Why Game Journalists are Spinning Durango’s “Always Online” Functionality and Why They’re Wrong

It seems as though every gaming website has jumped all over the rumor of the next gen XBOX, codenamed: Durango, featuring an “always online, always connected” configuration. Coupling it with rumors of Microsoft’s attempts at blocking used games it’s under the assumption that the company will use an online connection to achieve said blocking. How can all of these gaming sites be so naive?

Well, it’s not so much that they’re naive as it is more so a form calculated neglect; that or a complete and total lack of common sense.

When this kind of news rumor is spun this way, do you know what it creates? Anger and rage. People going nuts in the comments section of a post, on a forum thread, or wherever. It’s a cheap and easy way to generate traffic by instigating fanboy wars and it’s done by using a rather simple forumla:

  1. Find a Durango rumor
  2. Spin a part of it to mean something totally off base (without any official confirmation) and report it as fact.
  3. ??????
  4. Profit

Let’s ask ourselves why won’t Microsoft, or M$ as folks like to refer to them as these days, use “always online” as a means for DRM? Because it’s career suicide, that’s why. Do you really think that Microsoft, one of the richest companies in the world who also happens to hire the brightest minds in technology, needs to consult the world’s armchair analysts who write for “video game site X” or troll the depths of NeoGAF to realize that going to an always online model is stupid? No, they don’t. They fully understand the lack of broadband throughout many parts of the world and know for a fact that such a move would completely decimate a good chunk of potential business for them.

So what will “always online” likely mean? The same thing that it means for current PlayStation 3 owners right now. Through PlayStation Plus, PS3 owners have the option to keep their system “always online, always connected” in order to have the system automatically download and install system updates, as well as updates for individual titles. It’s a convenient option that keeps the system ready to play at a moments notice, instead of dealing with constantly having to update every time you  turn the system on; especially when all you want to do is get a quick fix of the game you’re currently playing. Microsoft is likely taking a page right out of Sony’s book with this one, hence the latest Durango document published by VGLeaks making note of a low power mode in the upcoming console.

If in fact Microsoft does decide to to block used games, it won’t have anything to do with using the always online functionality. It will likely be a chip embedded on the game disc or something along those lines. But “always online” will certainly not be the culprit.

When reading these kinds of “news” stories and “reports,” you need to have your salt shakers out and ready. Everything is a rumor until it is confirmed as fact. Nothing is official until Microsoft speaks out. Nothing with the word “source” or “insider” should be considered gospel and it doesn’t matter where it comes from. And remember, just like it’s cool to hate EA, it’s cool to hate Microsoft (or rather M$) right now. Wait for official announcements and then make your judgements.

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