Ars Technica is reporting that they’ve received some internal documents from Microsoft that say that the next Xbox will indeed be playable without an internet connection, refuting earlier rumors that the console would have built-in “always online” DRM.
The information comes from an e-mail that was sent from Microsoft management to all full-time members of the Xbox team. The email says that while the Durango (Microsoft’s codename for the as-yet unnamed new Xbox console,) “is designed to deliver the future of entertainment while engineered to be tolerant of today’s Internet,” the system will also “Work regardless of their current connection status. Those [abilities] include, but are not limited to: playing a Blu-ray disc, watching live TV, and yes playing a single player game.”
So… yeah. All those rumors about the new Xbox requiring players to be online at all times? Probably complete BS. Of course, Microsoft has yet to deny the other rumors circulating around the system, such as an alleged lock-out on used games, mandatory installations for all games, or the use of some kind of next-gen Kinect sensor. The email does seem to confirm earlier rumors that the next Xbox will feature a Blu-Ray drive and that users will be able to watch live TV on it.
The thought of an always-online console always seemed like a dumb idea, so it’s good to hear that Microsoft has enough common sense to at least realize that being “always on” probably would’ve doomed their new console to failure. I was prepared to write-off the next Xbox if it did feature some sort of online DRM, but this news makes the console suddenly look like a legitimate contender again.
We’ll find out more about Microsoft’s mysterious new system later this month, when Microsoft will formally unveil the “Durango” to the public.