Surprise: Internet connection not required to play 'Xbox 720' games

By on April 11, 2013, 12:30 PM

There’s been no shortage of Xbox rumors as we move closer to the console’s unveiling next month -- well, technically, that’s also a rumor. Although I was hoping to steer clear of further hearsay until official details were shared, I couldn’t help but bring to your attention an updated Xbox roadmap posted by VGLeaks with new details about the hardware lineup and a clarification about the whole “always connected” madness.

If you recall, VGLeaks was previously responsible for credible leaks revealing Durango’s specs as well as a hardware overview describing an “Always On, Always Connected” design.

Never mind that the latter was mentioned in the context of being able to download updates in the background, most sites still reported it as proof or confirmation that Microsoft would be implementing online checks to block used games, even though there was no mention of this in the documents or by VGLeaks. To be fair, reputable sites like Kotaku and Edge were told as much by their own separate sources, but we remained unconvinced.

Always on, always online is not what you think

Now VGLeaks is clarifying that Durango will indeed be always online “like any other device”, but it will not be a requirement to play local content and it will not prevent playing used games. In other words, this is meant for downloading stuff like game or social network updates in the background when a net connections is available, but you will still be able to play Xbox games if your broadband is down or you take your console elsewhere.

That’s more in line with what we’ve been saying all along although it’s worth noting it’s all still unconfirmed.

The site notes that the “always online” rumors likely stemmed from development kits with components requiring network connections to be present all the time, which could explain what some inside sources were saying.

Two-SKU strategy: The Xbox Mini

In addition to making this minor but important clarification, the updated roadmap also points to a separate console with a more limited feature set known as the “Xbox Mini” -- we’ve heard about this before but it was referenced to as “Xbox TV”. In a nutshell, this is a repackaged and reoriented Xbox 360 unit to access the platform’s entertainment apps (think Apple TV competitor) and play games downloaded from Xbox Live.

Microsoft is aiming at a $150 price tag for this smaller Xbox unit and will possibly design it to be stackable atop the full-fledged “Durango” console. It will most likely lack an optical drive but it can be networked with its bigger brother to provide backwards compatibility for 360 games. The next-gen Xbox will not support older games on its own as it’s based on a different architecture than its predecessor.

Taking over your TV signal

A separate report from The Verge also claims Microsoft will introduce a feature that lets its next-generation console take a cable box signal and pass it through to the TV via HDMI, allowing it to overlay a UI and features on top of an existing TV channel or set-top box. Microsoft is reportedly seeking partnerships with content providers for this. Apparently the functionality will be tied to the full-fledged Xbox rather than the Mini version.




User Comments: 26

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1 person liked this | MilwaukeeMike said:

There is no greater and longer lasting fad on the internet then feigned indignation. If we don't have a reason to get upset, what would we talk about? No one likes to let the facts get in the way of a little speculation and outrage.

Anyway... I'm interested in the complete realm of entertainment functions for this thing. The original Xbox was supposed to be a replacement for many of the boxes in our home entertainment systems, but it never actually pulled this off. Maybe the 720 will do better. With storage so cheap they could (should) make a DVR out of this thing... maybe even include a tuner card.

1 person liked this | Lurker101 said:

Surprise: The article title is wrong. As stated in the initial sentence, whether or not the 720 will be always online is still just speculation. Thankfully, most people are starting to understand that Microsoft has gone the way of the internet, in that it has become diametrically opposed to the concept of quality control and so are much more prepared to assume the next product is going to gargle gonads until it comes out with a certificate clearly stating that it doesn't.

Secondly, I'd like to address this line

Now VGLeaks is clarifying that Durango will indeed be always online ?like any other device?
That is simply, without any apology, a massive cop-out excuse based as much on fact as Rhiannas career is based on actual music.

My mind boggles just trying to figure out what this "like any other device" sputum is, since I don't have any other device that needs to be online at all times. Not a single one.

