There have been a lot of rumours going around about what Microsoft may have planned for the next-gen Xbox, but the most prominent and unsettling one so far has been the rumour that the console will require an always-online. A series of strange tweets from Microsoft Studios’ Creative Director, Adam Orth, discovered by NeoGAF, have all but confirmed that the company’s next-gen console will require a constant Internet connection.

In the tweets, Orth talks about how just because some things aren’t completely reliable, they shouldn’t be unused. He uses some analogies for this. “The mobile reception in the area I live in is spotty and unreliable. I will not buy a mobile phone,” says one tweet. Another says “Sometimes the electricity goes out. I will not purchase a vacuum cleaner.”

Orthy tweets, “I want every device to be “always on”.” He follows up on this by saying that, “Those people should definitely get with the times and get the internet. It’s awesome.”

We contacted a Microsoft representative about the possibility of requiring a constant internet connection to play games on the next-gen Xbox, but the answer was a simple, “No comment.”

EA may have signed an exclusivity deal with Microsoft for the next-gen consoles (Next-gen Xbox concept)

Always online is all but confirmed at this point (Next-gen Xbox concept)

Some details on the next Xbox were revealed back in March through leaked documentation. The highlights of the Durango documentation include a low-powered mode, a low latency controller with “improved ergonomics”, a Blu Ray drive, and only digital out on the console.

The details that caught our attention were that the console will be ready instantly when users want to play, and will always maintain a network connection so that console software and games are always current.

The console will also require a Kinect to stay connected all the time. A Kinect will be bundled with the console, and will have a wider field of view, better tracking, and will have no motors. Thanks to the Blu Ray drive, games will have to be installed on the HDD. The console will not be able to stream data from the optical disc. It will have a system that will allow gamers to begin playing while the game is being installed to the HDD rather than having to wait till the installation is complete.

Speculations arose back in February that Microsoft may be getting ready to unveil the Xbox at a big event in April alongside Electronic Arts. The rumours stem from the fact that EA was curiously absent from Sony's PlayStation 4 unveiling. This strongly hints at a partnership between EA and Microsoft, and the two possibly even signing exclusivity rights.

While this may mean EA would produce content exclusively for Microsoft’s console, the company simply can’t afford to lock out another platform, especially one as big as the PlayStation. The most likely scenario would be EA producing some DLCs exclusively for Microsoft’s console, and game releases will probably be delayed by a month or so.

However, if Microsoft has indeed secured EA as an exclusive publisher, it would be a big blow against Sony and the PlayStation 4, and may mean that the next console generation will be dominated by the Xbox.

We can’t be very far from an announcement by Microsoft, especially since it rushed out the Xbox 360 before the PlayStation 3’s release to get an early head start. Microsoft of all companies would know the importance of such a head start, as that would let it dominate the next-gen console market early.

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