Xbox 720 document

Here’s a next-gen console rumor that’s got me all fired up. Edge-Online is reporting that a source close to Microsoft has spilled some goods on the next Xbox.

Supposedly, Microsoft will be ditching their current media for Blu-ray discs with 50GB of capacity. Each disc physically sold in stores, according to this rumor, will come with an activation code. That activation code will be required when the disc is put into the Xbox, and once the first owner uses it, the game becomes unplayable under that code for anyone else. This would, in effect, eliminate the used games market for Microsoft.

I’m not sure I buy that rumor. Microsoft needs GameStop, and retailers like it, to help sell systems. If they eliminate used game sales, where places like GameStop make most of their money, I don’t see those retailers staying in business. That hurts everyone.

However, this next bit of the rumor I’m more inclined to, unfortunately, believe. The source says that the next Xbox will require an internet connection in order to play. That means you’ll have to connect every single time you want to fire up your system.

If you have a reliable home network, this probably won’t be a problem. But, what if your internet goes out (something that happens monthly for a Comcast user like me), or you want to bring your console on a road trip with friends (something I did a lot in college)? Sorry, without an internet connection, you’ll be blocked from playing.

Why require an internet connection at all? Well, Microsoft could say that the Xbox is best experienced online. They’ll say that in order to enjoy all the social features and content they built into the next Xbox, an internet connection is essential. What does it really mean? Modded, hacked and altered Xbox systems could be banned. Game use will be monitored. Users will be tracked. Even better, Microsoft will be able to pitch an ever-updating experience to companies who want to advertise on their machine.

There’s a scary thought.

I’m not a fan of the always-online requirement that’s been popping up in gaming these days. Sure, they say it’s to enforce community; but, I’d rather do what I want with my software and hardware, not be dictated by the manufacturer.

Take these rumors with a grain of salt. They’re rumors. They’re also interesting rumors. What do you think about the possibility of blocking used games and requiring an internet connection? Personally, I’ll stick with my PC if these things actually come to fruition.