MP1st Reader Blog: Is An Always Online Console Really That Bad?

The MP1st reader blog is an open discussion lead by MP1st readers about the multiplayer titles and topics we cover. To learn how to have your voice heard, check out the Blog section on the MP1st Forums in the Multiplayer’s Lounge.

With recent rumors heating up about the next Xbox being “Always-Online”, it seems to many that it’s the worst idea to ever face a console; Because who in their right gaming mind would want that? But, is it really that bad? Read on, and let the discussion begin.

First off, to honestly get the most out of your game, you need to be connected to the internet. Not only does being connected give you access to things like bonus content, multiplayer, and patches that fix game breaking bugs, but it also lets you play online with friends who have the same game. With no internet, you get none of those things, and while single player games seem like the route to go, they are becoming the minority of gaming. So many publishers and developers are finding that multiplayer expands the time of playing the game, increases profit, and cuts down the need for a story.

The rumor that surrounds the next Xbox is like a red ring of death(first pun, whaddup) and a lot of people wonder “What happens if Xbox Live goes down?”. Well the thing is, Xbox Live has only been down twice, once for an overload of new members during the holiday season, and a second time for sign-in issues that were fixed within the hour. Xbox Live is very reliable when it comes to staying online for the millions of users who are subscribed to their services, so rest assured that if it does go down again, it won’t be the end of your gaming career.

One thing that I think we all hate, is coming home from work or school after the release of new maps or updates and having to download them, and wait. With the console being always online, it could feature automatic background updates for the games you play, and the add-ons you pre-purchase. No need to wait anymore on the edge of your seat to play the new maps or use the new weapons everyone has been talking about, just power up and jump right into it.

Now, no good argument is ever without flaws, so here are some of the most prominent ones to the points made above.

Slow internet speeds are really the main problem people have with an always online console. If it is implemented, then even navigating the dashboard can be a slow annoyance, and those wishing to play their single player games now have to deal with lag.

Those of us who are soldiers, travelers, or just outdoorsmen who enjoy gaming on the go really get jipped. If you don’t have an internet connection, then you can’t play, and after a long day of shooting, driving, or fishing you just want to relax; But if this happens, then more stress shall follow.

If Xbox Live does crash, then we are all honestly screwed out of our day of play, and not only will it make gamers across the globe angry, it might even convince them to switch over to the PlayStation side.

In the end, we’ve gone over the best and worst of this debacle. Is an always online console really that bad after reading what you’ve read? Let us know in the comment section below.

Author: Pieky

Check out the original blog post on the MP1st forums right here.

  • cwatz

    Always online doesn’t need to exist. The only way to justify always online is if the cloud is actually computing game tasks and required to play a specific game designed around it.

    MS said its only a possibility and no one is even actively doing it at the moment. Even if they were, online should only be required for those specific titles using that feature.

    Always online exists because they want to screw game trading/borrowing/renting/piracy and so forth. Internet drops? Tough s***.

    This is 100% about microsoft and taking away consumer rights. The more you say “is it not that bad” the more companies will push on you as a consumer. They will slowly take more and more away because “it wont be that bad”, until you are getting completely F’d.

    So yes, its a big effing deal.

    • B_Boss

      Indeed, one of the biggest issues is online authentication. I believe “always online” is part and parcel of gaming for nextgen being primarily digital. There must be a way to ‘legalize’ your games and if MS or Sony cannot literally be in your home to ensure this, they can do it primarily via online networking (or the publishers). The online ‘pass’ from EA was a red flag.

      The average person, especially in unison, do not waste their personal time on trivialities….something big seems to be at stake here….

    • So piracy isn’t wrong?

      • RNPGhost

        Piracy is wrong, but an ‘always online’ console is not the only solution to that. Even if they made it so that you couldn’t install a new game without being connected to the internet, but then you could switch to offline mode (like Steam) then that would be better than continually checking for an internet connection.

