The folks at Ars Technica have come up with an internal email from Microsoft, making clear once and for all that the rumors of a constant internet connection being required for even offline functions are untrue:
“Durango [the codename for the next Xbox] is designed to deliver the future of entertainment while engineered to be tolerant of today’s Internet.” … “There are a number of scenarios that our users expect to work without an Internet connection, and those should ‘just work’ regardless of their current connection status. Those include, but are not limited to: playing a Blu-ray disc, watching live TV, and yes playing a single player game.”
This email should deter fears of those who believed the rumors that the next XBOX would shut you out of your gaming session should your internet go down. However the fact that such a wide spread memo exists tends to hint that this is a change of policy rather than an original plan. Said one commenter on the original article, “My work never sends an e-mail to everyone to say, ‘Just FYI, the policy we’ve had this whole time is still the policy. Keep doing what you’ve been doing.’”
Had Microsoft opted for an always online policy, it could have potentially been the biggest blunder the company has made in its long history. Thankfully, whether they had originally planned it or not, it won’t be the case when the next XBOX is announced on May 21.