This debate of always on or not is getting a lot of attention right now, and after reading the tweets made by Adam Orth and that some people are agreeing with him, I decided to bring to light why exactly this is a problem and in the process bring a new argument to the table. So let's begin shall we?
The classical argument against always on is a simple one: Not everyone has reliable internet and hell, not everyone has an internet connection at all, and even for those that do have a reliable internet connection, with the advent of data caps, do you really want to use a huge part of that data cap on authentication? If there ever was a punishing and intrusive DRM for legitimate customers, this is it.
But we all know this argument, so lets bring a new one.
What most people forget when they say that everything is connected, is the simple fact that most of the time, being connected is an added value, not the value itself. When we buy anything it is to cover an specific function; so we buy a fridge to keep our food fresh, we buy a phone to make phone calls, and we buy a console to play games. In all of those examples, internet is an option that is given to us as an added value to complement that primary function.
But a phone needs to be connected to the mobile network for it to function you say. Well, yes it does, but that is because it's primary function is to make calls and for that to be possible it needs that connection, we buy a phone knowing and accepting this, just as when we buy a fridge we buy it knowing that it needs food to be able to fulfill it's function, and when we buy a console it needs games for it to do it's job of playing games.
As for the MMO argument, MMO's and multiplayer games primary function is to play online with others, we understand and accept this because that is the need that we want to fulfill. We buy single player games to play alone, in those being online is and added value, and thus optional.
To give a more concrete example, imagine that for you to be able to use your XBOX 360 to play any game, you need a to have a Kinect connected to it, even the ones that do not use a Kinect at all; or to go with a phone analogy, which seems to be all the rage now, for you to be able to place a phone call, the phone needs to be equipped with a camera.
Would any of you accept this?
So unless all the games for the new XBOX are MMO's or multiplayer games, then I don't see how it is acceptable for always on to be a requirement.
This is important to the discussion since it changes the argument; that the real problem with always on is that an optional component is preventing us from using the primary function of a device.