    • Jason Davis

      What? You are over analyzing this way to much, Let us find more details about “How Long between routine checks”. We don’t even know how often it “NEEDS” to be connected and it’s NOT “Always Online Mandatory” but “Preferred” to be played that way. The “trading/borrowing/renting/piracy” you mentioned is up to the Developer and Publisher, even Sony has said the same. If the that Particular game supports it then so will the PS4 version im sure, I just can’t see One (lol) console doing this and not the other, and if so then that Console Manufacturer would get a lot more support from Developers and Publishers because of the DRASTIC profit they would make over the others who don’t implement it.

  • Kyle Jackson

    My PC is always online, no issue here 😀

    • AtheistMason

      Yet when you are offline you can play some of the singleplayer games…

      • Kyle Jackson

        Exactly 😀

        • AtheistMason

          So Xbox One would be fairly stationary…

          • Kyle Jackson

            Very much like a big paper weight.

  • i guess it would depend on the person and their income/area. where they live im sure higher class people *not rich mind you* who buy the expensive internet service and live in a place where having power going out or internet disconnects aren’t much of a problem. but for people like me and a lot of other people a AO console would be annoying and unwanted feature which is BOUND to have problems *look at diablo 3 and simcity launch.*

  • diminishingNova

    Always online doesn’t mean that the single player would be slow, they can just implement a checker which can check for online status rather than making the game work like a multiplayer, the content is still on you HDD, it doesn’t have to lag.

    I’m not with always online consoles, but that argument there made no sense to me at all.

  • Thomas

    I don’t have a problem with always online for a few reasons:

    1) I don’t buy games used. If I want a game or games, I budget accordingly.

    2) My internet is reliable. It’s gone down only once in the past two years and that was in the middle of night and only got screwed out of watching Netflix.

    3) I don’t travel with my Xbox, so I don’t have to worry about it being in an internet-free area.

    I know situations vary and that always online is pretty shitty deal for some people but, for me, personally, it seems like a pretty positive feature. If they made the always online an option that you could turn on and off that would a win for everyone involved.

    • RNPGhost

      An option seems like the best solution. Maybe including an offline mode would allow game authentication while not requiring a constant internet connection?

    • There are two negative aspects whose you didnt list:

      1) Some people have bad Internet connections

      2) Some people dont want to pay, to play, or dont want to play online at all.

      Otherwise, your points are well structured.

  • xHDx

    TBH, i dont see the big fuss over this i mean this is how reality is, were always connected digitally, and thats how it will always be, for most likely all devices.

    My internet went down a few times as i reset it so it can have a fresh boot but thats it. Xbox LIVE never went down from what i remember, and the online service can only get better. So in my opinion its not a bad thing, its more on the good side as it improves security.

    • TI_21

      In which way does it improve security? Oo

      Imho it conflicts with security and breaches my privacy when a camera + microphone want’s to look and listen into my or my friends house.

      They even admitted that they’d take advantage of the data they’d be grabbing with this device if you don’t explicitly tell the system not to use it.
      And everyone in the industry knows that there are a lot of people who don’t pay that much attention when they create their accounts.

      Heck, even your friends might not have been paying attention to it. And if they didn’t they might just use any data from you which they collected at your friends home.

      • xHDx

        Well, it improves security as it stops people from exploiting the system offline, because there wont be any offlien to use as a method of avoiding detection.

        I can see where this Kinect camera feature is going.

        I realy doubt this camera technology will be used forcibly. What i mean is; if you dont want to use it for privacy reasons, you don`t have to. I`m sure MS would be spammed with complaints if this was used without option.

        I think the Xbox One has been under to much criticism, and it isn`t as bad as it is made out to be. I`m sure there was criticism over the original xbox 360 but i don`t see anyone complaining now, or for the past 4 years.

        • TI_21

          There will be an option, they already confirmed that.

          But the default/”recommended” option will most likely be to give them all your data so they can make money on them.

          I don’t see how it’s more secure for the customers if everyone has to connect with their servers. When someone tinkers with their console offline it doesn’t affect the rest of the community in the first place.

          • xHDx

            They just use the Camera and Mic to make people “think” they are more secure, not actually making them more secure.

            Like how PS3 was hacked, the Head and devs of Sony said “We will make sure this won`t happen again” to make people feel safe. obviously they just get humiliated if it happens again. I mean have a look at this:


      • Thomas

        Allegedly, your face will be connected to your account and if the Kinect “sees” you and your settings are set to deny the use of any information obtained about you, I assume your settings would be respected.

