Microsoft has seemingly confirmed that the new Xbox won't require an always-on internet connection after a memo reportedly sent to all Microsoft employees working on the new console was leaked.
This news is contrary to many previous rumours that have suggested the new console (codenamed Durango and previously thought to be called the Xbox 720) will require a constant connection, even while playing single player games.
The memo reads: "Durango is designed to deliver the future of entertainment while engineered to be tolerant of today's Internet.
"There are a number of scenarios that our users expect to work without an Internet connection, and those should 'just work' regardless of their current connection status. Those include, but are not limited to: playing a Blu-ray disc, watching live TV, and yes playing a single player game."
As you've just read, the memo also confirms the new Xbox will incorporate a Blu-ray disc player and some form of live TV integration. Whether the TV will use a standard digital tuner, a cable feed or Sky connection, is not yet clear, though current rumours suggest it may simply use an HDMI connection to pull the feed from your settop box.
The news, if true, will come as a great relief to those gamers that have unreliable or occasional Internet connections, with core features of the console still accessible when offline. Whether games will require activation before being available to play is not yet known.
While Ars Technica
, who received the leaked memo, seems sure of its source, the timing and wording of the memo seems a little peculiar. After all, if this were a long standing policy, why would it suddenly need reiterating? This suggests it is either a recent change of policy or that Microsoft may have even engineered the leak.
Either way, if true, it looks like the new Xbox may have gone up in many users' estimation.
The new Xbox is being officially unveiled on 21st May - just two weeks away - while its release date is expected to be late Q4.