Microsoft’s demands for online connectivity for the Xbox One has divided opinion, and Xbox chief Don Mattrick probably isn’t helping by arguing that those unhappy should just stick with an Xbox 360. The Interactive Entertainment Business head told GameTrailers that for those who lack reliable connectivity, there’s still something they can play. “Fortunately, we have a product for people who aren’t able to get some form of connectivity” he pointed out, “it’s called Xbox 360.”
“If you have zero access to the internet,” Mattrick concludes, “that is an offline device.”
The interview, filmed ahead of Microsoft’s E3 2013 keynote where the company detailed the initial games that would be available for the new console, along with the new version of the Xbox 360, is already being criticized for what’s seen as Mattrick’s lack of understanding of the market. Microsoft’s decision to require the Xbox One to “check in” online at least once every 24 hours if games are to remain playable has been negatively compared with Sony’s PlayStation 4, which has no such online requirement.
Mattrick, though, sees only extreme situations where the Xbox One’s internet demands might be an issue. “Seriously, when I read the blogs and thought about who’s really the most impacted, it was the person who said ‘hey, I’m on a nuclear sub.'” he explained. “And I don’t even know what it means to be on a nuclear sub, but I’ve gotta imagine it’s not easy to get an internet connection … hey, I can’t emphathize, if I was on a sub I’d be disappointed.”
The Xbox exec is probably correct when he says that, for many gamers, providing their console with a steady internet link isn’t going to be an issue. However, what’s particularly galling for some is the fact that Microsoft can’t, apparently, see the furore as anything other than a technical one: missing the fact that some of the upset is down to gamers not wanting to feel like they’re merely “borrowing” their games.
Mattrick says that, although Microsoft knew there’d be an uproar, the company still felt it needed to break with how things were being done before. His argument is that, just as we once only used phones for voice calls, but have since seen them take on all manner of functionality, gamers will have a similar epiphany with their console. “People are going to see the same benefits with Xbox One as they did with their smartphone” he argues.
The controversial segment of the interview starts at around 1:50, though it’s worth watching the whole thing to see how Mattrick deals with the controversy.
VIA CNET UK