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back to article Microsoft Xbox gaffe reveals cloudy arrogance

On Thursday afternoon a Twitter conversation between Adam Orth, creative director at Microsoft Studios, and a developer friend about the contentious issue of server-connected gaming sparked something of a storm after being posted on Reddit. "Sorry, I don't get the drama around having an always-on console," Orth tweeted. "Every …

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If the next X-box is online-only, Microsoft may well have shot themselves in the balls. From what has been previously announced, the PS4 is not, and the Wii U sure as hell isn't.

Gamers see always-on connections as nannying, as the company watching over your shoulder to make sure you're being a good boy, and that's probably because that's exactly what they are. They're also a system of planned obsolescence, as the game can't live without the service, and they're a way of taking more and more private information from the end users, to be sold and used for more and more invasive advertising.

In short, online-only can continue to fuck off, and if the next MS console is online-only, a great many of their fans may say the same. It is far more likely to boost sales of the PS4 than the console it's designed for.

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This is the same issue I have with the new Sim City. I was about ready to buy when I found out it could only be played by being on-line.

WTF? Why? ...and no thanks.

Oh well, guess I'll stick with the old Civ, uh, whatever number I have.

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They would have to give a lot for it to be worth it. (My connection is fairly decent and stable.)

If they were to offer a choice of steam sale type prices (Always Online Required) or full RRP (Do what you like get the disk). I would consider it much fairer. Oh and removed the monthly xbox live gold fee.

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Whilst the 'looking over the shoulder' aspect is annoying, always on is simply impractical for many people. Our power supply is about as stable as a pisshead on a tightrope. Not a huge issue as gennies and ups smoothes it out but when ther power is out the internet is down. I'm not going to spend money on a console and games that need an always on connection for ridonkukous reasons like advertising (like it will make games cheaper?) or anti piracy (seriously, wtf would I pay 70bucks for a game so you can cripple it when its offline because you can't devise an effective protection system). I loved our ps3 as a games console and media center, would consider an xbox 720 but the ps4 is coming home if ms try this.

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> steam sale type prices (Always Online Required)

Steam doesn't require always on.

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When your power is down, good luck playing your console whether it needs a net connection or not...

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Re: > steam sale type prices (Always Online Required)

>It is far more likely to boost sales of the PS4 than the console it's designed for.

Yep, and given that there would appear to be less difference between the next generation of XBOX and PlayStation than between their current models, silly decisions like this on MS's part could have more of a negative impact on them.

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@censored

And why is that?

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RPF

Re: @censored

You have a battery-powered XBox?

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Anonymous Coward

The Xbox Next isn't online only. That's certified bollox.

nb - what has the Wii-U do to with it? This is about the next generation consoles. Not the last of the current generation....

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Anonymous Coward

"If they were to offer a choice of steam sale type prices (Always Online Required) or full RRP (Do what you like get the disk). I would consider it much fairer. Oh and removed the monthly xbox live gold fee"

Just download it from The Pirate Bay. Anything that makes itself inconvenient to use (Hello Disney Bluerays that force you to watch adverts before the movie) instantly joins my don't purchase list and I just download the free ripped version from TPB....

nb - you get what you pay for with Xbox Live. Its an order of magnitude better than PSN, and is actively moderated to remove idiots so I will happily pay a small amount for better service.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: > steam sale type prices (Always Online Required)

"given that there would appear to be less difference between the next generation of XBOX and PlayStation than between their current models"

erm, actually the latest info says that it is similar to this generation with the Xbox Next having a moderate graphical advantage over the PS4, just like the Xbox 360 does over the PS3. This is apparently down to Microsoft including a dedicated 'OBAN' Blitter chip.

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FAIL

When your power is down, good luck playing your console whether it needs a net connection or not...

Power supplies are taken for granted in most parts of the world, Internet however, is still a luxury to even first world citizens. Some parts are still stuck on dial up, good luck explaining to them that you are screwed and have to go buy a PS4 instead.

As for shooting themselves in the foot? this is more like shooting themselves in the leg with a sawn off shotgun!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: > steam sale type prices (Always Online Required)

Every rumor I've seen shows the PS4 ahead of the xbox.next in performance. And that makes sense, with Microsoft likely to want to keep the casual Kinect customers they need to keep the cost down. So if they are going to include a Kinect with every console then they have to cut corners elsewhere.