  • Zwabber046

    I’m ps4 guy but I don’t think Always online is that bad but I have to include, I live in Holland and I think if you have average internet or a average router, it will most likely never go down, maybe once every few months for 1 minute but that’s it. And from what I hear, the internet infrastructure in other countries is just not good enough and maybe always online wouldn’t be such a big deal if that got to work properly all over the world

    • xHDx

      I agree, but the Devs go by the majority (most people have good internet). Its not our fault this kind of technology is evolving. People just need to keep up to speed, but obviously we cant always expect that. I think its better than no DRM because if you ever played COD4, GTA IV (all of the older games) you can see how bad they were all hacked and edited without people getting banned etc. I just hope we have much tighter security.

      • diminishingNova

        Most people still don’t have a very good internet connection, a lot of/most developing countries still have pretty bad internet infrastructure and that’s a lot of people, so, even if someone has the finance to get a better internet connection, they can’t because of their country.

        • xHDx

          I know, unfortunately MS can`t see that. But surely if those people don`t have good IC for Xbox One, how did they cope with Xbox 360?

          MS can`t help the people with these problems, but maybe they can help the countries with low quality IC companies?

          • diminishingNova

            Most people are happy with compensating with buying games that have a very good and long single player mode. I know a few people around me who have Xbox360 just for playing Singleplayer games and they do enjoy it too. Not everyone enjoys playing Multiplayer either.

  • oofy

    What about EVO? What about the approximately 1/3 of xbox 360 owners who don’t take their systems online? What about US territories that don’t have great internet penetration, but people buy tons of games and play offline?
    There are just too many people who are left out of the loop.

  • gamestop101

    Dude” my theory us if u have xbox live your online, everybody stoo bitching” it is happening can’t change it. This will stop piratcy, the xbox will do random updates to see if someone has a jtag. Videogameing will be fair again with no cheaters.

    • oofy

      Nothing can stop piracy. Maybe it will help curtail it somewhat, but there will always be pirates. The system will eventually be hacked. Not trolling, it’s just a fact: Every device is hackable.

      • xHDx

        I totally agree, but maybe they can release another Xbox after the Xbox one before hackers get into the system online. This way most people wont see the hackers as they will have moved on. Only if this was the case

  • Hank

    A. If that device has an EYE and an(always on) EAR designed into it. (I assume I’ll be able to disable those.)
    B. if that device does not have TOP-NOTCH security and protection.

    Being x86-based is great, however it also means suceptablitity to the same EXPLOITS/MALWARES/TROJANS that currently run wild in the PC environment. Since is closed OS—who will fix the inevitable outbreaks–and will that mean to availability of XBL and security of our data?

  • betosobreira

    MS wants do rip off piracy and that’s the only mean they can get it. I have no problem with “always online”. If I want an used game, I will budget it accordingly… and if there’s a fee, I’ll pay for it (except if it’s not that expensive).

  • It has already been confirmed that Xbox one won’t be always online….. -_-

    • xHDx

      I know but check the title of this article :). Its kinda semi-always online because if im correct MS stated that the Xbox One will need to “regularly check games”, which i guess is for security reasons , to check you have no mods. atleast we have some good security gates;

      < Logging into XBL
      < Checking Disc
      < Game checks itself online (better tech in Xbox One than Previous Gen)

  • paulinacio

    I’m curious if XBL Gold will be a mandatory to purchase for the XboxOne to work as well!?!? Microsoft hasn’t answered many questions and I’m very curious to see what comeback if any they will make at E3

  • xHDx

    When the new Xbox releases i doubt they will make you to buy “Gold Subscription” just because the console is mostly online. I mean Silver subscription was also online right? this was online, using Private chat but you did`nt have access to MP. This is perfect for people who want just SP. If you get sick of SP you can always buy a subscription.

    P.S Our XBL accounts, Subscription and Profiles transfer over to Xbox One

    Wow, guess what just popped up, and im sure a lot of people didn`t expect this:

  • I have more of an issue with the kinect always being on AND the One always being connected to the web than I do with anything related to gaming.

