Poll: Will an ‘Always-On’ Console Spell Microsoft’s Doom?

Despite almost everyone agreeing that an always-on console is a phenomenally bad idea, rumors continue to persist that Microsoft's next console will require an internet connection to start disc-based games.

Okay, fine.  Let's say the big M goes in that direction.  How do you think such a move will affect the sales of its new console?

If you check the poll on the right, your options range from "it will have little to no affect" to "Doomed!  Microsoft is DOOMED!!!"  Vote for the response that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside then fill up our comments and email (SuperPACpodcast@gmail.com) with your thoughts and opinions.

We'll discuss all this stuff on the next podcast, so long as EZK and I can avoid the plague.

"vote label" © Tribalium / Shutterstock. All rights reserved, used with permission.

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Contributing Editor Andrew Eisen

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  1. 0
    Hevach says:

    True, but if all the consoles block used games, they minimize the losses – customers either live with it or leave the market entirely, there is no option. And most likely, the manufacturers think (and I'm inclined to agree) that the number of customers that will move to better options is much higher than the number that would leave the market.

    That's of the essence of the prisoner's dilemma: The cumulative benefit is highest with cooperation, but the individual benefit is highest if you screw the other players.

  2. 0
    Mr.Tastix says:

    Even if the "always on" requirement is true, I'm a bit skeptical as to whether it'll affect sales or not.

    It's unlikely they're going to put "Requires constant internet connection." in big, capital letters on the front of the box. More like in extremely fine print on the bottom somewhere in a place where you'll conveniently read when you're bored.

  3. 0
    GrimCW says:

    MS's doom? no, but their chance at keeping the console market share they have? definetly.

    Sony would pounce that and use it as an easy marketing for the PS4.

  4. 0
    Hevach says:

    The biggest thing isn't that they might do it, but that we already know Sony *isn't* doing it.

    Microsoft and Sony have both said that they want to do various things to limit used games and piracy. However, most of the ways they have of doing that are unpopular.

    That's the classic prisoner's dilemma: If neither sides do it, no change. If both sides do it at the same time, neither has an advantage. However, if one side does it and the other doesn't, the side that doesn't has a substantial advantage.

    If Microsoft goes always-on, or blocks used games, or any of the things that have been rumored, they lose the prisoner's dilemma – Sony will be in a strong position and Microsoft will be in a diminished position.

    And the following generation, even if Sony follows suit, they give up their advantage only after getting 5, 6, 7 years to press it.

    I do have one small hope, though: Historically, when Microsoft screws up too badly, they regroup and try something different. They don't do what EA has been doing recently and say, "It's totally not the problem you think it is and we're going to do it even more from now on."

  5. 0
    grimfate says:

    Getting sick of hearing about this when we don't even know if the rumour is actually true.

    For a start, are we actually sure that the always-on requirement is not just for the development kits, so that people can't just sell them or make illegal copies of them?

    Secondly, if everyone is in such an uproar then if Microsoft thinks that it may lose them a lot of business, they may change it before release. They may have already changed it. In fact, they could have suspected that Sony was going to do it and now that they know Sony won't, they could pull the idea their self.

    Thirdly, there may be a reason for always-on, something that isn't just anti-piracy and anti second hand market. It could be an awesome feature that can't be achieved without always-on. I have no idea what that would be, but it is possible.

    Lastly, if this is something to stop piracy and stop second hand games, then because each game played on the console must be a legitimate copy that was bought brand new, then theoretically, if piracy and the second hand market do actually have a significant effect on the profits of a game, the cost of Xbox games could end up being cheaper. If 100 people play your game on Xbox, all 100 will have to have bought it. If 100 people play it on Playstation, 70 could have been brand new copies and 30 could be second hand. Or 60 could be brand new, 30 could be second hand and 10 could be pirated. (If piracy will happen on the PS4.) Thus, it could be preferable to sell your game cheaper on the Xbox to encourage more people to buy it for that platform because they can't be resold. Imagine if your Xbox 720 games cost you $40, while the PS4 games cost $60-$70 each. But I doubt this would happen…

    I think people should be a little more worried about the rumour that the console always needs the Kinect connected. Imagine being unable to use your console at all because the Kinect breaks! But certainly the always-on requirement would be worse if there wasn't some benefit to it over what the PS4 has.

  6. 0
    MechaTama31 says:

    But profits aren't all that MS is worried about here (else the xbox would likely have been shitcanned long ago).  It's their beachhead in your living room, and they're willing to suffer quite a bit in order to gain dominance there.

  7. 0
    Sam-LibrarIan Witt says:

    Microsoft has reported around 76 million units sold as of February '13 and I read somewhere that there are around 45 million LIVE subscribers. I know I can't assume that there is one account to each console, but those numbers still differ from each other by about 30 million. Think of how many million Xbox 360 users do not use LIVE. Why would you cut out those customers?

  8. 0
    MechaCrash says:

    The rumors I am seeing off NeoGAF are the the Durango is "always on" in the same way that the Wii or 3DS are "always on," in that they are constantly talking to the Internet, but do not require such a connection to function. The rumors about it are coming from what is basically a small crappy 360 with no hard drive, and thus must download all of its games, but can be plugged into a Durango to use its drive to play games. If anybody remembers the old Master System converter for the Sega Genesis, it sounds like it's one of those.

    If it is true that the Durango is only "always on" in the sense that it talks to the Internet even when not in use, well, this is much ado about nothing. I am hoping that this is the case, because anything that tethers my ability to play a game to my ability to contact a server for permission to run it is a bad idea.

    Here's the NeoGAF post I got this from: http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=537816

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