It's also the other way around with PS3 and xbox 360. While the xbox has a stronger GPU, the PS3 has the SPU's that more than make up the difference by offloading some of the work normally done by the GPU. It's no accident that the best looking PS3 games outdo the best looking xbox games.

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Re: @censored

I have a battery powered house (well parts of it anyway lol) for a minute or two until the genny can be started. if you had a dodgy street supply you would too. Not everyone lives in a city with lte and fibre and awesome utilities, those of us that don't adapt :-)

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Coffee/keyboard

[quote]As for shooting themselves in the foot? this is more like shooting themselves in the BALLS with a sawn off shotgun![/quote]

There I fixed that for your.

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Prepare for Boarding!

"Just download it from The Pirate Bay. Anything that makes itself inconvenient to use (Hello Disney Bluerays that force you to watch adverts before the movie) instantly joins my don't purchase list and I just download the free ripped version from TPB...."

I think that just about sums up the real reason for always-online. If we want developers to invest money in good games then they need a revenue stream they can rely on. The console provider who makes the most effort to lock out the pirates is going to attract more of the bigger games.

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Thumb Up

Re: > steam sale type prices (Always Online Required)

Exactly my first thought. Steam is a good thriving environment and I have many games there. You only need to go online once in a while to see what game updates are available.

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Anonymous Coward

@Rampant Spaniel

If you used English words like "generator" I suspect there wouldn't be any confusion.

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Unhappy

Re: > steam sale type prices (Always Online Required)

Although when you go online your Steam client will sent a few thousand "Achievements" (Wish there was an option to disable acheievements as I don't want people to know I know how to use a mouse for every game I own on it)

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Re: > steam sale type prices (Always Online Required)

Not YET...

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Unhappy

Re: @Rampant Spaniel

Slightly unfair comment I thought, as "genny" is a more than acceptable use of the short form of "generator" in the English language. Have a free downvote, who ever you may be.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: > steam sale type prices (Always Online Required)

It's no accident that the best looking PS3 games outdo the best looking xbox games.

Which has more to do with the fact that the PS3 uses a blue-ray drive so more textures can remain uncompressed and also the PS3 outputs true 1080p compared to an upscaled 640p/720p from the xbox.

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Re: @censored

Adapt for the few means "gennys" and batterys and business as usual. For the rest of "us" it means "nothing".

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In many backwards parts of the world you're beholden to the local telco and satellite dishes are hard to come by. Satellite broadband is often illegal and even where you can get it the latencies are going to put a severe crimp in any gamer's day.

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WTF?

As for shooting themselves in the foot? this is more like shooting themselves in the BALLS with a sawn off shotgun![/quote]

There I fixed that for your. fbsduser Monday 8th April 2013 07:51 GMT

You get over ball ache, but you'll never get your legs back.

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Re: > steam sale type prices (Always Online Required)

erm, actually the latest info says that it is similar to this generation with the Xbox Next having a moderate graphical advantage over the PS4, just like the Xbox 360 does over the PS3.

Not sure where you're getting that nonsense from. The 360 is markedly less powerful than the PS3. Developers like Sucker Punch have even apologised to 360 fans that their games won't be ported to the X-box, because it can't cope.

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Oh well, guess I'll stick with the old Civ, uh, whatever number I have.

I can confirm that not only is Civ 5 a better game, but you can play it offline to your heart's content. I recently did exactly that on a ten hour plane flight.

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Angel

"the most hardened atheist will pray to a god they don't believe in"

Dear Lord, please please please make the green lights on the flashy box thing come back on.

Ok, it's true.

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Re: "the most hardened atheist will pray to a god they don't believe in"

Personally, I'm more prone to vehement curses directed at the creator of whatever fuck-up I'm dealing with, than I am prayers to $diety for divine assistance. Much more satisfying and stress relieving.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "the most hardened atheist will pray to a god they don't believe in"

"May Offler consume the testicles of the idiot who came with this idea."

That kind of curse?

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FAIL

Interest dwindling

I have no interest in the new Xbox any longer.

