Leak Reinforces Rumours Of 'Always Connected' Future Xbox

A new leak seems to reinforce claims that Microsoft's next-generation "Durango" Xbox will require mandatory game installation and have an "always on, always connected" internet policy.

The leak, from VGleaks and reported by The Verge, provides screenshots from an Xbox Development Kit (XDK) for Microsoft's upcoming console. Those grabs state that each new console will house a hard drive with enough capacity to "hold a large number of games". Also, "play from the optical drive will not be supported." That lines up with what Kotaku reported last month.

The leak also includes references to the fact that the Xbox will be an "always on, always connected" console. That could add weight to rumours that have suggested that an activation system will prevent users from using second-hand games on the console.

It's worth pointing out that, while the leak seems genuine, the XDK dates back to 2012. So, it may be the case that Microsoft considered an anti-used policy on games but has since abandoned it. Don't hold your breath though. [VGLeaks via The Verge]

Republished from Gizmodo.


Comments

    So they are using the very thing gamers hate the most...Well done M$, well done.

      Why would someone downvote this???

        Probably because it's not confirmed at all.

        Mircosoft would be incredibly stupid to put in place the same kind on "always-on' as EA have used in SimCity.

        We'll have to wait and see. Even the fact that we haven't seen the new Xbox yet when most people predicted it would be out before the PS4 suggests that it may be undergoing some kind of hardware revision since this leaked information was distributed.

        Honestly, I can probably deal with an 'always-on' system if the get it right. It's just been shown so far that nobody has, and if Windows 8 is any indication I wouldn't say that MS is in form right now.

        Microsoft needs to be aware that even if they made a PERFECT always-on system, that never crashes, gives people ample use even if their internet is down/ timed out, leads to less piracy (and thus better games), leads to cheaper purchases..... They are going to cop heaps of shit from the gaming community when they make that initial announcement. There's plenty of people out there who's (mostly justifiable) hatred of DRM isn't going to allow them to make a reasoned judgement and it's going to create a LOT of bad press for at least the first 6 months it's out.

          The SDK appear to be legit, so this is more than a rumour. The real question is whether they've changed their mind in the last 6 months. Personally, I think they would be crazy to push this - I think the always on is a deal breaker for the core audience, and the lack of a disk tray is a deal breaker for the casual market.

            It does have a disc tray, though - it says it has a blu ray drive. It just means you buy a game on disc, install and then play off the hard drive. Although you wonder what the implications are there in terms of reinstallation. If everything has to be installed to HDD then there will come a time when you have to delete some games in order to make way for new ones. So if you then want to go back and play that old game, you'd have to reinstall it. Presumably it would allow you to reinstall it to the same console, although I'm not sure how it'd handle a situation where your console died or got stolen and you bought a new one and wanted to reinstall your games to the new one? I guess if it's always online then it might tie the game to your XBL account rather than the console. Although then you're stuck with a situation where if your account gets hacked or banned for whatever reason then you basically lose your entire game collection. Which would suck.

            Last edited 21/03/13 10:47 am

              The thing is we just don’t know yet. I’m not one of those militant anti-DRM people who sees it as instant death for a product.

              Realistically most people have some kind of internet these days, if you can afford the console and the occasional game you can afford some form of internet connection. Yeah it won’t be ideal for everyone but nothing is, it’s about offsetting the downsides with real positives and accepting that if 1% of gamers can’t use the system they are going to do 60% of the whinging.

              Obviously without disks transferring software is going to be difficult, so why not allow gamers to play single player games offline, or even put in a requirement that you only need to ping the server every 6 hours or so (NOT EA’s 20 min policy)? Could this allow them to make Xbox Live free? Could this lower piracy rates and make for cheaper or better games?

              We just don’t know yet, but surely MS are aware that if they launch a console day 1 and it’s servers crash so nobody can use the system or people are getting locked out of their games when their internet drops out….. that shit is going to be fatal for the console. I’m really glad that the PS4 seems to be heading in a different direction too, just in case MS f*cks this whole thing up!

                For me, the problem I've got with always-on DRM is that it doesn't work. The games always get hacked anyway and you end up with pirated versions floating around that play just fine without the server connection. Meanwhile it's the legitimate users who end up copping the brunt of it when things go wrong (either at the server end or with the user's internet connection), leaving the pirates with a superior product to the legitimate, paying customers. I had an issue with my line at home a few years back that took them almost 2 weeks to fix. In that time I had no internet connection at all - if I'd been unable to play my single player games offline I would have been angry.

