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Xbox One Single Players Are Safe: No Always On Requirement For Some Games

By Michael Mayday , May 21, 2013 07:34 PM EDT
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One of the more contentious issues the Xbox One had to address today was the system's alleged "always on" functionality - a feature which would've required gamers to have their Xbox connected to the Internet at all times in order to play games. It was a feature many gamers felt, vocally, that they could do without.

Fortunately, for gamers, that rumor proved to be false in regards to the Xbox One single-player games. Online multiplayer games, by their nature, will need an Internet connection.

But there is a massive asterisk to take note of: Microsoft, according to Wired, will offer Xbox One game developers the ability to use its cloud computing service, Azure, to offload certain computational tasks from the Xbox hardware - thereby necessitating an online connection.

Launched to commercial enterprises in 2010, Azure is Microsoft's cloud computing platform which allows various software developers, not just game creators, to craft and execute a variety of services through Microsoft's cloud ecosystem.

While the use of Azure isn't a requirement, Wired reports, it is something that Microsoft executives hope developers will use over time.

But there was an unexpected always-on function announced during Xbox One's big day: Microsoft's next iteration of its motion-sensor system, Kinect.

As IGN reports, the new Kinect will be required to operate the Xbox One, and it will always be on, listening for your voice.

During Tuesday's press conference Microsoft executives said users can activate the Xbox One - even if the console itself is turned off - by saying "Xbox on," suggesting the microphone in the Kinect is listening at all times.

The Kinect has had privacy issues in the past: Engadget reported in 2010 that Microsoft's Dennis Durken pitched the Kinect to advertisers as a means of collecting data to better sell ads.

Microsoft later denied any plans to sell Kinect information for targeted advertising. It's not clear, reports The Verge, what sort of privacy safeguards Microsoft has put in place with its new Kincet system, nor how the new Kinect system works in listening mode.

But today's announcements aren't likely to be only one detailing how the Xbox One and its many functions work. Microsoft will likely give out more information on the system's operation during the upcoming E3 conference, which starts on June 11.

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