Xbox One Does Require Internet Connection, Can’t Play Offline Forever

Xbox One Does Require Internet Connection, Can’t Play Offline Forever

The Xbox One doesn’t have to be online all the time, but it does have to be online. Not just once in a while — once a day, according to Microsoft vice president Phil Harrison.

In a Q&A on its press site for the new Xbox, Microsoft tackles the always-on question with a strangely worded answer: “No, it does not have to be always connected, but Xbox One does require a connection to the Internet.”

At the event in Redmond today, Kotaku boss Stephen Totilo asked Phil Harrison for clarification on this. And what Harrison told us might not please people who enjoy playing Xbox on military bases or other locations without internet.

“There are many devices in your life that require the internet to function,” he said. “Xbox One is no different in that it requires, at some point in the beginning and at various times through its on state, to connect to our cloud and to our internet. That is to deliver Xbox Live functionality, that is to deliver download content to you, that is to deliver some of the innovations around TV and entertainment that we showed today. But it doesn’t require it to be online all the time.”

So how often does it check your connection? “Depends on the experience,” Harrison said.

“For singleplayer games that don’t require connectivity to Xbox Live, you should be able to play those without interruption should your internet connection go down. Blu-ray movies and other downloaded entertainment should be accessible when your internet connection may be interrupted. But the device is fundamentally designed to be expanded and extended by the internet as many devices are today.”

And here’s the bombshell:

Kotaku: If I’m playing a singleplayer game, do I have to be online at least once per hour or something like that? Or can I go weeks and weeks?
Harrison: I believe it’s 24 hours.
Kotaku: I’d have to connect online once every day.
Harrison: Correct.

So the system is built to work even if your internet connection goes down, but you still have to be connected at least once a day to use it, according to Harrison. We’re not sure exactly what would happen if you don’t connect once per day — and that timeframe could change — but this doesn’t sound good for anyone who was hoping to use Xbox One without an internet connection.


  • I can’t think of a single device that REQUIRES the internet to function, except for devices specifically tailored to accessing the internet itself.

    Go home Microsoft, you’re drunk.

    • It will still function, you just won’t be able to do things that require internet.
      Have you used a Pc in the last couple of years without a net connection? Or a phone? It’s pretty crippling to its functionality.

      It sucks that they are going to artificially limit the console but let’s be real, most devices need internet at least once a day to be useful.

      • I can still make calls on my phone even if I can’t get access to the internet on it, because making a phone call doesn’t require the internet. Requiring an internet connection to play single player games is like saying your phone won’t be able to make calls if it can’t access the internet.

        • I just have to say, all cell phone networks in the US are moving to LTE, and then afterwards will be moving to VoIP for LTE (VoLTE or technically mVoLTE). So your point is only correct for now. Soon, you will have to have internet to place a cell phone call. But “soon” is probably at least 7 years away.

      • But the XBOX’s core functionality doesn’t. The once a day rule is completely arbitrary. It’s an artificial requirement so it could be once every thousand years if they chose to. More importantly it could be never.
        It’s like requiring once per day internet access for a USB drive. Odds are you can meet that requirement 99% of the time but nothing about transferring files between the drive and a PC requires an internet connection.

        • From my point of view, any new feature needs to pass the “my benefit” test. I.e. I need to look at it and be able to see how it benefits me. I look at this (and the used game stuff they talked about) and all I see is benefit for MS and big publishers like EA etc. I don’t see any benefit here for me, the consumer, whatsoever. So it fails the test.

          • Yep. I’m willing to include ‘the industry’ under my benefit, so a few things slip by. I’m also willing to accept things that aren’t for my benefit but don’t hurt either. This is by no stretch one of those times. Frankly it’s aggressive.
            Granted I understand why they’re doing this. They don’t just want to impress EA they want to make the platform desirable to them to secure exclusives. It’s just that they’ve chosen the route that sells us out completely.

          • I did just think of one benefit. Increased gamertag security. Expect them to play that one up while downplaying the fact you need increased security because they’ll hand the keys to your account over to anyone who can answer basic questions about your account.