                It won't lead to cheaper games. The fact is that any money saved as a result of any theoretical drop in piracy will go straight into the pockets of publishers and their shareholders, not to gamers in the form of cheaper games. Probably the guys in the sales and marketing departments will slap themselves on the back and get huge bonuses for the increased sales. That's where the benefits of this will flow, not to customers.

                They don't need DRM to reduce piracy in order to make XBL free. PSN, Steam and pretty much every other online gaming service are already free without the always-on requirement. If they want to make it free they can just make it free. Hell, at this point it should be paying for itself just from the ads.

                  I agree that it hasn't worked in the past. That said PC's and consoles are very different environments. I'm pretty sure it will be more complicated than logging onto Pirate Bay if you want priated games on the next Xbox.

                  We don't that it won't make for cheaper games either (even though i'm certain we won't see a huge drop in costs). Steam, for example, is known for having great sales and for being much cheaper than walking into a physical retailer.

                  There's no mention in any of this as to what happens if you can't get online. Everyone is just assuming the worst based on previous mismanagement.

              Sorry, my bad. I read it didn't have a tray somewhere, and it just stuck. That said, if the causals can't borrow games from their mates, I think this thing is dead in the water. I know a lot of gamers, and as we push towards the causal end of things, I get a lot more 'can I borrow this'.

          I think you are correct.

          It is not odd for a company to purposefully leak these sort of details to gauge a reaction. I think they have, and they continue to leak it themselves (in some instances, not all obviously), and are probably rethinking the extent of their stance on always online requirements.

          And I suppose people like me, who can't use consoles on the internet due to using mobile broadband, can go fuck themselves?

            Maybe.

            The same as people who don't want to buy the console can got fuck themselves, or the people who don't have HD-TV..... or the people who don't own top of the line PC's can't play new PC games.

            It depends on how it's structured. It should be noted that it says "always on, always connected" but doesn't say anything about how that actually works or what it means for offline users. It might just mean that it's intended to be always on with no negative concequences if it's not.

            For example my iPhone is intended to be "always on, always connected", and they say things like that when they sell it to you as a marketing thing. That said it still runs apps that don't require online to funtion when offline.

            2 things:

            1) I've tethered my Xbox and PS3 to my phone before. Hope you have a decent data limit.

            2) Most likely, yes. Microsoft are probably saying "Go fuck yourself" to someone who is most likely a TINY percentage of the market.

              You think a TINY percentage of the market would be annoyed to waste their internet usage.

              Everyone in Australia has data limits.

                No, I think a tiny percentage of Xbox users would only have mobile broadband. Like, less than 2% tiny.

                Why would they care about such a tiny percentage? Honestly. I know that sucks for those who make up that tiny percentage, but look at it froma business perspective.

                It's the same reason Australia as a market gets shit on all the time. We a such a small share of the market so no one cares.

                I have a 1TB limit and Live has no data use with iiNet...
                Sure we have shitty internet providers but there are plenty of plans and isp's that are more than capable of providing internet services for Xbox live...

                Besides always online is pretty much what we have now. Turn a console on and it connects to the internet.
                Not a big deal.

                And there will be offline options. It shouldn't even be said there wouldn't be -.-'

        Because that person is Xbox fanboy and he can't accept insult to his favourite console.

      Speak for your self. Whenever I use my xbox 360 I am always online anyway, I don't think I have lost connection with my ISP for over 4 or 5 years. As for used games, I don't buy them, I do buy 'new' games later as their initial price drops or are discounted but I rarely if ever have even purchased a used game for my console. This is how gaming consoles and games will be in the future anyway, get used to it or get over it.

        You're such a dickhead.

        "Get used to it or get over it"? Did you spend all night on that one between telling people to "love it or leave it"?

    I play on my ps3 or wii simply because my internet is down....

      So much this. So so much this.

      I havent finished Super Paper Mario because my net came back up just before I finished it :(

    Let the resurgence of PC gaming begin!

    "The King is dead, long live The King"

      Long live DRM!

        coz forcing a console to be always online has nothing to do with DRM right?

    Heh, i never owned an xbox and now i guess i never will.

    "always on, always connected" could also be reference to the backend update systems?

