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Microsoft: Xbox One users  must  have broadband, check in online
Microsoft: Xbox One users must have broadband, check in online
June 6, 2013 | By Kris Ligman

June 6, 2013 | By Kris Ligman
Comments
    53 comments
More: Console/PC, Social/Online, Business/Marketing



Microsoft has released official documentation concerning several of the policies, features and requirements of its upcoming Xbox One console. Among these are details on its periodic online checks, remote access to a player's game library, and recommended connection speed.

Regarding the previously detailed regular online check-in:

[Y]ou can game offline for up to 24 hours on your primary console, or one hour if you are logged on to a separate console accessing your library. Offline gaming is not possible after these prescribed times until you re-establish a connection, but you can still watch live TV and enjoy Blu-ray and DVD movies.

Regarding technical specifications and networking requirements:

Xbox One is equipped with a gigabit Ethernet port and 802.11n wireless. With 802.11n, Xbox One can use the 5GHz wireless band which eliminates considerable interference from other devices in the home, such as cordless phones, Bluetooth devices and microwaves. Xbox One uses two wireless antennas, versus one in Xbox 360.

For an optimal experience, we recommend a broadband connection of 1.5Mbps. (For reference, the average global internet connection speed as measured recently by Akamai was 2.9 Mbps). In areas where an Ethernet connection is not available, you can connect using mobile broadband.

While a persistent connection is not required, Xbox One is designed to verify if system, application or game updates are needed and to see if you have acquired new games, or resold, traded in, or given your game to a friend. Games that are designed to take advantage of the cloud may require a connection.

As this is true whether or not constant connectivity is required, there is one statement in the document which may stick in players' craws in particular: "Because every Xbox One owner has a broadband connection, developers can create massive, persistent worlds that evolve even when you're not playing."

Although all of the current-generation consoles supported online connectivity, the Xbox One will be the first to presume its owners must be in possession of a broadband, wireless internet connection. This may naturally place the console outside of much of Microsoft's established Xbox 360 market.

In the same grouping of posts as the above remarks, Microsoft also detailed Xbox One's preowned policy and addressed privacy concerns about the Kinect.


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Comments


Bob Allen
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So basically the same requirement that Steam has except that at least with the Xbox One you don't have to eat up to 50GB of your download cap with each game.

Ardney Carter
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So basically assuming the customer is a criminal.

Additionally, the assumption that an internet connection is available or even desired at all times is ridiculous.

Chris Melby
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No, not the same requirements, not at all.

I can play my STEAM games offline with no time restriction. It's called offline mode.

And if I want to add another computer, I do have to log on and install the software, but once that computer is authorized -- one system at a time -- I have no time restrictions on that comp. 1 hour blows...

As long as the computer is authorized to play the games, it does not need a connection; now if your game is multiplayer, that's an obvious difference.

With STEAM, when I buy a game for my PC, if there's a Mac version available, I get that to for my MacBook Pro; and in the future the same applies to Linux.

And you can buy games at retail that use STEAM as the DRM. This makes up the lion share of my game collection, since I like the box. And even when that's not the case in rare situations, I have no data cap. 50 gigs would bite..

John Flush
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@Chris - you forgot to point out that you also save $10 off base retail, and if you wait for sales you get it for up to $50 off retail...

TC Weidner
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you also seem to forget, that steam is just ONE option for game distribution for PC gaming, not the ONLY one.

Chris Melby
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I didn't forget, those are just more reasons why gaming on the PC is great. :)

TC Weidner
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Agree with you there Chris, I love the PC and I respect and use windows, so its not like I am anti Microsoft, quite the opposite, I just think they are overstepping here.

Adam Rebika
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I moved to China 3 months ago, and have been having a pretty bad internet connexion since then.
Steam has been working perfectly fine in offline mode for 3 months straight now.

The Xbox One would have been completely useless to me in that case. Thanks god my Wii U works fine even completely cut off the internet.

Glenn Sturgeon
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You have to check in with steam?
The last time i let BB go, i just put steam in offline mode which seems to work untill you restart your system.
IMO The good point of steam isn't its online, its the moderate to dirt cheap prices. You will not likely get that good steam feature on Xbone.

Oops i didn't realise so many posts belowe the 1st were replies.. They make my post a bit redundant.

