Lately the Xbox One has been heavily criticized based upon the policies that Microsoft has decided to focus on going forward. The DRM policy for games and the 24 hour check for online connectivity seem to be the two biggest focus points for gamers. But what do these policies really mean for gamers? And are they a big problem for the future of gaming or are these policies the future that gaming needs?
It may be important to note that I am an Xbox fanboy, but that I currently have an Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii U, along with a 3DS and PS Vita. However, the main reason I see to defend the Xbox One's policies is that I see the inherent benefit of them, which I agree have not been articulated well up to this point, and don't agree with all the criticism.
Let's start with the DRM problem. Truth be told we already have a DRM problem in today's gaming ecosystem: Online passes. While EA has stated that they will no longer use Online Passes do not expect the rest of the industry to follow suit. Even First Party Sony games use online passes. So are you really able to loan out full versions of games to friends? Not with an online pass. In any case, I believe the future of games to be delivered digitally, and you can't trade those in or loan them away. Steam and Apple have built amazingly successful digital delivery systems and I believe Microsoft sees this as the future and is building that into the Xbox One.
Besides DRM, the necessary online connection is the biggest issue. However, I see the biggest benefit. People are equating the necessary online connection as some arbitrary decision by Microsoft, and because of the continued ambiguity surrounding the issue this is what it sounds like to the consumer. Microsoft is smarter than to just impose some arbitrary limitation like this, so they must have a reason.
And this reason must benefit the gamer. During their E3 press conference Microsoft talked a lot about the cloud and I believe that the always online connectivity will integrate the cloud somehow. Microsoft is building games that require an internet connection because the internet has the possibility to make the games better. The cloud can influence a games setting, make AI smarter and more reactive, and add more processing power to the already powerful system. Bigger than that the cloud can push things to your games through the online connection that will enhance the experience: new achievements, friends ghosts or drivatars, social options, and even new content. The game lives outside of your solo experience even if you are playing a campaign mode. Think WoW or Diablo, which require an internet connection. Just like those games, Xbox One games will require an internet connection and connecting at least once a day allows developers to push this new content to gamers.
Microsoft is correct to say that if you don't have an internet connection than you should enjoy your Xbox 360. But if you want a next generation experience things are going to have to change. I mean if we wanted the same old experience why would we want a whole new system? These new changes will allow games to do new things, and because the PS4 doesn't have this requirement, the games won't be much different than the PS3.
It confounds me that most of these complaints are coming from the internet. How can you complain about internet connectivity in your system when you are using the internet to complain, clearly you have access to the internet so this shouldn't be an issue. I would expect people to write letters about this problem.