Microsoft’s newest console requires you to connect to the Internet at least once every 24 hours for games to work, so if you don’t have Internet at home, you’re basically screwed.
But you may be in the clear if you have a mobile device that can connect online — that’s according to Microsoft Studios corporate VP Phil Spencer, who told Game Informer that by tethering your mobile device, gamers can “check-in” to Xbox Live and play games.
“It’s kilobytes, not megabytes,” Spencer told Game Informer of the bandwidth requirements.
Tethering is the term used for when your smartphone acts as a wireless modem to channel Internet access to another Wi-Fi enabled device like a laptop, or in this case, your Xbox One.
One problem with Spencer’s tethering recommendation is that it goes against the terms and conditions of some carriers. For example, T-Mobile states that “unless explicitly permitted by your Data Plan, other uses, including for example, using your Device as a modem or tethering your Device to a personal computer or other hardware, are not permitted.”
Sprint, meanwhile, says in its terms that “except with Phone-as-Modem add-on, you may not use a phone (including a Bluetooth phone) as a modem in connection with a computer, PDA, or similar device.”
Microsoft has taken some heat for requiring the console to be connected to the Internet all the time, including some harsh words from very angry military personel. Don Mattrick, the president of the company’s Interactive Entertainment Business, said last week that those who do not have Internet should stick with the Xbox 360. Microsoft last week launched a refreshed Xbox 360 and plans to continue supporting the console.
Advantages of Microsoft’s new approach include the ability to play games via the cloud, for example when logging into your Xbox Live account at a friend’s house. But given the backlash, the company will need to keep demonstrating the value of the approach if it wants to win over hard-core gamers for Xbox One.
Microsoft and Sony just wrapped up a week at the big E3 conference, with much of the attention on console price ($499 for the Xbox One vs. $399 for the Playstation 4), the Xbox One’s restrictions on video game sharing, and its requirement for regular Internet connectivity. Microsoft spent time defending itself on the big Xbox One changes, while Sony landed a series of statements (and jokes) designed to point out where its PlayStation 4 differs from Microsoft’s new console.
Previously on GeekWire: Here’s how much games will cost on Microsoft’s Xbox One