The always-online future for consoles is likely coming soon and it’s coming fast, says Cliff Bleszinski.
Speaking on his blog, CliffyB said that former Microsoft Studios creative director Adam Orth’s recent analogies on how always-online can work were not far off.
Orth tweeted last week he didn’t understand the drama around an always-on console, in reference to into anger surrounding reports that the next Xbox will require an internet connection, and said it was part of the world we live in and people should just “deal with it”.
In response to BioWare senior gameplay designer Manveer Heir’s comment that people could lose their internet connection, preventing them from playing a game, Orth retorted “electricity goes out too”.
Bleszinski compared going always-online to when Microsoft made the decision to only allow broadband connections on Xbox Live, describing it as a bold move back them, but one which has now paid off with the advances in technology.
He also used an example of if a gamer went to a cabin in the woods and wanted to play games, but didn’t have an internet connection. He explained this was simply an edge case, and that a week-long vacation meant only 30 hours of not playing a game or on a device “that’s built for much more”.
“Technology doesn’t advance by worrying about the edge case,” he said.
“If a service is good then people don’t mind paying for it. My iPad is always connected because I love browsing Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook. I love the ecosystem of iTunes and the App store. If the ecosystem of an always-connected device is fantastic then suddenly people don’t really seem to notice any more.
"When electricity came along and people had to have meters attached to their house they didn’t mind because they loved the idea of light bulbs, electric ranges, and refrigeration.
"If we don’t have devices that aren’t fully always online you can bet your ass that we’ll have devices that encourage you to return to the online ecosystem in order to “check in” and make sure everything on the system is legit. Could you hack/jailbreak such a device? Sure, but that crowd will almost always be the die hard/enthusiast crowd that’s not the average user and makes up a small percentage of the potential sales."