3 people like this | ghasmanjr ghasmanjr said:

" The next-gen Xbox will not support older games as it?s based on a different architecture than its predecessor."

I keep seeing this on every tech website, yet it angers me to no end. My computer is based on a COMPLETELY different architecture than a PS2, yet I can emulate the games just fine. Same goes for the N64, PS1, SNES, NES, Gamecube and the Xbox. This is a cop-out excuse for Microsoft and Sony to not allow backwards compatibility.

Guest said:

^ I'm with ya on that. I myself still don't understand what "always online like any other device" means. Very few household devices require an always online connection. Really, the only devices I can think of (off the top of my head) that requires an "always online" is a server, router or modem.

If the XB720 is gonna be like the previous Xbox, then why the need to bring up "always online"?

Twixtea said:

''The site notes that the ?always online? rumors likely stemmed from development kits with components requiring network connections to be present all the time, which could explain what some inside sources were saying.''

So basically developers were trolling and laughing at us?

Staff
Jos Jos said:

If the XB720 is gonna be like the previous Xbox, then why the need to bring up "always online"?

Keep in mind that Microsoft hasn't mentioned always online as they've yet to make any official announcement.

BlueDrake said:

" The next-gen Xbox will not support older games as it?s based on a different architecture than its predecessor."

I keep seeing this on every tech website, yet it angers me to no end. My computer is based on a COMPLETELY different architecture than a PS2, yet I can emulate the games just fine. Same goes for the N64, PS1, SNES, NES, Gamecube and the Xbox. This is a cop-out excuse for Microsoft and Sony to not allow backwards compatibility.

Honestly.. you say emulation but still, do you actually know how much goes into properly emulating things? I highly doubt that even now, some emulators are properly 100% compatible with all games. Sure that was done with the Wii VC, but why would they consider adding that onto it now? It just seems silly to me honestly and also, most consoles are how old that emulate fine?

Sure you have an actual team behind it, but there's really no point to tack that on in their minds. So good luck battling it out there, because it'd not be worth the hassle IMO. :P

JC713 JC713 said:

I can understand this if it is just for older games. Makes sense.

MilwaukeeMike said:

They won't do it... MS is trying to improve their image, not hurt it. They purposely made the Kinect connection un-encrypted so it could be used in multiple places. It just doesn't make sense for them to require a connection.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Backward compatibility has been a factor in PC's for as long as I can remember. For the life of me I can not figure out how consoles have managed all these years without backward compatibility. I know for a fact I would not have been willing to upgrade my PC so many times, if the new build did not support all my old software. The same is true for the console, I am unwilling to throw my money on a console when I know the next console will likely not support older games. Consoles die but that doesn't mean games should die with them, because the next console doesn't support them.

veLa veLa said:

" The next-gen Xbox will not support older games as it?s based on a different architecture than its predecessor."

I keep seeing this on every tech website, yet it angers me to no end. My computer is based on a COMPLETELY different architecture than a PS2, yet I can emulate the games just fine. Same goes for the N64, PS1, SNES, NES, Gamecube and the Xbox. This is a cop-out excuse for Microsoft and Sony to not allow backwards compatibility.

So true, your post is full of win. I can still play "Master of Orion", a DOS game on my Windows 7 rig (with a little bit of tweaking)

Tygerstrike said:

I think the problem is that console players get very little in the way of customization on their units. Mainly because it costs more then its worth if you can find a way to customize. Or your system crashes out because the upgrade was done incorrectly. Also the fact that most of your console users dont just up and buy the newest systems out there because their current one works just fine. Its when your system dies that you go and get the newest console. By that time, you would have a dead system with a ton of games, and a new system with one or two games. So it makes sense that gamers want backwards compatibility. Normally a new system only launches with a 3-10 titles. Console gamers want new features but want the stability of older features as well.

1 person liked this | MilwaukeeMike said:

" The next-gen Xbox will not support older games as it?s based on a different architecture than its predecessor."