Kenneth Poirier
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Two words that turn me off more then anything in this world are "HAVE TO". I'm a very firm believer that I don't HAVE TO do anything.

I love the xbox 360. I even worked on the development of the kinect for 8 months, but that was by choice. If I HAVE TO let microsoft do a system sweep of my Xbone once a day, then I am just not going to own an Xbone.

Jannis Froese
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You don't HAVE TO own a CCT...eh.. Xbone

Kenneth Poirier
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Exactly Jannis. The 360 I have does everything I want a console to do and that is play games. What I am wondering is if Microsoft is going to try to kill the 360 to get people to switch to the Xbone. That is really the only way I could see them possible being successful unless they plan on solely being a sports franchise system.

Jonathan Gilmore
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I wasn't in a rush to replace my console but I agreewith you Kenneth, I have about two years worth of games to play at least for the 360, unless MS actually tries to kill it early it will probably be years, if ever, before I buy an XBone.

Morgan Schouler
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"we recommend a broadband connection of 1.5Mbps." Precision: It means that you can connect your console without broadband connection, and just like every game devices today, play online without broadband is not really possible. Also if they state that xbox owners have broadband, since they know how many consoles they sell and how many users/active accounts by console they have, + surely collecting data about their speed connection through the xbox live, they surely know what they are talking. Don't worry about them.

Michael Kolb
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So with developers making their games for current AND next-gen systems how can all this limitations not mess with the next-gen's game sales? I just don't see it and it's not the graphical upgrade of last time. I'm guessing it'll be more connected gaming experiences but to tell you the truth I've heard it echoed from not just me but many others I'm completely contempt with my gaming setup now.

Jannis Froese
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What we have seen for the next-gen consoles is still behind PC graphic, even though the new consoles are the better platform (at least for ~2 years). I expect console games to get a lot better in maybe two years, when studios have developed the necessary skill sets.

That doesn't help the sales this year though.

Marvin Papin
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@Jannis

Graphics will be largely enough
Don't wanna spend 1000€ in graphic card XD

[User Banned]
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TC Weidner
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the problem I see also is, that at least here in the US, the infrastructure simply isnt there for all this data yet. I run speed test on my IP, and continually score in the top 95-98%, yet at prime time hours I still cant watch you tube videos without all kinds of buffering happening.

The "tubes" simply arent big enough.

Kujel s
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@TC that's one of the great things about BC I almost never have to buffer videos on youtube (on my desktop at least, my phone is a completely differnet matter).

Bob Johnson
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Well you don't need a high speed connection to play the games. The games are still being distributed on disc. YOu need your console to talk to the MS servers which requires little bandwidth.

Wireless data will take care of the data needs for rural areas eventually.

There is also satellite internet. Not going to work for online gaming, but work for email/browsing/etc.

People in rural areas don't have lots of stuff that people in the city have. IT's part of living in a rural area. They don't view this as all bad.

E Zachary Knight
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In response to Bloomberg's comment, "I’m pretty sure people complained about new machinery requiring electricity to function too, back in the days."

No they didn't. People absolutely loved it. Before electricity, doing the laundry used to be an all day multi-person affair. After el;ectricty, it became a push button operation that freed up hours of time for the homemaker.

You can't say anything close to that for an always connected console.

E Zachary Knight
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Bob,

Microsoft says that you will NEED a 1.5Mbps connection to operate the XBone. That is something that even satellite cannot provide. My parents use satellite internet. They are capped at 768Kbps and if they go over their monthly data cap, they are forced down to 256Kbps. Their data cap is so low that all they can really do is check email and visit Facebook comfortably.

While mobile broadband might be better, it is often more expensive than an equivalent DSL connection. Often far more expensive.

Eric Pobirs
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Here is a wild idea: poor people should have higher priorities for themselves than to own the latest deluxe game console. It is an ongoing expense if you acquire new games regularly by any means other than gifts.

These are luxury goods. By definition you shouldn't be concerned with them if you don't have paying for necessities well in hand. Amazingly, a lot of people seem to forget this. Microsoft has set certain goals for their new platform. I find the complete portability of one's game library and saves very attractive. The idea of being able to check into a hotel room during an out of town job and log in to that room's Xbox One to quickly pick up where I left off in a game is a scenario I like more lugging around an entire console setup. But this comes at an inevitable price if all the parties involved are to be satisfied that their interests are reasonably protected.

