My Internet connection is fine, Microsoft. I’m worried about yours
The Xbox One needs to connect to Microsoft’s home servers every 24 hours for the console to function. If you go more than 24 hours without authenticating your games and system, everything effectively shuts down. You can watch TV, put in a Blu-ray disc or a DVD, but no games of any kind in that time. So the system doesn’t require an “always-on” connection, Luca Redwood dubbed it “often-on,” which I’m going to begin to use.
So this system will work for you if you have a slow Internet connection, since the digital handshake shouldn’t require a ton of data. It should also work if your Internet goes up and down, since you can just tell it to dial in when your Internet does work. My own Internet works fine 99 percent of the time, so I doubt I’ll have a problem with this requirement. In fact, I’m not worried about the often-on requirement on my end at all.
I’m worried about Microsoft.
Holding up their end of the bargain
I’m worried that there are going to be a few million consoles trying to dial into the home servers on Christmas morning, about the time when a mass of people begin to download new games through Microsoft’s servers. Remember, every game will be available digitally day and date of the retail version, so you’re going to see a spike in the number of people who buy their Xbox One games online.
I’m worried about what happens when that new Halo or Call of Duty is released and the system is stressed well above normal operating conditions. If their system falls, no matter how good our Internet connections, we won’t be able to play games.
If you think people are annoyed now, wait until some group attempts to hack the Xbox One server as some kind of retaliation and we’re all locked out of playing our favorite games. Sony had an outage lasting 24 days when it was hacked, and this negatively impacted not only the gaming habits of its customers, but also the developers and publishers who were trying to launch games in that window.
We could still play games when the PlayStation Network was down, but if the company had a system similar to Microsoft we would all be locked out of playing games entirely for 23 days, over three weeks. Almost a month. Nearly a 12th of a year.
You get the idea.
So I know that my Internet connection is going to be fine, and I’m guessing the majority of gamers can usually rely on their Internet connections not going down for more than 24 hours. We have some limited control over the ISP we use and how our network is set up. What we have no control over is how Microsoft operates, and their ability to plan for their system’s launch, the strain that will come with big releases, and external attacks.
It seems like a company this large, with this much on the line, will have a perfect system in place, but that kind of optimism tends to bite consumers on the ass.
Microsoft simply points us towards their official page when asked specific questions about this policy, and the company has backed out of its question and answer session after its press conference and many of its one-on-one interviews with the press during E3.