The Xbox One will need to be connected to the internet every 24 hours when playing games on your home console, or every hour when accessing your digital library from a different console, Microsoft announced today.
On an explanatory page posted on Xbox Wire, the system's heretofore confusing online requirements were cleared up. Each game you own is digitally installed to your account using cloud services. Every 24 hours, an online check is required to ensure that you still own the license for the copy of the game you're playing. You can also access your account and its associated games on a friend's console, but online checks are performed every hour when attempting to play remotely in this manner. The policy lines up with what Polygon heard from our sources shortly after the console's reveal.
"Offline gaming is not possible after these prescribed times until you re-establish a connection, but you can still watch live TV and enjoy Blu-ray and DVD movies," the Xbox Wire post explains.
The post recommends that console owners will have the best experience with broadband connections of above 1.5 Mbps, stating that the global average speed is 2.9 Mbps. Xbox One owners without access to ethernet connections can also connect using mobile broadband. It also adds that "games that are designed to take advantage of the cloud may require a connection."
The Xbox One was unveiled last month in an event held by Microsoft on its Redmond Campus. During the event, Microsoft's Don Mattrick stated the console would not have an always-on requirement for single-player games. A connection would be necessary for multiplayer and streaming content.
"Gamers can calm down, we got you covered," Mattrick said.
Later that evening, Microsoft's Phil Harrison said the Xbox One would function without an online connection, but would need to connect to the internet at least once every 24 hours. That same evening, Microsoft labeled reports of the console's internet check-in period as "potential scenarios."
"There have been reports of a specific time period - those were discussions of potential scenarios, but we have not confirmed any details today, nor will we be," a representative for Microsoft said at the time.
We've reached out to Microsoft to find out if any exceptions to this policy will be offered to people who don't have access to any kind of internet connection, such as active military personnel, as our sources have indicated.
Update: When asked if there would be any exceptions for active military personnel, a Microsoft spokesperson said: "The blog posts on Xbox Wire detail everything we can share today. We look forward to sharing more details in the months ahead."