According to an internal Microsoft e-mail obtained by Ars Technica, the next Xbox console will permit players to play games without an Internet connection.
“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 memo reads. “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.”
If true, the next Xbox console won’t operate much differently than the Xbox 360 does now, which is “always-on” in some capacity. All the perks to being an Xbox Live member? Internet connection required. By and large, you can’t even watch Netflix without having a Gold account.
The important takeaway from this, of course, is the idea that if your connection goes down, you can still game in an offline capacity, which is how it ought to work. But I think it’s worth pointing out that the veritable deluge of always-on rumors circulating Microsoft’s next Xbox clearly indicates that it was an idea the company heavily considered.
Microsoft is set to unveil the next Xbox in a few weeks, on May 21. The event will be streamed live over Xbox.com, XBLA, and Spike TV.