According to the documents released by Microsoft on Thursday, Xbox One will require a broadband connection of 1.5 Megabits per second and will check in with Microsoft’s servers every 24 hours to reauthenticate the system and games.
So is requiring broadband a killer problem for the system? As I go through my briefly-researched findings here, keep in mind that I’m focusing on the United States, Microsoft’s primary market and also the only country for which I know more about the broadband than just a simple percentage.
For most of us with a broadband connection, 1.5 Megabit is laughable, something we could handle a few times over. Comcast recently increased speed across a large portion of their services, often doubling user speeds as they try to modernize their network (which goes along with the removal of that infernal data transfer cap). Google Fiber is a slowly spreading service that other telecoms don’t quite know what to do with. Broadband penetration is ever increasing here in the US. Average speeds improved as well, according to a report from Akamai, to 7.4 Megabit average. This is a 28% improvement over last year.
With the Xbox One’s over-the-top functionality being one of its major bullet points, it stands to reason that Microsoft will be working with the cable and broadband providers around the country. One theory thrown around suggests that providers might even have a deal planned for people to obtain their Xbox One systems via a cable provider. Who knows if that will happen, but it’s definitely a possibility where it never was before.
According to a report last fall by GIGAOM, 90% of houses with computers have broadband. The study states that only 2% of US households surveyed don’t have a broadband connection. Broadband penetration shouldn’t be a problem for Microsoft overall, but the company has a potentially important role to play with the Xbox One.
With the system’s requirements and features, Microsoft has a responsibility to try to push the borders of broadband out to capture those last few people, and to push the pipes wider to get their games into peoples systems that much faster. It’s nothing new for entertainment to push technology forward, and efforts like this would benefit both Microsoft and the consumer.