There is a lot of whining about who cannot afford this or cannot get broadband where they live. Guess what? Those people are outside the target audience. This isn't some dire failing on their part but they do have to recognize not every product is going to be for them.

Why shouldn't video game be like the electric toys of the early 20th Century? They're all just luxury goods that became more accessible over time. Desires drive markets. One major reason some areas lack broadband options is the probable subscription rate isn't high enough to justify the buildout cost. Back in 1998 I was the entire person in my entire node to have DSL for almost a year because so few of my neighbors knew what it was or why they wanted it. The phone company wasn't going to launch their marketing blitz until enough of the area was equipped. But some regions when surveyed show very little interest. The residents of 20% of the homes may want broadband desperately but for whatever reason the remainder don't care. Those 20% aren't enough to pay off the initial buildout cost unless the subscription is priced out of their range.

"The Royal Society advances by funerals," is what the astronomers used to say.

Bob Johnson
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@E Zachary

They don't say you need 1 .5mbps connection. IT's just recommended. The recommendation is obviously for online play and various online services. IT isn't for talking to MS servers once a day.

And the original Xbox required broadband which no one on the moon or South Pole had 12 years ago which makes this all non-news.

Eric Pobirs
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E Zach,

Yes, they did. It's quite well documented. It was a transition just like any other. A lot of people had trouble wrapping their heads around the value of indoor plumbing when it was a new and strange thing. There was more than one account of a person buying a toilet without understanding it was useless without the plumbing to carry away the waste.

It may be hard for us to comprehend but there was a time when electrically driven machinery and other items were akin to magic for much of the population. It is reputed that President Benjamin Harrison and his wife, who lived in the White house when it was first wired, regarded electricity with suspicion of injury and had staff members operate light switches for them.

But as always, a new generation for who electricity had always been a part of their lives would set the standards of living in the years that followed. Consequently, it wasn't long before they had the situation where a home could become unlivable without power, as it had been designed with a constant supply in mind. I'm accustomed to showering daily but it wasn't that long ago bathing was considered a weekly event. Yes, people stank, and bought a lot more perfumes, goop to put in their hair, and other stuff, not for fashion but just to keep themselves from smelling and looking awful.

The first game console that requires a broadband connection creates controversy. Ten years later, it won't even raise an eyebrow. It will just be taken as a given.

Eric Pobirs
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Bob,

That is simply not true. The original Xbox had a network port as standard and supported a number of innovative features using it but it was not required that the user had broadband service. Even LAN play worked fine on several games, most notably Halo, without Xbox Live or a connection to the outside world.

I never bothered with an XBL account on my Xbox because I had no interest in online multi-player. (The promised MMORPGs might have gotten my interest but none of them ever shipped for the first Xbox.) Yet my 100+ games all worked fine in single player and local multi-player modes.

The requirements of the Xbox One mark a change but they also bring new features. Complete account portability is something I don't think is getting the attention it deserves. You could potentially be a very active Xbox One user and never own the hardware or any physical copies of any software. This could lead to an interesting disconnect between revenue and installed base.

WILLIAM TAYLOR
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@Dan
"yet at prime time hours I still cant watch you tube videos without all kinds of buffering happening."

YouTube is like that for me but it's blame YouTube. I can hop on Hulu, Netflix, or Crunchyroll at these same times and stream HD video at the highest bit rate settings with ease.

"Do we really want video games to be like the electric toys of the early 20th century?"

If you mean, do we want it to use technology? Well, yes. That comparison is stupid though. 90% of farms (whatever the hell that means in terms of the actual population) didn't have electricity then. More than 75% of households have broadband internet access now.

@E Zach
Are your parents even console gamers? The bum on the street corner has no access to internet, let alone satellite internet, but much like your parents I'd imagine he isn't in the market for next gen consoles.

Bruce Baxter
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@Eric Pobirs

Here's another wild idea - how about not making something that is for entertaining cost so much that it becomes a luxury item? Game consoles - note the name "Game Console", not entertainment hubs - should be about playing games, not taking over your living room. They shouldn't be stuffed with crap that has no relevance to gaming, and really shouldn't cost so much that they become out luxury items. It shows a lack of confidence in the game industry to continue to make game consoles the way they are being made - and comes at an unnecessary high price point to the consumer.

