Next Xbox May Not Require Internet Connection After All

The next Xbox won’t require an Internet connection to play games after all, a new report says. But it’s worth noting Microsoft hasn’t yet confirmed the report’s accuracy.

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Technology blog Ars Technica says it’s gotten hold of an internal Microsoft memorandum that supposedly confirms the next Xbox, currently code-named Durango, won’t require gamers to keep a constant Internet connection to play games.

That conflicts with several earlier reports that indicated the next Xbox would not function at all without a link to the web.

“Durango is designed to deliver the future of entertainment while engineered to be tolerant of today’s Internet,” the memo supposedly reads.

The memo also notes “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.”

Microsoft has not yet commented on the rumor.

So, what’s the more likely scenario — required connection or not? It’s worth noting that several Microsoft insiders and at least one Microsoft employee have indicated the next Xbox will require an online connection.

However, the response from gamers has been overwhelmingly negative, thereby giving Sony — which has said the PlayStation 4 won’t require such a connection — a serious leg-up as both consoles near their fall release dates.

It’s entirely possible Microsoft has carefully evaluated fan feedback and is preparing to distance itself from the “always online” idea.

We’ll know more about this and other issues when Microsoft shows off the next Xbox at a special Spike TV event on May 21.

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