Optical discs will be used for installs only, report claims

Next Xbox leak reiterates always-online requirement

The next Xbox will be “always on and always connected” to the internet, a new leak of the console’s development kit claims.

As reported by VGLeaks, which has in the past leaked specifications for the Microsoft’s next-gen console and the PS4, the online functionality is designed to allow users to “quickly and easily enjoy their connected entertainment experiences”, without the need for update installs or console restarts.

The leaked document also states that the next Xbox will be ready instantly when users want to play, with a constant network connection used to keep software and games up to date.

As well as always online, the hardware overview states that while optical discs will be used, play from them will not be supported.

It should be noted however that a disclaimer at the top of the documentation states that it is “preliminary and subject to change”.

The document reiterates a report earlier this year in which sources “with first-hand experience of Microsoft’s next generation console” told Edge that a new version of Xbox Live would play an integral role in the hardware with always-on functionality, while each disc would come with its own activation code.

This means that only the initial user can install and play the game, effectively preventing the ability for users to sell or buy second-hand games.

Should Microsoft’s next Xbox require online functionality to run and effectively block second-hand gameplay, it could likely be met with a backlash from consumers already up in arms over a similar always-online requirement for EA’s SimCity.

If true, it will also be interesting to see whether the always online connectivity will also act as a form of DRM, particularly given that games can only be installed from discs, rather than played from. It is also unclear how the prevention of a second-hand market would sit with current laws on ownership.

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