I have been disappointed with some updates on the 360 to the system, removal of options, Microsoft's sense of control.

Always on? The thing is, when my net connection goes down for whatever reason - that's the exact time I want to play a game, because there's naff-all else to do.

We live in a world where most of us have shite connections. But the "cloud" evangelists have no idea about that.

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Happy

Re: Interest dwindling

"But the "cloud" evangelists have no idea about that."

No they do, they just don't care, but they do care about locking you in! Any pessimists in the house?

It's ironic that the "cloud" depends on a fast inet connection, because if you had a fast inet connection, you could just set up a "cloud" in your own home. In the US, inet providers are all greed machines. Until a "cloud" company can make them money, they won't bother upping your speeds and forbidding you from running a cloud at home!

Excluding parallel computing jobs, if you had a 1gb+ connection, why would you need a cloud? The answers are simply: License management! Ad targeting! Content control! Control control control! It's the 21st century version of Macrovision, but this time, you're what's playing!

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Devil

Re: Interest dwindling

I have no interest in the new Xbox any longer.

I have been disappointed with some updates on the 360 to the system, removal of options, Microsoft's sense of control.

Care to explain what these 'lost features' are?

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Anonymous Coward

..."disconnect between those in gilded ivory internet bubbles and the real world"...

"The software overlords of Silicon Valley and elsewhere seem to have forgotten however that the rest of us live in a world where internet connections can be spotty and expensive. Many of us would prefer to have code that they own and control without an internet connection."

Amen to that!

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If they would ony do it right, it might not be completely terrible...

Just after Diablo III came out I was playing it stand-alone when my connection to their server dropped out momentarily and dumped me out of the game. If they would only store the playing info locally and use that if the server connection drops it would be so much better. Sync the info from the local machine back to the server when the connection is good again, and then the player's progress isn't lost.

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Unhappy

Re: If they would ony do it right, it might not be completely terrible...

I have to agree 110%

Playing games in uplay, I've lost hours of gameplay to uplay. (didn't sync your hours of gameplay to our server before you lost connection? We'll revert to the last save which exited and synced normally.)

With origin, as wrong as EA is, you can at least choose which save you'd like to use. This is a feature which all cloud services must utilize. In the case of ubisoft, they simply do not care about you losing hours of gameplay.

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Holmes

Re: If they would ony do it right, it might not be completely terrible...

but if you ran the code locally rather than just having an interface to the game, you could run a hacked version on your own.

I'm going to track down the owners of all those 80's games, run them on an android emulator box for under the telly and sell bluetooth joystick controllers.

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Trollface

Re: If they would ony do it right, it might not be completely terrible...

"do not care about you losing hours of gameplay.

You never, ever, lose "hours and hours" of game play. You still have the memories of playing them, so they can't possibly be "lost".

Think of it as an opportunity to re-live those fantastic, stimulating and life-fulfilling moments all over again.

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Holmes

If that's true and the PS4 rumoured features are true

Then SONY has already won, imho.

Esp if they really are going to allow streaming of all PS1,2 & 3 titles (OK that'll need net but it's a particular use case) and they give sane access to people with original discs of those games.

Have XBOX360, PS3 and Wii here and the only next-thing I'm interested in is the PS4. The damned XBOX is already trying to upsell me stuff from the power-on homescreen (so it never gets turned on) and the Wii is fun but that's about it.

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Re: If that's true and the PS4 rumoured features are true

Streaming of past console titles is an aim - not a promise - expect something like xbox live classics (especially for PS3 games) where the more popular titles are likely to appear. I think the best bet if you got the old discs is to keep the old hardware.

I should be annoyed about xbox live adverts, but it doesn't bother me much - other people seem to be getting much more annoying adverts - looks like these console companies take it in turns to do arrogance and hubris - PS3 launch (and much of its history) is a train crash - but that didn't stop it getting ~50% market share (vs xbox) overall worldwide.

All this xbox bad publicity stuff seems (cynically) like damage limitation prior to the actual xbox++ unveil. .. lets the upset vent their spleen prior to the actual launch - basic MS is saying "this is going to hurt (you) a bit, so get prepared" - it's not clear if they're really going to go for full stupids but it's an interesting ride.

