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Durango's 'always on' likelihood irritates players and devs alike

Durango's 'always on' likelihood irritates players and devs alike

April 5, 2013 | By Mike Rose

April 5, 2013 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

Rumors have been circulating for months now that the next iteration of Microsoft's Xbox games console will require an "always-on" internet connection -- that is, the console will need to be constantly hooked up to the internet to grant users access to the hardware's features, including the playing of games.

Allegedly leaked "Durango SDK" screenshots and unnamed sources have previously signalled a games console that will not only require a constant internet connection, but actively block second-hand sales via the same technology.

Now these rumors have been given a little more traction, as Adam Orth, creative director at Microsoft Studios, took to Twitter last night to question why an "always on" future is such a bad thing.

Although Orth's tweets have since been protected, a NeoGAF user captured his messages. While the Microsoft executive didn't confirm that Microsoft is exploring always-on functionality for its next console, his words are the closest we've come to hearing the company's thoughts on the matter.

He began by making comparisons with other devices, stating, "Sometimes the electricity goes out. I will not purchase a vacuum cleaner. The mobile reception in the area I live in is spotty and unreliable. I will not buy a mobile phone."

He continues, "I want every device to be 'always on'... Sorry, I don't get the drama around having an 'always on' console. Every device now is 'always on'. That's the world we live in." This is followed by the hashtag "#dealwithit".

As expected, many devs and gamers challenged Orth, with BioWare's senior gameplay designer Manveer Heir asking the Microsoft exec, "Did you learn nothing from Diablo III or SimCity? You know some people's internet goes out right?"

Orth reiterated his previous electricity argument, to which Heir added, "You've lived in LA, SF, Seattle... very connected places. Try living in Janesville, WI or Blacksburg, VA."

"Why on earth would I live there?" Orth answered.

Other developers weren't so keen on Orth's comments either. Indie dev Rob Fearon tweeted, "Do Microsoft always leave their vacuum cleaners on? I don't understand."

"What completely weird arguments," he added. "I don't buy a phone from a provider who doesn't give me good coverage, I don't leave my hoover on always. And all my modern devices are always connectible, which is markedly different to 'always on' because they don't rely on internet."

Elsewhere, QWOP developer Ben Foddy noted, "People are asking the wrong questions about always-on. It's not 'what if my internet drops out?' - it's 'why do they want me to be connected?'"

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