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Microsofts XBox One to Suffer Strict Always-On Internet Requirements

Friday, Jun 7th, 2013 (8:11 am) - Score 1,140

Consumers looking forward to the late 2013 launch of Microsoft’s next generation media centre and video games console, XBox One, will be frustrated to learn that the new system will be accompanied by some extremely strict broadband and internet connectivity requirements.

At the soft-launch last month Microsoft stated that its XBox One, which is apparently “designed from the ground up to be ready and connected“, will “require an internet connection” but the firm failed to clearly elaborate on precisely what that would mean (here).

We now know that the XBox One will allow owners to game offline for up to 24 hours on your primary console or one hour if you are logged on to a separate console accessing your library. In other words owners could be locked out of their entire catalogue of games for as long as you are without internet access (after the first 24 hours).

But don’t worry, Microsoft says you’ll still be able to “watch live TV and enjoy Blu-ray and DVD movies” (oh joy.. because we couldn’t do that already!) and apparently “every Xbox One owner has a broadband connection” (not in the least bit presumptuous?). Of course what they’re really saying is that it would be pointless to buy the console without broadband. But there’s more..

Networking Requirements

To ensure Xbox One works optimally and can offer the experiences described above, it is designed with the following networking requirements:

• For an optimal experience, we recommend a broadband connection of 1.5Mbps. (For reference, the average global internet connection speed as measured recently by Akamai was 2.9 Mbps). In areas where an Ethernet connection is not available, you can connect using mobile broadband.

• While a persistent connection is not required, Xbox One is designed to verify if system, application or game updates are needed and to see if you have acquired new games, or resold, traded in, or given your game to a friend. Games that are designed to take advantage of the cloud may require a connection.

It’s good to see that customers will be able to use the console with a broadband connection speed of just 1.5Mbps (Megabits per second) but the idea that this would deliver an “optimal experience” is perhaps a bit misleading. Anybody streaming HD or 4K videos, not to mention those who might be trying to download 20-30GB games online, will certainly need significantly more than 1.5Mbps for an “optimal experience“. Minimum might have been a better word.

Microsoft has also revealed that its new console will support the 5GHz wifi standard through its two wireless antennas. On top of that you’ll be able to access your entire games library from any Xbox One (i.e. a digital copy of your game will be stored both on your console and in the cloud [online]).

The Xbox One is also designed to “run in a low-powered, connected state“, which apparently means that your system, games and apps are always current and ready to play. So no more waiting for updates but you’ll still have to leave it connected to the internet in order to benefit.

One final point that Microsoft has clarified concerns used games (pre-owned titles). Apparently the Xbox One does support used games and you’ll be able to give your game(s) to friends, albeit only once (i.e. it can’t be shared to more than one other person) and only if you’ve known the friend through Xbox Live for more than a month.

Thankfully you’ll still be able to resell the game back to a retailer but only if that retailer signs-up to Microsoft’s scheme. Generally this should be free to do but Microsoft warned that “third party publishers may opt in or out of supporting game resale and may set up business terms or transfer fees with retailers“.

Speaking as a gamer myself and somebody who owns both an Xbox 360 and PS3, not that I ever get a chance to play either anymore, the new restrictions are somewhat discouraging.

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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