    Do you really want a corporation watching and listening to everything going on is your house? If you think those 300,000 servers are there for gaming, and aren’t there to gather data you’re kidding yourself. The kinect is going to gather information day and night, from you gaming and TV to what you eat and when you sleep. That information is then going to be sold to other corporations.

    No thank you, I want nothing to do with that. I’ll buy a One when I don’t have to have the kinect connected.

    • Jason Davis

      OMG lol, ITZ A CONSPIRACY! 😉

      • That’s not a conspiracy, it’s business. It’s smart business, and it’s exactly what’s going on.

        • Jason Davis

          I know, just joking with you! Put a sheet over it or don’t buy one if it worries you, but don’t be surprised if PS4 ships with it’s Move Kinect thing as well.

          • It supposedly is going to use facial recognition to make sure you are you. (DRM)

            The PS4 will supposedly work without the Move camera attached, and doesn’t have to be online.

            We’ll know more at E3 I’m sure, but I most likely will switch from Xbox to PS4 because I like what Sony has done with the PlayStation this time around.

  • awkenney

    There need to be a few arguments supported here. The trend is clearly single player and indie games, but you call single player a minority. Tomb Raider and Bioshock would disagree.
    Also, are slow Internet speed just a reality, or do they have more to do with fees and geographical region?

    • Ryan Merrifield

      The trend is single player games? So Battlefield, CoD, aren’t the majority of games being played? Many games are taking the multiplayer route; The Last of Us, Bioshock 2 had a multiplayer, Uncharted, and I believe Tomb Raider also has multiplayer. So I would still argue that yes, single player ONLY games are in the minority.

      • awkenney

        Single player only games are in the minority because they are rare. Not because single player “focused” games aren’t trending.

  • nah, my 360 is pretty much connected all the time

  • N64 FTW

  • Psychosis21

    What about if MY INTERNET GOES DOWN? ._.

    • Jason Davis

      Well it will work the same as X360, You will get kicked out of your online game and disconnected from Xbox Live, YOU CAN STILL PLAY SP GAMES OR USE APPS THAT DON’T REQUIRE INTERNET TO FUNCTION! IT’S NOT “ALWAYS ONLINE ALL THE TIME” Geesh, where do people keep getting info that “Omg its gotta beez onlines to workz 24/7-365’z!!!?

      • TI_21

        It doesn’t, even some SP games will require an internet connection. One example is Forza which seems to require a connection with their cloud system to function.

        • Jason Davis

          There has to be a back-up plan im sure of it!

  • Se7en

    Consoles is not phones or tablets. PERIOD. End of discussion.

  • Niosus

    I think there are a few misconceptions here. First of all, always online + slow internet speed doesn’t mean slow navigation. Menu systems are usually completely on the player’s system. Slow internet shouldn’t have that much impact on the player as well when in menus. Unless you’re downloading something, the amount of data that goes back and forth is very minimal. Images can be cached and should only be downloaded once and the rest is just text. As long as you have some internet, you should be good.

    The main issues with always on, at least in my personal opinion, are:
    – For how long will the servers be online and what happens afterwards?
    This is hard to answer, even MS probably doesn’t know. Chances are there will be not-as-legal routes to play your games by the times this comes around. Not as pretty but at the end of the day this is 10 years out so we’ll see what happens.

    – If XBL everyone is pretty much out of luck, but making tens of millions of people authenticate at the launch of a big game is tricky. Even Blizzard with 8 years of experience with always-online games (WoW, SC2) managed to run into a lot of issues around the Diablo 3 launch. Only to be followed by EA less than a year later. This doesn’t just happen with those games but is very common around the launch of MMOs as well. The issue here is: Every time a big title launches, the XBL authentication system to go down. This means even if you just want to play a nice SP game, if the next CoD happens to come out that day… well let’s hope MS is prepared for that.

    Anyway, right now we know very little except the known pitfalls. Steam seems to manage but they aren’t always on at a game level, just like the current XBL really. It will all depend on how MS designs their software and how much they’re willing to spend on making sure they stay online during big but rare peaks.