I though Adam Orth's tweets were pretty funny.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: If that's true and the PS4 rumoured features are true

Don't forget the PC titles too, as quite clearly Gaikai is totally platform agnostic. Sony can stream whatever games they can license to the PS4.

As for the Xbox "always on". It's more likely to be part of the advertising deals they are sorting out, to deliver 24x7 adverts to the Xbox Subscription Advert Channel (AKA Xbox Live), and also to send back informatin gathers by Kinect on what logos and branding you like and/or how many people are playing/watching.

Microsoft's patent on using Kinect to charge for the number of users watching a movie.

http://www.digitaltrends.com/gaming/microsoft-patents-kinect-anti-piracy-capabilities/

Microsoft's plans on using Kinect to look for logos on shirts etc, so they can serve up up even more adverts in the Xbox dashboard.

http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/ingame/kinect-lets-you-interact-ads-may-spy-your-mood-828447

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Anonymous Coward

Re: If that's true and the PS4 rumoured features are true

"that didn't stop it getting ~50% market share (vs xbox) overall worldwide"

But many of those were used only as Blueray players and Sony lost bundles on them.

In terms of games console market share, Microsoft is miles ahead - just look at the market share of sales for any game released on both consoles....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: If that's true and the PS4 rumoured features are true

You can block the xbox dashboard ads just search on Google. I believe it involves OpenDNS

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FAIL

Re: If that's true and the PS4 rumoured features are true

"Microsoft's patent on using Kinect to charge for the number of users watching a movie."

I really dont like the idea of my own games console peering into my front room, counting, judging, taking notes, before raping my wallet like a bloody high tech, privacy invading, pervy thief. I will never entertain any console that intrudes like this, they can take their xbox and fuck right off with this little penny pinching idea if it ever comes to fruition.

Same goes with always online games that dont need to be. If im in the zone, immersed in a singleplayer game and it kicks me out and ruins my enjoyment because the internet goes down, i would not be happy, in fact, if these rumours are true, I will head off the frustration and worry at the pass by just not buying their console in the first place. Im really hoping that these rumours are just people seeing pre-production dev boxes, upon which it would be sensible to require always online to keep track of where they are. Microsoft would lose a huge part of their userbase if they did this on production units.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: If that's true and the PS4 rumoured features are true

Microsoft are in last place with Xbox360 sales, despite launching 13 months before the PS3.

Their 70m or so console sales is built ontop a mountain of failed consoles where users have replaced them with new ones. SO it's actually only 40m ACTUAL Xbox360 users, of which only 50% of those pay for Xbox Live Gold.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: If that's true and the PS4 rumoured features are true

Microsoft have a patent to work out if you are blocking adverts, which blocks access to the bought game.

Outrageous, that they seem to think they can do this after you have bought the game. However there are too many braindead Xbox idiots that can't see what is happening infront of their eyes. This gen was about sucking you in, the next one ripping you off (even more than the double-dip subscription model they currently make you believe is worth the money).

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@AC 7th April 2013 10:57 GMT

You seems to be right concerning market share. Xbox has about 47% in 2012 according to Micrsoft(zdnet said NDP).

http://blogs.technet.com/b/microsoft_blog/archive/2012/07/12/xbox-360-holds-no-1-u-s-sales-spot-for-18th-consecutive-month.aspx

Although that is US market share. This chart:

http://www.vgchartz.com/article/250111/2012-year-on-year-sales-and-market-share-update-to-april-21st/

Would suggest that market share for the PS3(45.1%) is higher then the Xbox(32.7%).

Some of the games selling more on the xbox(see first link):

http://www.vgchartz.com/game/43311/tom-clancys-ghost-recon-future-soldier/ - 1.22m(XBOX)

http://www.vgchartz.com/game/43310/tom-clancys-ghost-recon-future-soldier/ - 0.74m (PS3)

http://www.vgchartz.com/game/51771/far-cry-3/ - 2.20m(XBOX)

http://www.vgchartz.com/game/51770/far-cry-3/ - 1.95m(PS3)

So yes, the xbox seems to be outselling the PS3 in games on those that I checked. But the PS3 has the bigger marketshare. I wonder what that is a about. Maybe a bigger second hand market? Or is it indeed so that the PS3 is a blu-ray player in many households?

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