        • The quotes in this article are at odds with each other. First he says that single player games and movies could be played without interruption. Surely the 24hr one is taken out of context? Even if you have a stable, permanent connection, what happens if you go away for the weekend? Do you need to take the Xbox with you, or leave it on while you’re away?

          And what could the possible consequence of not connecting once a day? Does it brick your console until you reconnect?

          • What I believe he means is that the single player games and movies can be played without interruption when the connection dies, but if it goes longer than 24 hours the XBOX will do whatever it does.
            Ie, if you’re playing Dead Rising and your connection drops, you won’t be sent back to the title screen. It will display the usual ‘disconnected from XBOX Live’ alert and you can keep on playing. However if the connection hasn’t been restored within 24 hours you’ll be booted from the game if you’re still playing and be unable to launch new games.

            I would imagine it’s similar to the current system. When you haven’t connected in the past 24 hours and you try to launch a game it’ll give you an error message telling you to sign in to XBOX Live (with no option of continuing without signing in). This will almost certainly apply to other apps as well. Although it’s implied that it may do that at a much earlier point.
            It could be as bad as cutting off access the basic menus after the console has passed the 24 hour mark. It’s all completely arbitrary so it could be anything between almost bricking your console and simply not letting you play games on it. Right now it’s best to assume the worst and hope for the best, even if the best is still pretty unreasonable.

      • Foggy, just on Saturday just gone our internet went down, so did the internet of many TPG customers in Brisbane, this was due to some sort of weird fault that took them a few hours to correct but there have been cases where this sort of thing has taken a day or more for people – that the first problem with it. Now being only a 24 hour requirement mitigates it somewhat.

        The second problem is this – when I bought a 360 (in 2009) I did not have the infrastructure in my house (as in I did not have a router, let alone a wireless router, let alone a wireless adapter for the 360 or a 360 hard drive) I accumulated this stuff over time and about 5 months after I bought it I put the machine online and I’ve had a great experience.

        I know people – who have NEVER taken their 360 online ever, in fact there are a lot of people like that if you listen to Microsoft’s own statistics.

        Granted in the advent of iPods and smartphones etc a lot of people will have wifi in their house now that didn’t 5 or 8 years ago but there’s still a whole type of consumer that Microsoft is shutting out with their quest to “dominate the living room!”

        • above example is great here is another …

          say for e.g u relocate your adsl service.. which would take you at least 7 – 14 days to relocate
          and not including any fark up wholesale does in the process to prolong the issue or new copper line need to be installed etc..

          during that time are you telling me that i wont be able to play on my xbox while i dont have a connection to entertain myself during that time?

    • You’ve won the internets today in my book. Now it’s time for me to go to bed. I’ve clicked “Next Page” enough for one day.

      No, seriously. I’m tired and I have to go to bed. I hope I can find a long enough ethernet cable to put in my mouth while I sleep. I don’t have built in wireless yet. Need to download that new walking patch along with the latest brain firmware. It hate to leave the house tomorrow and not be the latest version.

      Then I’ll have to make sure I reconnect by midnight tomorrow so I do not turn into a pumpkin. Then Microsoft can monitor my conscious activity so that I don’t red ring. And the Kinect sensor can sing me a lullaby to ensure the best possible performance from the stupid built in features like showering, shaving and taking a dump. That reminds me. I want the new poo ticket customisation dlc to release already.

      “Acheivement unlocked – You have connected successfully”.


  • well I guess myself and a multitude of other Australians and people will be switching to playstation for our next gen console of choice

    • “Deal with it”? Really? You’ll be amazed at how many people still do not have an Internet connection at home. And it’s usually because they simply aren’t able to e.g. They live in a unit. And even for the people WITH an Internet connection, say my provider has outage or my modem breaks down… Then I won’t be able to play my Xbox One? That’s just a load of bull.

        • That’s not a tantrum, that’s a rational statement. He doesn’t like what X-Box has done he’s simply moving to Sony.

