According to an unconfirmed internal Microsoft memo, the next Xbox (Xbox 720/Durango) will allow users to access certain functions on the console regardless of the system’s internet connection status. If true, this seems to contradict prior rumors claiming the next generation Xbox would require an internet connection to work in any capacity.
The internal memo, obtained by Ars Technica, was reportedly sent out to “all full-time employees working on the next Xbox” and states the following:
“Durango [the rumored 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.”
Working under the assumption that the internal Microsoft memo is legitimate, this is certainly good news for anyone who doesn’t have a rock solid 24/7 high-speed internet connection — or anyone who is concerned that Microsoft might not be able to keep their own servers up every second of every day. With that said, the memo does seem to be worded in such a way as to leave open the possibility that the console might not be able to provide these limited functions in an always-offline environment.
For example, the “regardless of their current connection status” line could be interpreted to mean that a brief connection to the internet is required for certain functions — like installing or starting up a game. If this is indeed the situation, it is certainly a step in the right direction, however, it completely disregards consumers who don’t want to connect the system to the internet or don’t even have that option due to where they live.
Microsoft is set to officially reveal the next Xbox at a press event on May 21st, so we should get answers to most (or at least some) of these questions at that time. WGTC will be providing full coverage of all the announcements made at the event, so check back here for all the official details.