When home consoles first came out, it was acceptable that they cost so much - but that price should have went down since they have been so widely adopted. Unfortunate, since hardware makers like Sony and M$ just cannot leave well enough alone, the prices have crept up and continue to go up - not because they are more advanced GAME CONSOLES - but rather due to the fact that they keep cramming other functions in and won't even consider making models that offer only gaming features (probably for fear that they will be the only ones selling). We shouldn't get up on our high horse and put down poor people because they purchase these "luxury items" - part of life is entertainment, and gaming USED to be cheap. I find it a bit condescending and heartless to speak as if someone has no right to the wonderful world of video gaming just because they are poor, when it would be easy to make it accessible to them if only these stupid companies would just consider them when they make these product lines.

Finally, I wonder how many people could afford these consoles if it weren't for credit? Take away credit and suddenly many people are in the same boat as "the poor". Credit is not INCOME - if your buying stuff on credit and paying monthly, you need to calculate your income and make sure you aren't "poor" too. Those are the suckers these companies are preying on, the credit poor who but for credit balances could no better afford these prices than the family on the other side of town eating spam sandwiches for dinner - but have the nerve to look down their bank owned noses at them.

Bob Johnson
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@Eric

I meant it was required for Live which was a big deal back then because most didn't have broadband. The PS2 supported dial-up.

Jeff Fischer
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A large percentage of my family lives in rural regions. My parents just managed to get "broadband" within the past couple of years. They have the absolute minimum level of service and the only reason lines were run to their neighborhood was due to having a friendly connection over at AT&T. Keep in mind, they actually lived within city limits. There was just nobody willing to assume to cost of building the infrastructure for them to have anything other than dial up service for several years.

Now I live in a heavily developed part of the USA. Even so, I still have issues with internet access. I have the choice of satellite service, which is poor due to the weather or Comcast which is just a terrible company to deal with. At least once a year I've simply had outages that have lasted upwards of a week, but I've still been able to game on my PC or consoles. That won't be happening with an XBone.

I've been annoyed with always on assumptions baked into individual games, enough so that I've started to avoid buying games from publishers and producers I used to love. Now I'm going to wind up avoiding an entire platform, and I know I'm not the only person to feel this way. Unless Microsoft feels like paying for laying down all the line it will take to make this kind of "feature" a pain-free experience, I think they're making a huge mistake.

[User Banned]
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Mark Slabinski
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I will say one thing about this from personal experience. I grew up in a place where our ISP was frequently unreliable in terms of service, didn't provide us with the speeds we were paying for, and in general doing anything online was lag-ridden and prone to crashes or sudden connectivity problems. In some cases, our internet connection would be out for days at a time while we waited for a technician to come to our house, or for the cable company to send a repair team if it was a problem affecting the whole neighborhood.

What I took away from that was that you can never fully rely on a stable internet connection to be there for you. Even if I use Google docs for most of my work now (the cloud makes it too convenient when switching between multiple machines), I'll still make sure to keep copies of everything on portable drives, just in case. With this, all they're saying is that they don't really care about me or my particular circumstances. They don't care about the people who don't have their consoles connected to the internet and who don't want to connect their consoles to the internet.

kevin williams
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“…the system will be the only multimedia system you will need in your home!”
“…the system will work with your television to offer a unique interface with what you watch!”
“…the system will be regionally-locked to ensure the best content is available!”
“…the platform dose much more than play games and will be your one-stop solution!”
“…the platform uses a unique interface that allows you to control the game as well as your media!”

… sound familiar? No these are not promotions from the launch of the Xbone –but are snippets from the hyperbole lavished on the disastrous launch of the ‘similarly looking’ CD-I platform, back in 1992! A little bit of history repeating!

As described by Wikipedia, “the Philips CD-i (Compact Disc Interactive) … an interactive multimedia CD player”. Belatedly launched in 1992, this system marked the collapse of the fourth generation of the consumer game sector – the consumer game sector having been overrun by ‘suits’ that tried to sell the idea of CD-I as the “big thing” for gaming and media. Sucking Sony, Magnavox, Goldstar, Panasonic, Commodore(CDTV), 3DO, and many others to follow the merry dance; the CD-I (even after a last ditch redesign) would be dumped in 1995, to much executive departures across the trade.

