Following Microsoft's big Xbox One reveal three weeks ago, company executives began putting out contradicting and worrying statements about the new console's DRM and used game policies. Microsoft has since confirmed many of the worst parts of the rumors. The company, determined not to let another such messaging fiasco take place, promptly cancelled all of its executives' E3 interviews.
One Microsoft exec, however, did give an interview to GameTrailers shortly before the company's big E3 presentation. Don Mattrick, president of Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft, revealed that Microsoft was, in fact, not considering gamers with internet connections when designing the Xbox One.
"Look, we designed something that's great," said Mattrick. "It is, at its core, a games box. And, we've innovated for what we think are the appropriate scenarios moving forward."
Implying, of course, that Microsoft believes offline gaming is an inappropriate scenario for the future. Mattrick continued:
"I think people are gonna love it, and then they're gonna understand what we're trying to create and how it links games and entertainment, the functionality of the box, some of the advantages that you get of having a box that is designed to use an online state. So that, to me, is a future-proof choice and I think people could have arguably gone the other way if we didn't do it, and fortunately we have a product for people who aren't able to get some form of connectivity - it's called Xbox 360."
This seems to be Microsoft's message to those who don't have a reliable internet access. Stick with the 360. Nevermind the fact that Sony's new console will work perfectly fine as an offline games device, and for $100 less.
Mattrick did go on to cite the scenario that has taken center-stage in the debate about the Xbox One's DRM: military members stationed in places that lack internet. Mattrick stated that if he was stationed on a submarine he would be "disappointed."
That hasn't deterred Microsoft, however, and the company shows no signs of backing down on its policies. Mattrick emphasized that Microsoft believes the future of gaming is in always-connected experiences, and used smartphones as an example of a technology that has made a huge connectivity leap in recent years. (Again, nevermind the fact that Angry Birds will still work on a phone that hasn't been connected to the internet in the past 24 hours.)
Microsoft may be right in predicting that in 10 years services such as Google Fiber will have rolled out across the U.S., bringing a reliable, affordable high-speed connection to all parts of the country. For now, though, millions of Americans will not be able to use the Xbox One as a gaming machine when it launches in November.