          You’re the one being childish here.

    • Um, you people realise that this is a ‘pun’ (wrong word, but can’t think of the correct one atm) using the exact term that the Microsoft guy himself used?
      I think it is intended more as a jab using Microsoft guys own term, rather than ^ this guys actual thoughts…
      (of course I could be wrong)

  • I can’t help thinking of the traffic add about the safety rating for cars…
    “If your console requires an internet connection, cross it off your list.”

    • Have fun failing to play any game because “Xbox Live servers are currently down” or “Cannot connect to Xbox Live, please try again later.”

      Internet speed is irrelevant when trying to connect to useless servers. I’d have thought people would have figured that out by now after Diablo III and Simcity…

      • Or fiber cable is torn up by some idiot in a digger. That or we have another natural disaster like the floods earlier this year and the whole of north Queensland is without internet for two-three days.

  • The internet connection requirement is DRM, plain and simple. Games are installed onto the HDD and don’t require the disc to play, therefore content needs to be checked by M$ servers regularly to ensure multiple copies of the same game are not being used on multiple consoles.

    • Theres another possibility too, so they can refresh the advertisements.

      They would be making some coin from XBL adds now and that would be based on the number of connected 360s. If you force ALL xboxs to be connected the audience is much larger for their adds which will correspond to more revenue for them.

  • So first MS says you have to pay full price AGAIN to play a game in a friend’s console, and now this…


  • I have a BS fast internet connection, and have always had an xbox, but out of sheer principle im out.
    My xbox is what i use when my net is down, or when i move and have to wait 2-3 weeks for a net Connection.

  • What’s the big issue? So what if it needs the internet? How bad is your internet at home if this is even a little bit worrying to you? Maybe you shouldn’t be concerned about this, but more on changing to a different and better ISP. So dumb.

    • What about people that cant afford internet? Or are limited to one isp? Or maybe they just dont need internet to breath?

      • Poor example. People cannot afford $30 each month for an internet connection that does a pagefile check on the system but they can afford a system as expensive as an Xbox1? Very poor example.

        • Not really, in the time i worked at Harvey Norman (I know, kill me). Majority of consoles bought were gifts, only about one in three purchases was for themselves.

          • Some people also believe in God and others use crystal meth to the destruction of their own lives. Buying a console from Harvey Norman isn’t so bad.

        • Not really, lots of people recieve these things as gifts, i got my 360 when i had no internet, i went without it to buy the thing, my sister and husband cant afford internet, they dont even have a landline, they have an xbox that was a present and borrow games off friends, not everyone has money to waste on an internet connection, there are still people i work with that have no computer or phones that can access the internet, why should they be forced to connect to play a 1 player game?
          Its only a poor example if you have never met anyone that cant affort internet

          • I work at Telstra and I deal with people on centrelink, pensioners, students and people on disability payments. These people are by Australian standards classified as living below the poverty line. All these people can afford the internet, with TELSTRA(!), because they don’t waste their money on frivolous purchases.

            I know this sounds rude/harsh and I do sympathise because I myself come from a poor upbringing, but seriously, if you cannot afford a mobile(just a basic pre-paid) and an internet connection, then you cannot handle money. Same people who cannot afford this stuff probably buy brand name products and may or may not drink alcohol or smoke. /rant

            I wish it(xbox1) didn’t have this stupid policy, but it does, so you just have to make the best out of a bad situation.

          • There’s some pretty sound arguments out there about why the internet access is at this point in the western practically a necessity, following food, water and shelter it’s close to essential, and moreso if you need to find work. Granted access is seperate to home internet, but there’s plenty of people that would choose a lower rent trap with internet than without, or further budgeting on their food in order to afford it. This of course doesn’t really mean jack for this issue.

            Simple fact is most reasonable people aren’t super concerned about whether or not it will affect them personally, they’re questioning what this ‘feature’ actually adds for their benefit, unable to come up with anything and indeed finding negatives they’re choosing to opt out as is their right as a consumer, there’s other options for vidya games. Which begs the even larger question, how will this ‘feature’ actually attract customers to buy the product if it brings nothing beneficial to the table but only detracts.

