Deep within the bowels of Redmond a force is being forged which seeks to pluck all of the freedoms from your frail human shell. Privacy and liberty mean nothing to this menace as it heartlessly marches forward in its pursuit to rule your living room.
For the last 24 hours or so since Microsoft announced the 360’s successor, the Xbox One, the web has been aflutter with consternation over the fact that the Xbox One will require a daily online connection to play games. Add to the frenzy that Microsoft won’t allow indie developers special dispensation to publish their games and suddenly the Xbox One feels more like an audacious taskmaster rather than an innovative new console.
On one hand, it seems that most of the message boards and rabid fanboys are tirelessly exacerbating non-issues. So what if the Xbox always needs to be online? Who cares if the Kinect is always on, potentially watching or listening to you play Assassins Creed? The cable is always connected to your TV. Your phones microphone and camera are always on or at least in standby mode. Few (if any truly worth mentioning) mobile games won’t operate at all unless you are online, regardless of whether they are single or multiplayer. And every developer, indie or otherwise, has to submit their games to Google or Apple before they are going to appear on the app store. Yet, no one ever bats an eye at the fact that this explosively popular platform already enacts the same restrictions.
The real issue revolving around the internet connection requirement for the Xbox One has nothing to do with its future, but rather with its past.
If an internet connection is required to validate that a game is new (lest a fee be paid to Microsoft to play a used game) then what worth will a gamers library have once we are one or two generations further down the road? By the time the Xbox One is a twenty year old system, will Microsoft realistically still be running the servers needed to validate a game and play it? Halo 2 isn’t even 10 years old and it’s multiplayer servers have already been pulled, making it impossible to play the game via online multiplayer. My Super Nintendo holds a trove of treasured memories in the library of games that I have, memories which I hope to pass down to my kids some day as we sit and play the original Mario Kart or Star Fox together. It’s disappointing to think that someday it may not be possible to load up Destiny on my Xbox One and play it with my grand-kids for the first time.
Sure this problem may be far down the road and sure the plethora of immediate benefits that the Xbox One does and will offer may outweigh the shortcomings, but if this is really the future that the Xbox One is paving then I may have to sit on the sidelines. E3 is only 20 days away so here’s to hoping that we get some more information by then… and that the future past of the Xbox One is not nearly as grim as I fear…