Microsoft's next-generation Xbox console won't require constant network connection, as previously rumoured. According to an internal Microsoft email obtained by Ars Technica, gamers will have traditional access to many features without tapping Wi-Fi, as you've come to know on consoles in the past.
"Durango [the codename for the next Xbox] is designed to deliver the future of entertainment while engineered to be tolerant of today's internet," the email read. "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."
The leak is interesting, given how much backlash was seen on social networks from gamers who believed Microsoft was working to exert control by making the console always online. Even with offline functionality present on the next Xbox, it's not clear how far it will extend. Will games still have to be activated online, much like Steam, before playing an offline single-player mode? We'll soon know for sure.
Furthermore, is there the chance that policy has been changed because of the public backlash? Why would Microsoft send an email to all of its Xbox employees rehashing a policy that was already in place?
In addition to offline capabilities, the email was also interesting, given word on Blu-ray and live TV. As Ars Technica points out, the console may support an HDMI input, allowing cable boxes to attach for live TV viewing, also providing TV listings and more.
We'll know the real story in the next month, as Microsoft is set to hold a 21 May press event to unveil the new console. We expect plenty of word on new games, controllers, and new Kinect 2. However, the vast majority of games will probably be saved for Microsoft's E3 press event for the second week of June. Hey, at least we know Call of Duty: Ghosts will be included.