The ‘Always Online’ Fiasco

I’ve been keeping an eye on this ‘always online’ rumour that’s floating around the internet at the moment, and of course, I’ve got my own thoughts and feelings on it.

It has only really been in the last 6 months or so that I have actually had wireless internet in my house. This is due to me living with relatives who were not so keen on forking out for it, but I managed to sway them in the right direction. Now, I’m not one of those people that play online all the time. In fact, I rarely play online at all. I lack the time to play online, and I don’t really enjoy it. I play single player games, and I suppose I don’t really need an online connection for that. In fact, the closest I get to playing games online is playing Need for Speed with my boyfriend, and even that’s rare.

For me, I don’t really see why the Xbox would need to be constantly online, unless all future games are going to offer player drop-in and drop-out, like in Journey or the Fable series for example. It just doesn’t seem to make much sense. I can only speak for the UK here, but unless you’re living in a big city (which I’m not), and have super fast broadband internet (which I don’t), then you have very little incentive to buy the new Xbox, if this rumour is to believed.

I’m hoping that this rumour isn’t true, because if it is, then I may be swayed towards the PS4 more than the new Xbox. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still be getting the new Xbox, but Sony are certainly looking more appealing at the moment. It would be nice to actually see their console though.

My main issue with the always onine argument is this; what if I don’t want to always be online? I’ve got loads of friends on my Xbox Live friends list. Do I play games with any of them? No. Why? Because I’m not really into online gaming. I don’t want to be stalked through my Xbox. I don’t want people to know where I am, what I’m doing, and who with. In fact, the only reason I really go online on my Xbox is to update my gamer score so I can compare with others.

This is making me sound like I’m not into online social interaction at all, which isn’t true. I’ve got an active Twitter account and an active Facebook account. I don’t need to be online any more than that. My phone is going off all day telling me that people have posted something in a Facebook group that I belong to, and Raptr keeps telling me tht I’ve overtaken someone on play time in The Walking Dead. I’m already always online, so my Xbox doesn’t need to be as well.

You could argue that I’m a bit behind the times, but I just don’t understand this idea of constant connection that the games industry seem to think we need. My ISP slows down my connection after 6PM every evening. They’re not meant to, but they do. If I try to download anything, it runs at about 2kbps. Imagine trying to run a Halo deathmatch at 2kbps. It would be a nightmare, I’d be lagging all over the place and would probably get booted out of the game. Sometimes it just goes a bit slow, and sometimes I get logged out of Xbox Live for no reason at all. I live in a rural area, so this probably won’t be fixed anytime soon. We don’t have fibre broadband here, and I can’t see it arriving in time for the new Xbox.

Maybe it’s because I’m a single player game kinda person, but I just don’t see the need to be online all the time. What benefit could that possibly have? Who wants a console where it kicks you out of the game after 3 minutes if your connection dies? I just think it alienates a massive population of gamers. What about the gamers who have moved away to university? Sure, most student accomodation comes with the internet, but it’s not the fastest in the world.

I suppose my point is, as a player who likes to play single player games, why do I need to be constantly connected? I don’t want people jumping in and out of my game and messing with my system. I never even turned on the ability to let people jump into my game in Fable. I get the benefits of it, don’t get me wrong, but I just don’t want it. I didn’t want people to jump into my game in Borderlands or Borderlands 2. I wanted to do it on my own. Not because I’m anti social, but because I like the challenge. It’s great to play co-op with people, but sometimes you just want to do it all by yourself.

What are your thoughts on an always online console? Is it a good idea, or is it riddled with problems?

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