The lights are on
The Game Informer reader polls that appear on the front page are often very revealing about our readership. For instance, I would like the 50 percent of you who never played Mega Man 2 to stop what you're doing and go take care of that. I'll wait.
Now that you're back (how long did it take you to figure out that you need to use the Bubble Lead?), I want to draw your attention to our most recent inquiry. We asked if you would purchase an "always-on" console (as Microsoft is rumored to be considering for the next Xbox). Out of the 900 respondents (as of publication), approximately 81 percent indicated that they would not be willing to purchase gaming hardware that requires an internet connection at all times. Of course, this is just an infinitesimal sliver of the global user base, but the trend is worth noting.
The numerical sentiment is backed up by some choice comments culled from a recent story we ran about the rumor (and the fallout over Microsoft Studios' creative director Adam Orth's impolitic statements on the matter).
"If this is true, I'll say goodbye to the next Xbox."
- Yukie Mayuzumi
"There's no way this is a good idea. ISPs go down, internet connections lost, NAT issues persist, some folks want to play in their SUVs or while traveling on vacation, and still others don't want to shell out $60 each month for internet. There's just no way. Nope."
"Seriously did the industry learn NOTHING from Diablo 3 and Sim City? Always online gaming is a TERRIBLE idea."
"If this is true, I see the xbox only doing well in the US. They severely underestimate the importance of offline gaming, especially in so many other countries."
The concern isn't unanimous, though. Many people aren't willing to believe Microsoft would make such a risky decision.
"I don't think Microsoft is in the business of not making money. They will want to saturate the market with the new Xbox consoles. It won't happen if they follow this rumor, especially if their competitors aren't going to. Also, too many variables to consider to actually believe this type of model will be successful. Homes with no/bad Internet connection, negative attitudes towards always online, no used games, competitors having a more favorable model, don't have as many first party IP's as Nintendo & Sony to help carry it, etc."
"I could always be wrong, but I actually have a good feeling that they won't require constant internet connection. That's a very risky move, and I don't think Microsoft would be irrational enough to implement that. They would lose too many sales over something stupid and insignificant. It makes no business sense, let alone gaming sense."
- Michael Hentemann
"I'm not going to believe in "require always-on internet" till last moment when Microsoft will say it from stage. It's too risky move, and very hostile to the consumer I think."
Whether Microsoft will, in fact, require an active internet connection to use their next generation console won't be known for certain until the company is ready to share. Based on rumors surfacing from tech blogger Paul Thurrott and affirmed to be accurate by The Verge's sources, Microsoft will be providing details on May 21, 2013. Even if the May 21 speculation doesn't prove to be true, this is a scant three weeks before E3. The gap is much tighter than originally intended, if previous rumors about a late April showing had any credence.
Email the author Mike Futter, or follow on Google+, Twitter, and Game Informer.