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Next Xbox rumored to emphasize sharing, let publishers mandate 'always-on' connection

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Xbox 360 stock
Xbox 360 stock

A new report from Polygon reveals that, much like Sony, Microsoft aims to make sharing a major element of its next-generation console. The Xbox 360's successor is said to include a "share" button on its controller that will upload your gaming highlights to YouTube and Ustream. Users will also be able to post these clips to Facebook and other social sites, according to the report. Microsoft's rumored approach essentially mirrors that of Sony, which outlined its plans during February's PlayStation 4 event.

Polygon also has more details on the controversial "always-on" connection that the next-gen Xbox is said to require. Will the situation be as dire as many gamers fear? It sounds like that decision will be left to individual publishers, who will make the final call on what type of connection is required to play their titles. The new Xbox can either perform a one-time authentication check — presumably allowing offline gameplay thereafter — or demand an active connection at all times. Polygon caveats that Microsoft's current guidelines for the security measure could still change ahead of next month's unveiling and the console's expected fall release.

Publishers decide if you need 24 / 7 internet to play a game

Changes to the popular achievements system are also en route, with Microsoft granting publishers the ability to add permission to a game after it's shipped. This was already possible to an extent on the Xbox 360, but new achievements could only be included alongside downloadable content like new levels and characters. Developers will no longer be handcuffed by such restrictions, a move that should see achievements become more flexible and spontaneous in nature. And gamers who've hit Xbox Live's current friend cap will be glad to hear that no such limit will exist on the upcoming console. Head over to Polygon for the full details.