Next Xbox may not need constant Web connection

An internal e-mail, reported on by Ars Technica, says that Microsoft recognizes the need for the next version of its video game console to work even when it's not connected to the Web.

Jay Greene
Jay Greene Former Staff Writer
Jay Greene, a CNET senior writer, works from Seattle and focuses on investigations and analysis. He's a former Seattle bureau chief for BusinessWeek and author of the book "Design Is How It Works: How the Smartest Companies Turn Products into Icons" (Penguin/Portfolio).
2 min read

Plenty of video gamers had feared that the next Xbox console from Microsoft would require a constant Internet connection.

But a new internal e-mail to the Xbox team, reported on by Ars Technica, suggests that the console won't always need to be plugged into the Web.

"Durango (the code name for the next Xbox) is designed to deliver the future of entertainment while engineered to be tolerant of today's Internet," the e-mail said, according to the Ars report. "There are a number of scenarios that our users expect to work without an Internet connection, and those should 'just work' regardless of their current connection status. Those include, but are not limited to: playing a Blu-ray disc, watching live TV, and yes playing a single player game."

Microsoft declined to comment on the Ars story, or even verify the authenticity of the e-mail. Instead, the company trotted out the statement it's been offering with regard to Xbox rumors since announcing plans to unveil the next console on May 21.

"We're excited to share more about the new generation of games, TV and entertainment on May 21, but have nothing further to share at this time," a spokeswoman said via e-mail.

The internal email cited by Ars is unlikely to quell gamer angst about always-on connectivity with the next Xbox. The big concern is that Microsoft will require connectivity for game installation, potentially undermining the ability for gamers to play second-hand titles. For some, the need to be connected to servers is seen as offering few, if any benefits, for single-player games. Rather, they see it as Microsoft's way to thwart piracy at their expense.