Xbox One online strategy 'a good choice', insists Microsoft games boss

Platform holder defends "natively connected device" strategy

While consumers have responded negatively to the news that Xbox One will require an internet connection for mandatory online licensing checks to be carried out at least once every 24 hours, Microsoft insists it made a "good choice" in creating a "natively connected device".


Asked if he knew people would react so strongly to Microsoft's online strategy, Don Mattrick, president of the company's Interactive Entertainment Business, told GTTV: "Absolutely, it's a super passionate community of people... It's very important to them and they're opinionated and they're smart. So they look at all those things and say, 'Hey, is this going to impact me in a negative way?' And until you use it, it's really hard to understand what all the advantages are.

"It's a service-based world, if you think about things and how they get better with an internet connection, [and] that's a design choice that we made," Mattrick said. "I think people will appreciate it. It's something that when people experience it it's easier than having people like me describe it but it really is powerful. We did a lot of research and consumer testing and I think we made a good choice."

The executive also said: "I think people are going to love it and then they're going to understand what we're trying to create and how it links games and entertainment and the functionality of the box, some of the advantages that you get by having a box that's designed to use in an online state. To me it's a future proof choice and I think people could have arguably gone the other way if we didn't do it.

"Fortunately we have a product for people who aren't able to get some form of connectivity, it's called Xbox 360. If you have zero access to the internet, that is an offline device. Seriously, when I read the blogs and thought about who's really the most impacted, there was a person who said they're on a nuclear sub. I don't even know what it means to be on a nuclear sub, but I've got to imagine that it's not easy to get an internet connection. I can empathise - if I was on a sub I'd be disappointed."

Echoing Mattrick's comments, Phil Spencer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Studios, told Destructoid: "The 360 ecosystem is a great ecosystem for somebody that's in a purely disconnected state for long periods of time. We have built a natively connected device with Xbox One and we think the experiences are moving in that direction."

Spencer also said Microsoft has factored in allowances for things like internet downtime and restrictions. "If you look at the bandwidth requirements for this authentication it's very small. So if you think about something that you've downloaded and you want to go play, the bandwidth requirements are not going to be an issue.

"We understand what the internet is. We've built fault tolerances in our system like we have with Live in our past. We'll continue that. That's why we built this window in. Because we understand that things happen. My internet might go down, I'm in a metered system and I want to make sure I'm monitoring my use of the internet -- we've built to support those ecosystems completely."

On Monday, Microsoft announced a November launch window for its new console and an Xbox One price of £425 / €499 / $499.

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