An always-on future, in which your gaming devices require a constant Internet connection to function, may be inevitable, Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski has said.
“My gut is telling me that an always online future is probably coming. It’s coming fast, and possibly to the majority of the devices you enjoy,” Bleszinski wrote on his blog.
“Remember when Microsoft made the decision to only allow broadband on Xbox Live? It was a bold move back then; broadband penetration wasn’t anywhere near what it is now. And yet the march of progress continued. Sooner or later our government, or Google, or any number of providers are going to get their shit together and we’ll have universally fast internet for the majority of the first world,” he added.
“I’d be willing to say that any early adopter for any new piece of technology is probably going to have some sort of solid internet connection. Also, and I’ve stated this before, keeping that umbilical cord connected might not always require some sort of insane fat pipe. Sometimes just 3G might be enough.”
Bleszinski said the next generation “won’t really give a shit” about always-on requirements, presumably because they’ll be used to it, and all the current rage will have achieved nothing. He said that situations where first-world gamers don’t have access to always-on Internet, as when going out to stay in a cabin for the weekend, are “edge cases”.
“Technology doesn’t advance by worrying about the edge case,” he said.
“If a service is good then people don’t mind paying for it. My iPad is always connected because I love browsing Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook. I love the ecosystem of Itunes and the App store. If the ecosystem of an always connected device is fantastic then suddenly people don’t really seem to notice any more. When electricity came along and people had to have meters attached to their house they didn’t mind because they loved the idea of light bulbs, electric ranges, and refrigeration.”
The rest of Bleszinski’s blog – indeed, the main thrust – is a discussion of Adam Orth’s departure from Microsoft, with the conclusion that Internet lynch mobs suck.
Regardless of what you think about always-on requirements, I think we can all agree with Dave that Microsoft should just drop the bomb already.