            And then there’s principle, yeah it still exists, bit surprising and quite uncommon I know, but it’s there.

          • I’d argue internet connectivity is not the issue. I’d argue it’s Microsoft putting a restriction in that Sony did not. That’s the real trick here selling this restriction as a good thing when their main competitor doesn’t require it.

          • thats beside the point, the fact of the matter is that its an unneeded bad situation in regards to a feature that currently has absolutely no benefit to the consumer and only causes a hindrance. There are many games out there that have no online activity within whatsoever, many people buy games purely for the single player storyline and even if the game does have online features they choose not to use them, why should they be forced to connect to the internet just to enjoy their game?

    • I live in our nation’s wonderful capital city, and there are still internet blind spots here. The infrastructure is rubbish. My brother bought a new house and had to wait more than three years for the NBN to be rolled out because there was no other way to get internet to his house. For my part, I’m stuck with an ADSL 1 connection that drops out regularly.

      And that’s in a capital city. Not everyone has options.

      It’s Microsoft’s right to deny them access to the new console, but it will cost them business. That’s all.

    • What happens if you move house? Most people when they move go without the net (or are forced to use phone HSDPA connections) for weeks at a time.

      Hell, even a friend of mine outside Brisbane affected by the storms, and went without a net connection for almost 2 months while the lines were rebuilt in his area… What then?

      • I was internet-less for a couple of weeks (not due to a storm or anything, just something stopped working somewhere) a while back until Telstra finally pulled their finger out and fixed the issue. I could still play offline in the meantime.

    • Perhaps the problem is Microsoft and other ‘always/almost always online’ advocates treating the internet as a utility. This clearly isn’t the case in many areas where their market resides. Internet availablity is no where near as reliable or as ubiquitous as utilites like power, water and sewage yet.

      Also this system depends on both ends working correctly. What happens if Microsoft’s system stuffs up? Now you can’t play your *single player* game through no fault of your own or your ISP. Requiring a single player game to keep checking into a server is stupid and uneccesary. Especially since Microsoft says the game already checks in and verifies with a server on installation.

      The other problem is that some of us have data caps. We would like to manage those data caps by telling our devices when not to download stuff from the internet.

    • as i replied above, i’m on satellite. the latency means online gaming is impossible. it takes me 20mins sometimes just to sync with steam

    • Every played Diablo or Sim City or any MMO

      It is not my connection I am worried about. Maintenance is always in peak time for Australia also what happens if too many people try and log on at once?

  • So what happens if Xbox Live goes down for whatever reason or has a severe outage of several days? It’s an unlikely event but still possible.

  • I don’t really have any problem with this personally as a concept. I DO have Internet connectivity except in very rare situations.

    My concern is what this is going to cause on the other end. Every single big “always on” game in recent years has had authentication issues in the first few days/weeks. Now it’s a daily requirement baked into the system, it will definitely have network-wide outages on multiple occasions. And offering some free XBL gold time doesn’t really compensate for that free afternoon of gaming you’ve been looking forward to all week.

  • Yeah, I’m not going to get this. I’ve spent the last 3 weeks without internet connection as I was moving and thank God for the steam offline mode.

  • Wow, just wow. I have half a dozen friends who rarely if ever connected their 360s to the Internet because of home layout, no interest in multiplayer, etc. I have fantastic Internet so it doesn’t bother me, but the principle is absolutely horrifying – “we are going to force you to swallow whatever bullcrap we decide to fill Live with and you’re gonna take it”. If I had to choose right at this moment, I would happily pick PS4 tbh. And I was devoted to my 360…

    • Yep. Your ability to play your entire XBox game collection will be at the mercy of a bunch of script kiddies.

  • So fine when everything is all fine, but if you move house for instance and are without internet for a while, you can’t play games either.
    Or if your ISP is being a dick.
    Or if you’re going to a holiday house for a couple of weeks or something.
    Or if your router breaks.