Eric Pobirs
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The CD-i marked only the collapse of itself. There was no industry wide crash at that time, when Nintendo and Sega were doing great business. Like the dot.com boom a few years later, a lot of companies thought CD-ROM was all by itself usher in a new age. In fact, it wouldn't really happen until the rest of the package reached a certain level of price and performance.

If you measure an era solely by its failures than there has never been any success int he video game business. After all, every SNES can be matched with a Jaguar if you ignore the actual numbers. In real life, the successes far exceeded the losses on the failures.

CD-i wasn't discontinued until 1998 and still continued as a kiosk system for several years after then. All in all, it was not a financial pit for Philips as they benefited from a lot of patents and uses of the underlying technology developed under the CD-i banner. (Why you include Sony is a mystery as they were not big losers in the CD-i venture. They co-developed much of the tech and thus had free access to many patents that were applied in the Playstation.)

Craig Jensen
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MS must have pretty stupid marketing people. I think PS4 will probably end out being pretty much the same but their marketing is much better.

Full disclosure: My xbox is dead due to RROD. I still use my PS3.

Jeremy Reaban
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Microsoft has sold something like 76 million 360s. They have something like 46 million Xbox live accounts.

That's a huge, huge difference. Obviously they won't lost all 30 million people who have a 360 and not a live account, but I have to think there's a reason those people don't. And that isn't going to change.

Mario Kummer
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Good point. I have 2 things to add to this number:

1) there are people who use multiple accounts on 1 Xbox - in my family for example, so the ratio could be even worse
2) there are millions of people who had to replace the Xbox360s due to poor quality (RROD etc.) so the numbers might not be that worse at all.

WILLIAM TAYLOR
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Yeah, but those people didn't buy any DLC, never purchased Live, and never did anything involving the internet and the massive income stream that it brought. Maybe they bought some new games, but I wouldn't be surprised if they only purchased used since they're really strapped for money and can't afford the internet.

Their only contribution to the MS ecosystem might have been purchasing a box the MS lost money on producing but hoped to make up for in internet related products and new games sales.

Alexander Symington
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There may also be people with Live accounts who did nothing but download demos. On the other hand, people who never connected may not have been "strapped for cash" but simply lacked any interest in online or service-based games, while buying offline retail titles...

If based on solid data, the "whale" strategy of selling only to the more profitable half of the 360 userbase and monetising them harder may be viable. But it conflicts with other elements of their strategy, like the expectation of a 30% increase in userbase and the aspiration to more than double it.

Jonathan Murphy
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This is more of an insult to the many countries who are too poor to afford online anything. That's what? 5 billion human beings? Am I the only one who thinks of the world market? I know a guy who saved up for months to buy a GTX 550 in Brazil. People outside of America and Japan buy games too!

Eric Pobirs
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An absurd claim. Is the existence of Ferraris an insult to those who cannot afford them? Oh well, lets only have boring little econo-boxes, lest some take offense.

These are luxury goods. That means only an affluent audience can afford them, including in developed nations. This means their potential audience is only about 200 million homes in the US, Europe, and Asia. I guess they might as well just give up with such a limited market.

TC Weidner
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Eric, console games that are targeting having possible 1 billion consumers are not a new fangle luxury good.
( Yes 1 billion is microsofts own words about the audience for this gen of consoles)

You continue to misconstrue what this tech is about and what demographic it attempts to market to.

Game consoles have been around for almost 40 years. They are not ferraris, they are a simple $300-400 consumer electronic device.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Marvin Papin
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MS forgot they are in entertainment with Xbox. People can stop paying for that tomorrow. Most games are already not worth money due to their gameplay... Many people will wait and see with next gen.

Daniel Backteman
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meh. Buying a Xbox One is completely out of question for me, and I will actively convince my friends not to buy it. Every single time I give the bigger names a finger, they bite my hand and force me up against a wall.

The Nintendo Wii being enormously successful and everyone else copies the gimmick? Sure.
The Xbox One being enormously successful and everyone else copies their Kinect features and general policies? Nope, no, not even going to risk this one, no thanks, nein, bye. No.

