Friday, June 7, 2013

Xbox One and Internet Connection Absurdities

This image has been floating around the internet today. The last point, being unable to sell your games freely, annoys me to a certain degree. The first point, however, is why I am writing a post today.

Microsoft seems to think that the internet is everywhere. That there exists no places where the internet is not freely flowing into all our devices. I have written and spoken passionately about access to information. I've gone so far as to call certain politicians and governing bodies ignorant if they believe that everyone has access to the internet, and therefore, access to any information or online service that they desire or require.

The internet is not this magical thing that is everywhere. Yes, in cities you can take your devices outside and find hotspots and get on a 3 G or 4 G network. What about the people who do not live in the city?

I am currently living in two locations-a place in a city and an abode in a rural nothingness. In the country, the internet is not the norm. Not by a long shot. Perhaps Microsoft thinks that only old people lack internet or only opt for dialup. Not so. To get satellite internet, I pay over $100 a month. If you are unfamiliar with satellite internet, if it is rainy, cloudy, snowy, or windy the internet goes down. At my house, we regularly lose the internet when it gets dark. Yes, the sun goes down and the signal can't get through the very thick and scary darkness. If you have the internet here, you have this service, and it sucks.

The service is slow anyway. 5 mbps up and down. You can't really play online. The lag kills the experience. There is no joy. You're better off playing co-op on the same screen with someone right next to you. I specifically buy games that are not online games. In the city, I play the COD I and II zombie modes with friends and I enjoy it a great deal. I can't do that when I go to the country. There's no point. I don't own the games because the internet at my rural residence is not good enough.  

So now Microsoft thinks it is acceptable to want to connect to the internet. Even when it is only once every 24 hours, this isn't going to fly. Especially with me. Prime time to play video games is when it is raining. If it rains for three days, we don't get the internet. So my Xbox is going to give me the middle finger and not let me play games that I legitimately paid for. Even games that have no multiplayer or online play. This is unacceptable.

In the city, cable internet costs about $35 a month, it is extremely reliable and has unlimited bandwidth. Having the Xbox check every day isn't a terrible thing in this scenario. Except if I decided that I didn't want the internet anymore. Then my Xbox One is going to laugh in my face like it has the authority to make me buy a service not provided by Microsoft.

According to the webpage describing the Xbox One, your console will always be on and updating without your permission or knowledge of it doing so. This does not work for everyone. I do not want my devices to update automatically. Bandwidth is tight in the country. It is not unlimited and it is something that must be monitored.

You know what this makes me want to do? Buy a competitor's new console. As a reviewer for a small publication, new console prices are heavy for us. We are expected to shell out nearly $90 per issue for a new game to review. And if consoles are $1000+, manufacturers better give me a good reason to buy their consoles. So far, all I am getting are middle fingers from the future and I am not pleased.

Edit: Because the PS4 dominated, Mircosoft backtracked and have now changed up their game plan for the new console. Of course, they're making it seem like we're all stupid and overreacting, but whatever. Let's see what they actually produce.