  • I don’t think I’ve ever used either my Xbox or PS3 without an internet connection. I wont be buying two consoles in this gen, and permanent connection doesn’t phase me. Given how much effort Microsoft are putting into an ecosystem, and how awful a job Sony does at tying devices together, Xbox will be for me.

    • Whereas I’m getting the exact opposite feeling… Everything I see about the One is a way it’s worse than the 360.
      Sony are’nt a lot better, but at least they’re trying.

      And the Kinect must be plugged in to breach your privacy if we wish to makes me wonder if someone will build a hack dongle that pretends its a kinect where the only picture it sees and sound it hears is something the user prerecorded.

      And then there’s this madness

      So I think MS and Sony are racing to the bottom of the barrel, and so far MS are leading by a nose.

  • I think that even if people cannot get adsl/cable/nbn you could just tether and or use a wifi hotspot dongle from any carrier for it to do the check.

    • Sure. For an extra $20 a month on top of Live? Why not. That’s IF you can get the mobile broadband access as well. But that’s only one point of contention in a whole big ball of objections.

  • I’m one of those people who doesn’t usually have Internet!
    Get a better ISP? There are people out there who don’t live in the same house full-time
    Because of my work I’m often living in places where I can only get access to Internet cafe style shared wifi (paying per mb) or I use my own mobile broadband modem (even more expensive and slow), but sometimes I’m living in places that you can’t get mobile phone reception, so even that’s out. Disappointing to know that I wouldn’t be able to take the new Xbox with me for entertainment. Very disappointing. Remember the phantom??

  • I’m trying ‘really’ hard to not have to switch to the ps4. I’ve dedicated 6 yrs of my life on Xbox 360 and Xbox live, have established a respectable gamerscore and have met a lot of good friends online.

    • I was going to buy both and probably use the XBOX as my primary console, but Microsoft need to be made an example of here. Realistically this is only going to be an issue for me about four weeks out of the average year but I just can’t support this.

      • I am with the majority of people who do not lack the Internet connection required so that is not a problem for me. However I also agree with you @dogman, I cannot support that aspect. Like you also I will probably end up getting both consoles, though I will always have that thought in the back of my mind ‘Why Xbox?’

  • “There are many devices in your life that require the internet to function,”

    And we accept that because those items require the internet to function. The new XBOX doesn’t require the internet to function, it simply chooses not function without an internet connection.

  • So, let me get this straight, after a month of taking abuse from the internet over a mere RUMOUR that it will require online connection, resulting in someone losing his job for insulting the consumers for not being on board with the idea, they go ahead and announce it anyways?

    • That was always online, this is online check ins.

      It’s still a bad deal for the consumer. Many reason above have explained internet outages.

  • No thanks, Microsoft. This gen (or is that now last gen?) I had a 360 and PS3, but now I think I may just stick with the PS4, unless they pull a similar move (let’s hope not). Sure, I have a reliable internet connection, but what about those unexpected times when something breaks or stops working, or if my ISP decides to screw stuff up just for the lulz? What do I do with the Xbox One then? Use it to collect dust while I play a console that doesn’t force this sort of shit on people? I can do that without buying the Xbox One, which is exactly what I may end up doing anyway.

  • I like how people are all saying: “Screw Xbox! PS4!”

    Has there been any announcements saying the PS4’s ‘not’ going to have the same functionality restrictions? I seriously doubt they’ll be releasing just an updated version of the PS2. The 4’s going to do all the same crap this one does.

  • I most definitely will NOT be purchasing the Xbox One. I tether everything to my phone to connect to the internet and it is more than adequate to deal with this, but there is no way I’m purchasing a console that REQUIRES an internet connection for single player games. People are entitled to their opinions and I respect that, but for me personally, this is absolutely unacceptable. It sets a dangerous precedent, there is no justification for requiring internet connectivity.

    The PS4 has already been confirmed not to require an internet connection, thus I will be steering well clear of any game devices created by Microsoft. I currently own a PS3, 360 and a Wii. This will be my last Microsoft console, it’s as simple as that.

