regret my decision considering I have played some of the most incredible exclusives. However, I always wondered if I should have gotten an Xbox 360, after all it clearly won the last generation of consoles. This was Microsoft’s chance to get a brand new fanboy, this was their chance to shove in my face why everyone seemed to prefer them so much over Sony, this was their chance to show me why their exclusives are much better than Sony’s, this was their chance to win two consecutive generations of consoles…and they seem to have blown that chance. I will stick with Sony for now and patiently wait for my PS4 to arrive. It will take quite a lot of back peddling to get me to consider an Xbox One again.
How do you feel about always-on internet connection? Does this change your mind on what console you are getting? Do you feel Microsoft needs to rethink some of their decisions? Or do you already have Xbox One pre-ordered and are patiently waiting for Halo 5? Let us know in the comments.
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This article was first posted on June 14, 2013