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Next Xbox will allow offline play and support Blu-ray, according to supposedly leaked Microsoft memo

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

The next-generation Xbox will allow for offline play of single-player video games and Blu-ray Discs, among other content, according to a supposed internal Microsoft memo obtained by Ars Technica.

The memo, which was reportedly sent to all full-time Microsoft employees who are working on the console, refers to it as "Durango," the company's codename for the system.

"Durango is designed to deliver the future of entertainment while engineered to be tolerant of today's Internet," the memo reads. "There are a number of scenarios that our users expect to work without an Internet connection, and those should 'just work' regardless of their current connection status. Those include, but are not limited to: playing a Blu-ray disc, watching live TV, and yes playing a single player game."

The memo lends further credence to the widely reported rumors that the next Xbox will include a Blu-ray drive, and that it will feature an HDMI input so it can overlay a TV interface upon a feed from an existing cable box. Polygon previously reported the console will be "always-on" in the sense that it will require an internet connection for anti-piracy checks and other DRM features, but that the requirement for a specific game — whether the system would ask players for a one-time authentication upon installation, or need a constant connection — will be left to the discretion of its publisher. Kotaku reported in February that the next Xbox will require users to install all games to the console's hard drive.

Widespread apprehension among game makers and players about always-on consoles came to a head last month when Adam Orth, a creative director at Microsoft Studios, said in a series of tweets that he believes always-on devices are the future. Orth's comments received a significant backlash, and he has since left Microsoft.

Microsoft is set to officially unveil the next Xbox during an event at its Redmond, Wash., campus on May 21. We've reached out to Microsoft to verify the authenticity of the memo, and will update this post if we hear back.

Update: A Microsoft spokesperson did not comment on the memo specifically, saying, "We're excited to share more about the new generation of games, TV and entertainment on May 21, but have nothing further to share at this time."

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