    I live in a rural area where my 3G connection is not always stable due to network congestion and distance from a large city. I have 10GB of data per month and despite it being more than enough, I simple despise the idea of a mandatory internet connection for single player games. I also own a laptop which I use on a daily basis, but I do not need an internet connection in order to use it. It’s about choice and principles. It’s needlessly invasive, pointless and unjustified. I connect my PS3 or 360 to the internet when I feel like it, not when Microsoft tells me I have to in order to play.

    So, you have lost a sale Microsoft. This is unacceptable to me. Bye bye.

  • The fact the MS still did this with such an enormous amount of backlash from their customer base is a pretty big turkey slap in the face. What happened to the customer always being right? It’s the principle of the thing.

    Also notice how there are a few people saying “I don’t mind this feature”, as in they think they can deal with it (so to speak), but no-one is saying “wow, what an awesome, useful feature to include in the new console. This will totes enhance my experience”

  • Nothing I have REQUIRES an internet connection, its a nice thing to have sure, but sometimes I dont feel like paying for my wireless (Yes, I pay by the day but get unlimited up/down for that day).
    Not even my phone – you know the thing that is designed to keep me in touch, NEEDS an internet connection. So fuck you Microsoft, my next phone will be a Droid (on WP7 now) my next PC will run Linux (or ‘gulp’ MacOSX) and my next console – It’s a Sony!!!

  • Wish you guys had asked what would happen if you don’t connect.

    Presumably it won’t let you play until you connect again….niiice.

  • Ugh this is so frustrating to me. seeing as my options are mobile or satellite broadband I think I am screwed for this next gen as there is nothing to say the PS4 will be any different. SIGH.

  • PS4 Is the way of the future. =p im one of these people who can be on the internet most of the time and i still hate being online to play singer player games its a stupid concept and the person who first thought about it should be shot. biggest issue with always online games is the fact these garbage american corporations don’t even host locally so i am forced to play with 200-400 ping

  • So once a day you have to check in with the Microsoft overlords to ensure that you are still staying faithful to their brand as they gaze across your Living Room with the Eye of Kinectauron. The unfaithful will hear the disapproving tut of Lord Balmer’thulu when they see that iPhone and Android tablet as well as the 3DS sticking out from under the cushions. A curse upon the one who should choose drinks with friends after work and a late return to their home for they will be struck from the Book of the Faithful. Eternal torment for those who find themselves unable to log in should flood, fire or storm render their electricity unavailable for days on end.

    Rejoice though Children of the XOne, for we live in an age where the internet is always available and no device ever goes wanting.

  • As much as this on most of the time feature appears to be an issue, I really don’t see the problem. Yes people have shitty internet connections, yes some people don’t like the idea. Those people should not buy this console. This console is clearly not for them.

    As to sudden issues with internet, what if your power goes out? Do you blame Microsoft for having to use power? No, you blame the idiot who crashed into a power line. It’s pretty straight forward, if Xbox One isn’t going to suit your needs. Don’t buy it. Take action by gathering people together and make a statement about not buying it.

    • The very large difference being, Zac, that the Xbox is incapable of working without power.

      It is however, perfectly capable of playing a single player game without an internet connection. But if you don’t let it phone home every 24 hours, it (i.e MS) deliberately closes certain functions to you (the owner), even though those functions (playing a single player game) don’t actually need a connection.

  • How can people not see the awful precedent this sets for DRM? They want a CAMERA attached, as well as well as checking up on you once a day like some sort of nanny! How is that okay with some of you? What about increased monitoring in the future if you bend over and take this? Is it an intelligence issue with you lot or what? Bloody gamers. Always happy to to get screwed over!

  • So basically I can play 24 hrs with Xbox one not connected to my wifi connection but after that I can’t play my games unless I connect it….if I go on vacation and decide to play when I get back home I just need to connect to play right?? It’s not like the Xbox one will become trash and I will need to buy a new one right??? I’m just confused by this

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