It’s always nice to see console gaming start to become more like PC gaming, but we never expected this was the path they were going down. According to Eurogamer, the next generation Xbox won’t play games off of discs anymore. You can purchase discs from your local retailer, but the only thing these discs will do is install the game on your hard drive. At that point, it’s all a matter of having the space to fit them into your gaming library.
Unfortunately, this isn’t some sort of push toward user accessibility. Eurogamer calls it part of Microsoft’s “beefed up anti-piracy protection.” While the next Xbox will come with, “a huge hulking hard drive,” which can hold far more games than we are used to, it also might require an “always-on” connection. Anyone who has dealt with the SimCity launch knows that always-on connections are dicey propositions at best. Imagine having to go through that for every game in your library.
Of course, all of this is still rumor at this point. In fact, it’s possible that this HD only play system is true but the always-on system is an exaggeration. A simple product key system, as we have seen with PC games in the past, should be enough to limit installations of new videogames. Of course, this also opens up the floodgates to key-generators to bypass the security or online key registration systems, which are only slightly better than always-online DRM schemes.
Microsoft will likely reveal their new console in the next few months as we head toward E3. We will bring you more information on the Xbox Durango, or whatever it’s going to be called, when it becomes available.