Jorge Ramos
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Pretty much this news just means to me that the system is going to be targeted and hacked from day one.

At this point, the only forseeable reason I could find to buy an Xbox One is once it's possible to mod it to get rid of such draconian requirements.

I go out of my way to support people who I think are worth the money wherever I can, and not just in games. But this is some serious bullcrap.

Titi Naburu
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"you can still watch live TV"

OMG so cool!!!

WILLIAM TAYLOR
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I believe the writer is unaware that back in the early 2000s you had to have broadband in order to sign up for XBL. This is nothing new. It should also be noted that 75% of US households have broadband internet access so it's not like it's this rare thing that nobody has. Also important to note that despite it being as high as 75%, the US is still one of the WORST countries in the developed world for broadband internet adoption, meaning 75% is basically as low as it gets for countries that X1 would even get released in.

Also, is the internet really that bad? You guys make it sound like the internet is this service you pay for with the expectation that it won't work when you need it to. Why are you paying for this? I can't think of any other thing in life that people pay for, expecting it not to work. Is all of this just hypothetical talk or is the internet you're paying for really a service that doesn't work more than it does?

Either way, I'm so glad I live in the outskirts of Atlanta. I never knew my city was this technological wonder town at the forefront of internet technology in the United States but I guess it is compared to where everyone else who visits gaming sites seems to live. When we buy internet here, we expect it to work and it does. In the past 2 years, my internet has been down for literally a total of 2 hours, and my ISP is Comcast, which people always say is like one of the worst ISPs in the country. I always figured that it was said because other ISPs never go down, not even for an hour in 2 years. Now I realize it was just slander as you guys make it seem like your ISPs can't stay up long enough to watch a TV episode on Netflix and it's extremely rare that it would even be up to let you connect in the first place.

Jorge Ramos
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Pretty much spells it out for you right here: http://youtu.be/0ilMx7k7mso

That's basically the reality of the situation for the overwhelming majority of people that CAN get any kind of high speed service. This isn't even accounting those who can't get any form of high speed internet at any price.

Bruce Baxter
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Even if everyone has enough connection to meet the requirement doesn't mean it should be so. Just because I have an internet connection doesn't mean I want everyone accessing it - they aren't accessing it in any way that benefits me, it's all for their benefit. It's intrusive and completely unnecessary, as proven by all the other game console before it - including their own Xbox 360. And a person doesn't have to be a pirate or criminal to have the need of some sort of privacy, unless they choose to give it up - in this case it isn't a choice, if you buy an Xbox One you MUST let it use your connection. I find that creepy - especially because I am not interested in online gaming in the slightest.

Bob Johnson
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@Bruce

There is no requirement. The touted minimum speed is a recommendation. Obviously for online play and streaming services etc you will want to at least have their recommended connection speed. But for talking to MS servers to authenticate your account/console you won't need that speed.

And intrusive is too strong of a word. IF MS wanted to spy on you they would have done so long ago through your pc. If you hook your nextbox to a power strip and switch the power strip off every time you are done gaming it won't use your connection to authenticate itself. So you do have control over it. But when you game you are choosing to essentially log in to authenticate your account. It's essentially the same concept as choosing to post on Gamasutra by typing in your name and password.

Now what MS would like to do is talk to your console every day for ads & updates as well as authentication. Some of this is for annoying ads. Some for welcome time saving tasks like loading updates while you sleep.

Jeff Fischer
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I live in S Florida and have to deal with Comcast. They're providing terrible service, but it is still the best service available. In the past 2 years I've had frequent outages due to the weather (not Comcast's fault), one outage due to a technician incorrectly shutting off my service instead of my neighbors (I had to wait 5 days before a technician could be scheduled to "investigate" the issue) and one outage that lasted a month (never got an explanation on that one). My other option is to switch to a satellite service that will have performance issues during the rather frequent storms we seem to get.

Despite these issues I was still able to play on my current gen gaming systems. Since I can get decent internet service on my phone I just demanded refunds from Comcast for the amount of time the service was unavailable and hoped they would fix their problems some time soon. Because of similar issues in the past I know of quite a few people who just don't bother to pay for broadband service in the first place.

All of us are gamers who aren't going to buy an XBone and the folks at Microsoft are kidding themselves if they believe these kind of problems aren't widespread.


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