Xbox 720: 'Always-Online' May Actually Be Good Thing

The forthcoming Xbox 720, which is still embroiled in the realm of rumor and speculation (it hasn't even been officially called Xbox 720 yet), has one alleged feature that is already generating a great deal of controversy.

It seems not everyone is exactly happy about the "Always-Online" aspect of the Xbox 720 that some fear may end up resulting in similar problems gamers had with EA's recent ill-fated SimCity iteration.

That said, the future does tend to move along with or without us and if Microsoft does turn out to be adamant about the rumored "Always-Online" component of the Xbox 720, we may just have to grin and bear it.

"Since we heard the first rumblings of this prospect, the gaming community's incendiary outrage has lit up message boards ... and social media alike," IGN puts it. "Is this rage justified, or is it simply a knee-jerk overreaction without the benefit of key facts?"

Here are a few reasons why the Xbox 720 feature of being "Always-Online" may actually turn out to be a good thing.

ONE: Xbox Live turned out to be pretty cool.

When Microsoft originally shipped Xbox with an Ethernet port in 2001 in order to launch a gaming network in 2002, it was a time when - as IGN puts it - "56Kbps dial-up connections were still king and high-speed Internet was a pipe dream for many Americans."

Releasing Xbox this way was a bold maneuver for Microsoft, but the company went along with it anyway and the gaming community followed suit, getting totally into the realm of Xbox Live as well as such intrinsic developments in the online gaming world like, say, Halo 2, which alone quite literally "changed the game" for all of us.

Point of story being that perhaps this always-online facet of the Xbox 720 might be a similar situation, where at first it's scary and weird (and ire-inducing, in some cases), but then becomes simply What's Next.

TWO: "Invisible updates" sounds pretty cool, too. 

As IGN points out, with your Xbox 720 being always-online, there's the potential for updates and even game downloads that you "might" like without your even having to go searching for them or downloading them yourself (similar to what we're hearing viz. Sony's PlayStation 4). The less time you're futzing around with downloads, the more time you're playing your games. This, friends, is a good thing.

"Text messages, emails, FaceTime video chats, sports scores, stock ticker updates, and more are all fed to you automatically without you having to actively connect to a service and seek them out," IGN says.

THREE: We're all "always-online" more and more anyway. 

Let's get down to brass tacks here and remember that we're living in an "always-online" world that is only becoming moreso as time goes on. With smartphones, augmented reality devices like Google Glass shortly on the way and the fact that we're all giving cable/satellite TV the boot for streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu, why be afraid of the Xbox 720 always-online feature when, again, we're pretty much always-online always anyway?

FOUR: Actually, Xbox 720 might not really be always-online after all. 

"Think about this one other possibility that seems to be getting lost in the knee-jerk reactions of fear and terror to the always-online rumors," IGN says.

"It's entirely possible that the Next Xbox will give you all sorts of TV integration and who-knows-what-else if you're jacked into Xbox Live, but if you're not, it'll still retain all of its core (read: game-playing) functionality."

Our fears about Xbox 720 being always-online meaning we won't be able to always play our games, then, may be allayed thanks to the fact that, well, we might not really have to be always-online.

Rumor has it the Xbox 720 will be revealed on May 21.

What are your thoughts on the always-online feature of the Xbox 720 (that, again, may or may not be happening)? Let us know in the comments below!

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