    I would just hope there is some form of offline mode or a good enough count down (few days) for offline play or this would kill most lans these days :/

    Last edited 21/03/13 8:27 am

    I love console games... some games are just better (a better fit) on the TV... that said, with how things are going even if I buy the new consoles it will be purely for exclusives.
    You can get the PC versions of most games cheaper on steam, and whilst you may not be able to sell the ones you no longer want, at least it's cheap.. and it has an Off-Line mode. If it's on PC I get the PC version nowdays... I can always use a MS gampad (or one of the Logitech ps3 clones) on the PC and HDMI has made hooking a PC up to a TV a piece of cake.
    With both the new Xbox and the PS4 running what amounts to PC hardware there should be less exclusives (as porting between consoles and PC should be almost a nothing more than a recompile for the OS). The new systems exclusives will be purely a matter of Sony, MS giving the developers a truck load of money to have an exclusive... I'm hoping that we just end up with PC emulators capable of running the exclusives.

    This is the best news ever!!!!!...............for the ps4.

    I'm looking forward to hearing more of resignations and people being blamed over obvious dumb sh!t such as this. I hate the whole cloud bs.

    If this goes ahead with always-connected infrastructure, my 360 will have be the last console I'll own, probably. I was never a fan of the PS3 and never really got into the Wii (but my under 7 nephews LOVED it, which is probably why), but I did enjoy my xbox from time to time, mostly for GTA themed games. I'm a PC gamer, so the majority of what I play is superior to the console versions anyways (ie, Mouse/Kboard > controller for me.), but this is really disappointing to hear. Microsoft really is shafting it's customer base by adopting the DRM gamers hate the most!

    Me and my handhelds are getting closer and closer every unconfirmed rumour. *floating hearts*

    Always connected doesnt really mean "DRM".
    Sure you might need to register your game (a la Steam, Origin, etc) but nowhere does it say that you need to be online to play your game.

    I find it funny that as soon as people see "new platform must be connected to the internet" they jump the gun and assume it means that evil DRM is coming for us all.

    I tend not to buy second hand games, so the whole argument around now being able to play second hand games is moot for me. Other than that my console is always connected to the internet (except for outages) so it shouldnt be a big deal.

      'Sure you might need to register your game (a la Steam, Origin, etc) but nowhere does it say that you need to be online to play your game.'

      Under any reasonable definition, this is also DRM. My question is this: if they are providing non-transferable downloads only, are they going to drop their prices to those of steam.

    Congrats MS, if you do this you will hand the title of best next gen console straight to Sony.

    People won't put up with this shit (well, morons will).

      ...and dumb parents who jack shit who buy their gaming warez for their little brat kids from price gouging dept stores or outlets like EB.

    i love Microsoft consoles and this a a bad bad mistake if they go ahead with it. Ill just stick to my wiiU if it happens.

    More Kinect shit shoved down our throats, activation systems and no playing from the optical drive. If you buy this steaming piece of shit, you're part of the problem that is killing gaming.

      I want the next consoles to blow me away, but I'm perfectly happy to leave all those gaming dollars I would have spent on awesome holidays instead.

      Samtheman, your comment is absolutely spot on!

    Actually the document refers to the console being always on, as in, goes into a sleep state to download updates and the like while the console is off.

    It says nothign about REQUIRING an internet connection to fucntion.

    Even the PS4 will be 'always on' in the same way.

      Precisely. Durango will implement different power states so that it can always be powered on, but will draw minimal electricity when not in use. The console will be ready instantly when users want to play, and will always maintain a network connection so that console software and games are always current. With this "Always On, Always Connected" design, users will quickly and easily enjoy their connected entertainment experiences, with no waiting for their console to restart or install updates. No mention of using it for DRM/game registration, no mention of requiring the internet connection to perform any function other than stream updates to the console. Also worth mentioning that this is the only place in the linked leaks that refers to "always on, always connected".

      Last edited 21/03/13 2:49 pm

        Are you that stupid?

        What the fuck do you people think " ...will ALWAYS maintain a network connection..." means ?

        Because it means it requires a persistent 100% connected console, meaning it wont work without one. No matter how that is used its DRM to its absolute core, there is no ifs or buts about it.

        If anything of the sort happens Microsoft will be shooting themselves in the face, with a shotgun and to be naive enough to believe anything else is both hilarious and sickening at the same time.

          Read beyond those six words: "will always maintain a network connection so that console software and games are always current". That is the (specific) reason given for the feature. In the absence of further information, that is what I think it means.

