Bleszinkski defends “always online” future of gaming

Former Epic Games boss and Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski has come out to chime in on his views on the “always online” rumours surrounding the next-gen Xbox, which will supposedly require players to have an internet connection to use the console.

“Now, I don’t know as much as you’d think I know about Microsoft’s future plans,” Bleszinski said, first stating his position and knowledge. “Even if I did I wouldn’t go blogging about it like some sort of fool.”

Bleszinski was also referring to former Microsoft employee Adam Orth, who left the company following a controversial tweet about “always online”.

“My gut is telling me that an always online future is probably coming. It’s coming fast, and possibly to the majority of the devices you enjoy,” said Bleszinski. “Adam’s analogies weren’t that far off; although the vacuum one was kind of weird. Sim City, with all of its’ troubles on launch, seems to be selling briskly.”

The Gears developer said that the always online feature has even helped certain titles, such as Diablo 3.

“Diablo 3, the poster child of a messy launch, is estimated to be at 12 million units. I would bet money that without the always online elements of Diablo 3 that it would have sold half of that.”

Bleszinski also said that Microsoft has made presumptuous moves once before, and it has paid off.

“Remember when Microsoft made the decision to only allow broadband on Xbox Live? It was a bold move back then; broadband penetration wasn’t anywhere near what it is now. And yet the march of progress continued. Sooner or later our government, or Google, or any number of providers are going to get their shit together and we’ll have universally fast internet for the majority of the first world.”

Bleszinski went on to add that the internet requirements, if the feature is to be implemented, probably won’t be high. The designer also added that unplugging for a while isn’t the worst thing.

“I’d be willing to say that any early adopter for any new piece of technology is probably going to have some sort of solid internet connection,” he said. “Also, and I’ve stated this before, keeping that umbilical cord connected might not always require some sort of insane fat pipe. Sometimes just 3G might be enough.

“My wife and I were discussing these issues this afternoon and she mentioned the example of ‘Hey what if I’m a gamer who wants to go to a cabin in the woods for a week and I don’t have online access there?’ My response was ‘Unplugging entirely sometimes isn’t always a bad thing.’ And that’s the edge case… the week-long vacation to the cabin is only 30 hours of not playing a game or a device that’s built for much more. Technology doesn’t advance by worrying about the edge case.”

Source: Cliff Bleszinski blog

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Bleszinkski defends “always online” future of gaming

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