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Next Xbox always-on reportedly not as strict as feared

Tech writer reiterates pricing plans, says connectivity "isn't as Draconian as many seem to believe"

Microsoft is gearing up to reveal its new console next month, but some of the system's key details may already be out of the bag. Windows IT Pro senior technical analyst Paul Thurrott today reported a handful of details about the new system, including release window, price points, and a suggestion that the system's required Internet connectivity won't be as big a hassle as some have feared.

Thurrott detailed what he knows about the next Xbox, including a launch window (early November 13) along with price points. Repeating what he had said earlier this month, Thurrott described a two-tiered pricing plan, where customers could purchase the next Xbox for $500, or $300 with a two-year Xbox Live Gold subscription at a monthly price of $10.

The writer also talked about the system's functionality, saying it will be based on the core version of Windows 8, include a Blu-ray drive, and as rumored, will require an Internet connection. However, Thurrott said the particulars of how Microsoft will implement that mean the requirement "isn't as Draconian as many seem to believe."

Finally, Thurrott said Microsoft has backed off plans for a stripped-down, streaming entertainment-focused version of the hardware. Instead, it will release a new, less expensive iteration of the Xbox 360 this year.

Thurrott has proven accurate with his Microsoft reporting in the past, most recently with the news that the system reveal event will take place May 21.

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Latest comments (19)

Ged McMillan Retail Manager 3 years ago
Will require an Internet connection. Isn't draconian.

Will be interesting to hear why it must have an Internet connection & what about it makes that not draconian. To be fair he says "not as draconian", so just a little bit then.
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 3 years ago
Well lets hope that the presentation next month addresses the always online thing, which Im not happy about. That is there last chance to convince me to get an XBOX.

However till now nothing I have heard is gonna make me buy an XBOX, this conferance is their last shot to make themselves look good, or else its goodbye to HALO:

Tech writer reiterates pricing plans, says connectivity "isn't as Draconian as many seem to believe"

So you mean to say its still draconian... just not as Draconian?

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 26th April 2013 2:04pm

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Andrew Clayton QA Weapons Tester, Electronic Arts3 years ago
I'll believe it when I see it.
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Show all comments (19)
Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 3 years ago
"isn't as Draconian as many seem to believe"

So basically it's still Draconian then.
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 3 years ago
I'm more concerned about those rumored price points than I am about the always-onlne connection.
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Mats Holm Technical Writer, Electronic Arts3 years ago
Price is about the same as Xbox Launched for in 2005, if we count inflation. 500$ is worth 425$ in 2005, and the release was 400$ for the premium version.
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LOL.

There is *no* middle ground here. Its the "Always" bit that matters. It either *always* requires an internet connection ... or it doesn't. If it *sometimes* requires an internet connection, none of this would be an issue - as thats the same as every other internet enabled device.

And why are people surprised by a price point of $500US? That seems cheap to me - it IS a next-gen console. And if those offers are right, the $300 deal actually seems like a really good deal - and would cost MS a lot of money (as most of those early adopters would all be on Gold anyway!).

Problem here in Australia though: the $300 will become $400, and the $500 - $600 or more. And the $10/month for Gold is closer to $15 or $20.

Going to put a lot or pressure on Sony - I'll expect the PS4 to be around $600 (maybe $500...). Not sure if they could get a subscription model going.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 3 years ago
@Michael: I'll bet you a penny that Sony has a slightly higher price point but says its justified because of the "better" exclusive games, fancy new controller and tech under the hood. Eh, whaddever... we'll see what's what...
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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 3 years ago
And if those offers are right, the $300 deal actually seems like a really good deal - and would cost MS a lot of money (as most of those early adopters would all be on Gold anyway!).
More likely this actually makes more money for Microsoft, unless their pricing changes considerably from that of the current generation. Most of those early adopters on the $300 console, if they weren't locked in to the $10/month plan, would be buying yearly subscriptions that work out to around $5/month.
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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd3 years ago
@ Greg I suspect they'll be priced identically this time, but the PS4 is quite a bit more powerful from the leaked specs. The problem you'll have with the 720 is you are paying for the Kinect 2 hardware.

@ Curt Well the plan is $15/mo which means you'll end up paying an extra $60 for your system, even on top of the cost of Xbox Live Gold, but that's not terrible really for a financing deal.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Nicholas Pantazis on 26th April 2013 2:45am

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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game3 years ago
In Britain the 360 was sold at an exchange rate based price, but this seemed because Xbox was on the back foot. Now that it is leading here, I half expect them to convert $500 to 450, business as usual.
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Could be worse Andrew. I once rented a web server from a company who charged $30 if you went to the US site, or 30 if you went to the UK site. I went with the first option, which was considerably cheaper.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 3 years ago
Double the money for XBL? Ouch. As a PC owner I find it staggering MS is able to communicate to its third parties that the multiplayer feature they included to broaden the audience will be charged for by MS with no money going to the developer.
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Nick Parker Consultant 3 years ago
Maybe Microsoft wishes the box to be always connected like Sky demands users of its Sky satellite set top boxes to be always connected to a telephone line, so they can squirt new offers and content to the user for value added deals - sly eh?
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Anthony Chan3 years ago
I too am interested about the "always on" and its implementation... I am not against it, since I have always been a proponent of moving gaming towards online only (I just don't have fun playing video games by myself). However, I am wondering if the always on is going to be something gimicky like Nick was mentioning (running value deal tickers across the top of your screen, customize your quick interface with game/app sales customized to your search preferences, etc).

The price of 500USD and the 300USD with a XBOX live subscription are more than fair deals. Considering this is the top price geared towards pioneers of the tech, I think this is actually a little bit underpriced. I remember picking up the PS3 in its 2nd week for 699 CAD + 59CAD for an extra controller. So if this price sticks, it looks like there could be more "to be pioneers" lining up on release date.

The next big question, that will probably answered much later is the release date line of games.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game3 years ago
But with a sky box, it works not connected, it is just part of the agreement to keep it hooked up for the first year to get a free box and hook up. If you buy a box outright, there is no such requirement.
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Nick Parker Consultant 3 years ago
You're right Andrew, but the concept of always on as a means to push added value content or ads could still be a potential subterfuge.
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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 3 years ago
Klaus Preisinger writes:
I find it staggering MS is able to communicate to its third parties that the multiplayer feature they included to broaden the audience will be charged for by MS with no money going to the developer.
It's not clear to me that some of this money doesn't, indirectly, end up in developers' pockets. You would need to compare the services provided to developers and the cost of those to the developers with another platform, such as PlayStation Network. If MS is offering more to developers, or charging developers a smaller license or per-download fee or whatever because they have the revenue from Xbox Live Gold accounts, then the developers would be effectively seeing some of that money.

Personally, I'm kind of surprised that MS can get away with this with consumers, though. I wonder if it's just that awareness is low, and if Sony started aggressively advertising that they give on-line multiplayer for free and "product X" doesn't, they'd sway more consumers.
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Adam Campbell Producer, Hopster3 years ago
Whilst the statement above seems contradictory, its not like we are any closer to having all the facts about this 'always online' requirement.
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