Required is never a word I have associated with gaming. For me, gaming has always had a context of freedom, whether that means exploring a new world that creative people designed, creating and customizing a character, or even just customizing a loadout for a game like Call of Duty. So when the word required shows up for anything other than a PC game it not only piques my curiosity, but it also confuses me as to why such a requirement would be made.
The Xbox One has already been announced as Microsoft’s next system, although the freedoms and requirements have been fairly blurry, to say the least. In a set of recent releases from Xbox Wire, it has been made official that the new system is, in fact, going to require an internet connection. The good news – if it can be called good – is that the connection does not need to be running consistently throughout the day, but instead the system requires a check once every 24 hours. If no connection is made within that time, the system will only be able to play for 24 hours and only one hour on a friend’s console if you are accessing your library through another system, “but you can still watch live TV and enjoy Blu-Ray and DVD movies” (via xbox.com).
On a certain level, it’s understandable; the world is more connected now than it has ever been before, and the Xbox One seems to be preparing for a day when gamers will be all-online all the time. Their timing is premature though, or at least, their expectations are. The world isn’t that connected yet, but by placing the timing restrictions on the ability to play away from an internet connection, Microsoft is limiting the players, especially with one hour play limit when you’re away from home, and limitation in gaming is rarely (if ever) a good thing.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as excited as everyone else to see what kinds of new innovations Microsoft is planning to release at E3. Specifically, I’m interested in the recent trend of free-to-play games that utilize microtransactions (especially around games like Warframe and Planetside 2, which have been announced/rumored as next-gen titles for one system or another). I’d also be interested in finding out the possibilities of MMOs coming to consoles and finally accessing cross-platform online play (maybe another reason for the persistent internet connection). On a more personal note, I can’t wait to see what has been done with Dark Souls 2 and hopefully hear them announce a release date, and the same going for Battlefield 4, Lost Planet 3, Watchdogs, Destiny, and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2, as well as the 15 exclusive titles that were announced at the Xbox One press conference last month.
The next generation of gaming is here, and while it may be off to a rocky start, E3 will hopefully clear up any remaining confusion and definitely give everyone a solid preview of Microsoft’s first new system in 8 years, with all the improvements and innovations that they’ve been able to make in that time.