I keep seeing this on every tech website, yet it angers me to no end. My computer is based on a COMPLETELY different architecture than a PS2, yet I can emulate the games just fine. Same goes for the N64, PS1, SNES, NES, Gamecube and the Xbox. This is a cop-out excuse for Microsoft and Sony to not allow backwards compatibility.

Do you think this is some conspiracy? No backwards compatibility is a reason NOT to buy the new consoles. I'd wager no one participating in this thread has any experience whatsoever in technical console design and architecture, so we shouldn't be saying this a cop-out or call them lazy. Everything has a trade-off. Perhaps backward compatibility would increase the cost of the unit, cause it to be released later, or have other consequences.

One of the criticisms of the gaming industry is the reliance on standards. Developers have to code their games to work with a standard so it can be run on multiple platforms and it holds back innovation. Now we're getting away from that and people are complaining. If you have old games, you probably have the console.... well... if it hasn't had a RRoD yet anyway.

2 people like this | Lurker101 said:

I'm going to put my hand up right now and say I honestly don't get, nor do I give a crap about the whole backwards compatibility thing. Maybe it's because I'm old, but I remember when a new console meant you got to try something new and exciting and didn't complain because you couldn't run your NES games on your SNES.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'm going to put my hand up right now and say I honestly don't get, nor do I give a crap about the whole backwards compatibility thing. Maybe it's because I'm old, but I remember when a new console meant you got to try something new and exciting and didn't complain because you couldn't run your NES games on your SNES.
The fact that you didn't complain then is why you are not complaining now. I saw a problem with it then and I see a problem with it now. All these years of speaking with my wallet, hasn't done any good. I will not sit here and say it doesn't bother me when it does.

I never have cared for proprietary crap, manufacturers saying use my gear or nothing at all. And if that is not enough they leave you scratching your own a_s when the next best thing comes out. As if proprietary wasn't enough, they want your use of the proprietary product to be dated. I'm sorry that is two concepts that when put together, I can not stand behind willingly.

2 people like this | Lurker101 said:

The fact that you didn't complain then is why you are not complaining now.

Exactly. When the SNES came out, I still had my NES, it still worked and I could play it whenever I wanted. Still got it and can still play it. Same with my SNES, N64, PSX, et. al. The fact that I didn't complain then is why I'm not not complaining now. I have nothing to complain about. My rose tinted spectacle games are still there and ready for me to play them again whenever I want. They haven't been magically taken away by the spite fairy, just because some big company has decided to leave the past behind and take a bold new step into the future. True, today it's more of a clumsy, stumbling, belligerent step, but at least after a decade, they're finally getting a move on.

m4a4 m4a4 said:

" The next-gen Xbox will not support older games as it?s based on a different architecture than its predecessor."

I keep seeing this on every tech website, yet it angers me to no end. My computer is based on a COMPLETELY different architecture than a PS2, yet I can emulate the games just fine. Same goes for the N64, PS1, SNES, NES, Gamecube and the Xbox. This is a cop-out excuse for Microsoft and Sony to not allow backwards compatibility.

This would only anger me if everyone knew full well the new xbox had the power to run 360 games without trouble and MS didn't bother listening to their customers and taking advantage of that.

BUT I do not know if it can or can't so I won't worry too much about it (as I will keep my 360 to play 360 games, like I kept my N64 for N64 games)...

m4a4 m4a4 said:

And even with all the rumors pointing to the "always-online" (when things meant "always-on". There is a difference), I've been saying that MS isn't that stupid. Not the best argument (for the sake of MS) but it gets the point across.

I just don't like how they have been quiet about this particular issue while the ignorant masses try to convince everyone that the xbox will be "always-online" and the articles and things said support them. Bad move IMHO.

