Microsoft's confused and controversial online requirement for the Xbox One finally got cleared up last week, with the company confirming the console needs to connect to the internet every 24 hours. At E3 this week, a common trend is emerging about how Microsoft is dealing with future offline scenarios. In an interview with Spike TV, Xbox chief Don Mattrick offered up his own thoughts on the Xbox One online requirement ahead of Microsoft's E3 keynote, noting that he believes consumers are going to understand how the new console links games and entertainment with an online state in order to be future-proof and provide new features.
"Fortunately we have a product for people who aren't able to get some form of connectivity, it's called Xbox 360," says Mattrick. "If you have zero access to the internet, that is an offline device." Mattrick's comments appear to ignore scenarios where internet connectivity can be unstable or unreliable. However, the idea of buying an Xbox 360 later this year when the One is available doesn't sound as crazy as previous generations of consoles. Microsoft is clearly continuing to invest in Xbox 360, with the company announcing a refreshed look for the console at E3 this week. The Verge understands that Microsoft is also preparing a new 360 dashboard UI to closely match the Xbox One.
In an interview with The Verge at E3 this week, Xbox chief product officer Marc Whitten discussed the idea of keeping the Xbox 360 alive. "We now have a family of devices, for the first time on Xbox," explains Whitten. "You're going to see us continue to push 360 into new markets, new customers." That push will also see Microsoft's continued focus on Xbox 360. "We're just really committed to continuing to invest in it from a platform side, which you saw with the form-factor stuff, and the content — and I think you're going to see a lot of third-party stuff there as well," says Whitten.
Mattrick's "future-proof" assessment of the Xbox One underlines exactly how Microsoft is looking at the next-generation. To deliver cloud gaming, online entertainment services, and Kinect-powered features you need an internet connection. If Microsoft and its publishers can rely on that connectivity then games and services can be improved. A continued focus on Xbox 360 appears to be a way to bridge the gap, but, like your smartphone today, console gaming is moving towards a future of being always connected.