The next Xbox is largely rumored to be something akin to a cable box (They have already started this with U-verse and Fios ), If this were true that could explain the “always online” rumor as cable boxes generally are always connected to their networks. While the concept of a console requiring online seems like a suicidal move,it might actually be MicroSofts best.
A few years back Microsoft revealed that they want an Xbox in every home. With over 100 million household ‘cable’ subscribers in the United States alone microsoft could easily secure a large userbase in this field alone.
By expanding the Xbox Userbase Microsoft could essentially push gaming onto non gamers and garner interest from people would have otherwise not bought games. For example a grandparent may buy a kinect game to play with their grandchildren.
Kinect a bridge to a new audience.
It’s no secret that Microsoft is going to push the Kinect,they have been doing it for years and will continue to with the next Xbox. The idea of controlling your tv with gestures has always been popular, whether in scifi movies or in the tech industry and Microsoft wants to bring that Everywhere.
By putting a kinect with every Xbox Microsoft will likely try and use it to bridge gamers and your average TV watching Joe into one group.
A new level of advertising.
By having the Nextbox always connected Microsoft would have control over what it streams and could use extra bandwidth to download demos onto your Xbox. This would allow MicroSoft to push titles in a way unlike any other before.
In game advertising could also see a boost from the always online feature,by always being connected Microsoft or a game developer could change in game ads whenever they feel the need,this would mean more revenue from advertisements.
Getting a console “cheaper” than ever.
In most cases when you sign up for Cable Tv or Sattelite Tv you receive a “free” Dvr(or equivalent) and they earn enough money off your subscription to be able to just give you Dvr or in this case Xbox for free.
This would be a great way of getting cable users to switch providers,a free game console is a much better incentive then $10 off for 3 months.
If by some chance MicroSoft succeeds in doing this the next X-box could become an unprecedented success for MicroSoft. But this is all speculation and based on rumors,and until Microsoft confirms this we should all take everything with a grain of salt.