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

Hmm since the next xbox is more or less going to be a pc, I wonder how hard it would be to get it to play original xbox games?

dennis777 dennis777 said:

I thought this was from the official post... so still a grain of salt

ghasmanjr ghasmanjr said:

Honestly.. you say emulation but still, do you actually know how much goes into properly emulating things? I highly doubt that even now, some emulators are properly 100% compatible with all games. Sure that was done with the Wii VC, but why would they consider adding that onto it now? It just seems silly to me honestly and also, most consoles are how old that emulate fine?

It's not that they can't properly emulate the older games properly, it's that they don't want to take the time to write the code specific to each game for the new xbox to play old games. I said it angers me because it's complete BS. They can do it but they're just lazy.

This would only anger me if everyone knew full well the new xbox had the power to run 360 games without trouble and MS didn't bother listening to their customers and taking advantage of that..

Do you honestly believe that a newer computer can't play older computer games? Again, it's back to the laziness statement. Don't lie to the consumers. At least say that it's not economical to code the games to work for the newer console or meet the consumer halfway by recoding the most popular games (sound familiar? Halo and Halo 2 anyone?)

1 person liked this | m4a4 m4a4 said:

Do you honestly believe that a newer computer can't play older computer games? Again, it's back to the laziness statement. Don't lie to the consumers. At least say that it's not economical to code the games to work for the newer console or meet the consumer halfway by recoding the most popular games (sound familiar? Halo and Halo 2 anyone?)

I know full well that a new computer can theoretically play older games. It's just that I can also believe that it is hard to properly emulate older games on a newer console with different architecture (provided they aren't too old). I've tried playing PS2 games on my PC and it was unbelievably annoying to get it working and trying to get it at a decent framerate. And then the original xbox games (the few that worked) on the 360 crashed more times than I would've liked. And it was similar architecture! Ever tried getting a PS3 game to emulate on your PC?

Can you honestly believe that they are obligated to support the emulation of older games? Few console successors have done that. And if they have, it was considered bonus.

Camikazi said:

" The next-gen Xbox will not support older games as it?s based on a different architecture than its predecessor."

I keep seeing this on every tech website, yet it angers me to no end. My computer is based on a COMPLETELY different architecture than a PS2, yet I can emulate the games just fine. Same goes for the N64, PS1, SNES, NES, Gamecube and the Xbox. This is a cop-out excuse for Microsoft and Sony to not allow backwards compatibility.

My guess is that you have not followed the progress of emulators that long. If you had you would know that the amount of effort, time, programming and problem solving involved in making an emulator for another architecture and making it work right is enormous. I remember when computers were not powerful enough to make an emulator that was able to run N64 ROMs well. It's only recently, with the power increase in computers that has allowed so many consoles to have well running emulators (and some still can't run every game). Now knowing how much horsepower is needed to get some emulators running what makes you think they can put that power in a console AND not make it cost a lot of money?

Jaiguru said:

After the junk games this last generation of consoles, industry wide, turned out, I think maybe its time we reconsider the notion that, just maybe, video game consoles should focus on being VIDEO GAME CONSOLES.

Jaiguru said:

I think the problem is that console players get very little in the way of customization on their units. Mainly because it costs more then its worth if you can find a way to customize. Or your system crashes out because the upgrade was done incorrectly. Also the fact that most of your console users dont just up and buy the newest systems out there because their current one works just fine. Its when your system dies that you go and get the newest console. By that time, you would have a dead system with a ton of games, and a new system with one or two games. So it makes sense that gamers want backwards compatibility. Normally a new system only launches with a 3-10 titles. Console gamers want new features but want the stability of older features as well.

Aside from the lucid "customization" comment, the rest of your post is absurd. Console gamers are the VERY FIRST to be standing in line at some freezing hour of the morning to be the very first to buy technojunk they don't really know if they want. They are the definition of early adoption and the XBOX360 a cautionary tale for everyone with the common sense of your average house cat.

Guest said:

''Like any other console''

think of it like this: A human can fly like any other human.

Therefore, Said human doesn't fly

So, Said console will not fully need always online.

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