          I'm only going off the information given, and the documentation says "maintain", not "require". My antivirus does the same thing to stay up-to-date, and it works very well. To infer beyond that without further information is to join the tinfoil-hat conspiracy theorist group. Google is not selling your information to black-hat hackers in China. Activision is not trying to take down the games industry from within (however much it may seem that way). Kinect is not recording every word you say and sending it to the NSA or ASIO - you are not that important. Don't always assume the worst. Unless you do have conclusive proof to the contrary? Please, share it with us.

          Yes, it could be used for DRM, but every reference I see to this "always on, always connected" thing is in the context of updates only, and until something is leaked or announced that explicitly (or close enough to it) says it will not play used games, I doubt my opinion will change. Besides, I'm pretty sure that Microsoft are savvy enough to know that the sort of DRM you're implying would kill their market, and, frankly, they're not that stupid.

            Do you know how lawyers and businessman talk?, half truths hidden behind sentences such as the one i quoted.

            It does not say it will maintain an internet connection for updates. It says it will ALWAYS. Which is the key word there, its only 1 word but it turns the whole sentence sinister.

            IT DOES MEAN that it will be a forced internet connection only, thats what ALWAYS means. The difference is what it means by always connection, can we still play games without it etc etc.

            But anyway you slice it its still and ALWAYS connection thing and as asuch we will be punished one way or the other for when its not conencted, no matter how small that punishment is, it is still DRM.

            From there it is easy to think that with 1 switch of a button they could simply disable the console without and internet connection. Just like the proposed aussie firewall " it will only block illegal sites" which then went out a ban things like abortion and politcal things. There is no way in hell they can be trusted with anything close to a permanent connection requirement.

    It's a simple matter. My tolerance level for the minimum quality of experience on a console is what the current generation offers. A product that offers a lower quality of life than the current generation is simply not something I'll buy; I'll stick with a PC.

    TLDR; I won't buy a console with this technology.

    Well my wallet just breathed a sigh of relief. One less console for me to worry about.

    I'm gonna be the one that says IDGAF if this is the case. I will buy Xbox regardless (not just because I am a fanboy) and I imagine it will still offer the best gaming experience.

      This is why we can't have nice things.

        1. I think it will cut out a lot of the bull shit under 13 year olds who make online play frustrating at times.
        2. I'm sure if they really were to go down this route, they would have a good reason for it and it would only lead to a better gaming experience.
        3. I don't see the big deal.

    Everyone missed the Big Brothery goodness of this statement "..Kinect sensor, which will be required for the system to operate." Hmm smells like biometric scanning DRM on start-up.

    But we're still gonna buy it. Can't deny the fact.

    Until Microsoft come out and tell us they want to alienate their customer base, I'll take these rumours as possibilities not facts.

    I don't have the most reliable internet connection, and I live in a Suburb of Brisbane. So I'm very much against the always online concept. But 99% of the time I am online but if that connection is disrupted or my brother decides he needs a power point and turns off the router I don't want my game to freeze. What I am a fan of is works better online, games that prefer a connection, and I do see many many games going this route.

    Id' wager most of the whole "Well, that's my decision made for me" crowd are those who were never planning on buying an Xbox anyway.

    Firstly, there's nothing about DRM, Blocking used games or REQUIRING an internet connection.

    Secondly, the stuff that leaked document DOES say is actually awesome.

    Installing our games then not needing the disc? So I can justy jump between games and put them in a suspended state? Yes please

    All my data is being updated and is ready for me when I INSTANTLY wake my console? Yes please

    An enhanced version of Kinect whose gesture and voice recognition is even better than it currently is? Yes please.

    Even IF the console blocks used game. For me personally, it's not an issue. I've bought maybe 2 used games in my whole life. If sacrificing something I never used means I get all this other cool shit, then block used games. But I'm aware blocking used games would suck hard for the majority.

    Last edited 21/03/13 3:14 pm

    If it's a form of DRM means I don't have to put games into the disc tray I'll be a happy man. But if it means I but a new game and can't play it on both xboxes in my house then boo.

    Either way, we don't have any actual facts. There's a lot of Chicken Littles here running around saying the sky is falling.

    The irony of all this is that currently only half of all Xbox 360s are actually online. So when people buy a 360 - they don't bother to put it online (I didn't for the first 4 months! and I know people that still don't have theirs online)

    Microsoft knows that these customers exist - why would they lock out those potential sales?

    Tagline:

    Now /every one/ of your games may be just as fun as Simcity!

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