xboxHere’s a solution for those wanting to play games on the Xbox One without an Internet connection at home: Your smartphone.

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.”

xboxonegamecaseMicrosoft 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

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  • guest

    Tethering? Seriously? What a joke. They just don’t get it.

  • tom

    Works fine with my 360. I used to Play online for four months while i had no access to Internet.

    • Michael Hazell

      How could you possibly play online with cellular data? If you used 4G you might have had enough speeds but either way you would have terrible latency.

      • Jason Farris

        They are talking about logging in via hot-spot to swap a few kilobytes for DRM authentication, not playing multiplayer games. While it may be possible, no one would recommend playing multiplayer over a 4g connection for latency reasons.

  • GuestAsWell

    Honestly the check-in requirement is annoying as heck on the current Office. Perhaps I am not using Microsoft’s software “correctly” but I’ve had nasty messages appear about Windows 8 not being authentic – simply because of a temporary lack of connection. To say my entire system isn’t authentic because Office wants to phone home is highly draconian. I can’t even imagine the issues Xbox One users are going to have deal with.

    Heck if we compare this to the TSA check in at airports, at least there you can get a background check and pre-approval making the process quick. Why not something similar like using registration data on file to say, “hey this system and user was approved”, let’s not call them a pirate, they paid for the product and it’s ID matches what we have on file.

    • guest

      Lack of connection, particularly a temporary one, shouldn’t generate authentication errors in Office or Windows. Not clear what you’re talking about there. On Xbone, it’ll be a non-issue for many and a serious concern for some. Agree they should create some form of workaround for the latter.

  • D

    Unless you’re on a grandfathered unlimited plan, the carrier isn’t allowed to care about how you use your data. I believe the big case was AT&T limiting Facetime to Wi-Fi on iPhones. The feds stepped in and said that if the person was on a metered plan, the carrier wasn’t allowed to limit how the user used their allotment.

  • tom

    Now the Xbox one just needs the internet for the very first start up so I can defiantly do this with my galaxy phone. Like a tether with my PC ?

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