The “always online” next generation debate has raged on for months now and after Microsoft’s internal memo confirmed that the next Xbox won’t require an Internet connection all of the time (again, this hasn’t been confirmed), the idea never even entered Sony’s collective head.
In the latest issue of Game Informer, Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida said that PlayStation 4 was never going to be an always online console:
“Did we consider it [always-online]? No, we didn’t consider it. The main reason being that many countries don’t have robust internet connections. It makes sense for people to have internet connections to play online games, but for offline games there are many countries that we saw do not really have robust internet… We didn’t even consider that.”
On the topic of the social aspects of the PS4, Yoshida also said that those are pushed down the throat of people that don’t want to be bothered:
“You can go offline totally. Social is big for us, but we understand there are some people who are anti-social! So if you don’t want to connect to anyone else, you can do that.”
Whether Microsoft and Sony seriously considered a persistant Internet connection isn’t known, of course, but at least it’s good to see both companies coming around to the idea of offline functionality. As Yoshida says, there are many parts of the world where high speed internet isn’t as common as it is in the afluent cities across the world. This is a win for gamers, definitely.