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Microsoft Exec: “If You have Zero Internet, [Xbox 360] is an Offline Device”

In an interview with GameTrailers.com, Don Mattrick, President of Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft, addressed the issue of the Xbox One’s online requirements. In the interview, Mattrick said that, “fortunately we have a product for people who aren’t able to get some form of [online] connectivity; it’s called Xbox 360.” He also went on to say that, “if you have zero access to the internet, that’s an offline device.”

Mattrick also shares in the interview an example of how, to Microsoft, people without internet truly were outliers of their targeted audience. He uses the story of a concerned gamer who lived on a nuclear submarine and was worried that he wouldn’t be able to play the new Xbox during the system’s initial backlash about the online requirements. Mattrick shrugged off the concern and the gamer as an unfortunate member of Microsoft’s audience and attempted to relate to the gamer by saying, “hey, I can empathize; if I was on a sub, I’d be disappointed.”

The video was recorded before Microsoft’s E3 Media Briefing on Monday morning, and before gamers seemed even further alienated by the Xbox One’s steep price tag of $499.

It seems as though Microsoft is in the middle of a PR nightmare. First, there was Microsoft Studios’ Creative Director telling gamers to “deal with it” in April, when rumors about an always-online console were at their peak before the Xbox One reveal. Then Microsoft couldn’t get the details of the Xbox One’s functionality straight after their reveal event last month. Yesterday, much of the gaming community seemed to be taken aback by the Xbox One’s price and further lack of relief regarding online functionality and used games restrictions. Last night, Sony went right after Microsoft’s missteps and announced a lower price point, guaranteed gamers’ ownership rights of purchased content, and cleared the air over any misconceptions about requiring an online connection. And now we have this, an eerie repeat of April’s “deal with it” scandal from an even higher source within Microsoft’s ranks.

Is Microsoft shooting themselves in the foot? Are they catering enough to their fans to garner a strong enough install base at launch? Sony got cocky last generation with the PS3 after the outstanding success of the Playstation 2, causing them to have a very slow start, and only catching up with Microsoft in the past couple of years. If Microsoft is repeating Sony’s mistake heading into this generation, will they be able to recover?

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