The Xbox One’s Always On Feature Explained

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Xbox-One-Connectivity-Details

Microsoft has used the phrase ‘always on, always ready’ and ‘ready when you are’ when referring to the Xbox One and it’s persistent internet connection. A new explanation of the hotly debated feature was spotted earlier today:

  • A new generation of games with power from the cloud: Because every Xbox One owner has a broadband connection, developers can create massive, persistent worlds that evolve even when you’re not playing.
  • Your Xbox One is always ready: Xbox One is designed to run in a low-powered, connected state. This means your system, games and apps are always current and ready to play—no more waiting for updates.
  • Stay connected to your friends: Never miss an opportunity to play games with your friends or to catch up with family on Skype. Use Skype in Snap mode to chat while you play games or watch TV.  Or enjoy group video Skype calls with people around the world, all from the comfort of your living room.
  • Access your entire games library from any Xbox One—no discs required: After signing in and installing, you can play any of your games from any Xbox One because a digital copy of your game is stored on your console and in the cloud.  So, for example, while you are logged in at your friend’s house, you can play your games.
  • Buy the way you want—disc or digital—on the same day: You’ll be able to buy disc-based games at traditional retailers or online through Xbox Live, on day of release.

Networking Technologies

A range of advanced technologies will make these scenarios possible, including:

  • Superior wireless performance and coverage throughout the home: Xbox One is equipped with a gigabit Ethernet port and 802.11n wireless. With 802.11n, Xbox One can use the 5GHz wireless band which eliminates considerable interference from other devices in the home, such as cordless phones, Bluetooth devices and microwaves.  Xbox One uses two wireless antennas, versus one in Xbox 360. This provides dramatically better coverage and sustained performance, which means faster internet speeds in more areas of your home.
  • Faster connection to a world of smart devices: With Wi-Fi Direct, Xbox One can speak directly to smart wireless devices and connect to them through the cloud. This means your smartphone or tablet will interact with Xbox One seamlessly.
  • Future proofed with power from the cloud: Microsoft has created a global network of more than 300,000 Xbox Live and Windows Azure servers, to help creators realize their visions of what is possible with a connected system.

Networking Requirements

To ensure Xbox One works optimally and can offer the experiences described above, it is designed with the following networking requirements:

  • For an optimal experience, we recommend a broadband connection of 1.5Mbps. (For reference, the average global internet connection speed as measured recently by Akamai was 2.9 Mbps).  In areas where an Ethernet connection is not available, you can connect using mobile broadband.
  • While a persistent connection is not required, Xbox One is designed to verify if system, application or game updates are needed and to see if you have acquired new games, or resold, traded in, or given your game to a friend. Games that are designed to take advantage of the cloud may require a connection.

What I find just a bit unsettling is a phrase used early on in this summary, ‘Because every Xbox One owner has a broadband connection‘ I’m not going to pretend I know a hard number on the amount of U.S. let alone worldwide citizens that have high speed internet. However, I do know without a doubt, that there’s someone out there that wants an Xbox One that doesn’t have high speed internet, and that sucks. Assuming and outright suggesting that everyone has, or should have a broadband connection is a somewhat insensitive approach to your consumer base. I understand the need for fast internet speeds with the built in functionality of the Xbox One, but I’m willing to bet that phrase alone could alienate a decent amount of the worldwide population.

It’s also mentioned that the console CAN play offline for up to 24 hours on the primary console before having to ‘check in’. That number is greatly reduced to just an hour if your accessing your game library from a different console.

What do you think about Xbox One’s online feature? We also have details on Microsoft’s used game policy.

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Dylan Zellmer

Dylan splits time between games journalism, designing video games, and playing them. Outside of his deep involvement in the games industry, he enjoys It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Shameless, A Song of Ice and Fire, fitness, and family.
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