After SimCity, it's safe to say that the term "always on" is a bit of a taboo. While it's still very much part of the discussion concerning games, it's also not in a developer's best interest to mention such a feature at this point in time.
However, there are a few games, like Bungie's Destiny for example, which have already committed to the always-on requirement, and must now face increased scrutiny from fans. Luckily, Bungie signed a deal with Activision not current public enemy #1 Electronic Arts to publish Destiny, but nonetheless they have some damage control to do.
And, in response to questions regarding Destiny's always-on requirement, Bungie has partially set fan fears at ease, saying that this is not their first "rodeo." As gamers may know, Bungie is very familiar with online multiplayer and know what it is like to launch a game with millions of simultaneous players.
At the same time, Destiny is a very different animal than Halo in that Halo only required an online connection for multiplayer. The game's single player and cooperative campaigns could be enjoyed without an Internet connection. Destiny, on the other hand, cannot be played without an Internet connection.
Basically, Bungie plans to use the lessons learned from the various Halo launches they have survived to inform their approach to Destiny. We'd recommend some extensive beta testing, but that doesn't always seem to help in these situations.
For the time being, though, Bungie plans to "focus on some less frightening but equally important challenges." Part of that plan should include a GDC talk, wherein the developer is expected to reveal more about the world of Destiny.
Last month the developer finally lifted the curtain off their mysterious project, but specific gameplay details were few and far between. Matter of fact, while the developer talks about an always-on requirement, we don't have any clear idea as to what that requirement will support. Multiplayer is obviously the backbone of Destiny's MMO-esque experience, but how exactly that works is still unclear.
However, we don't expect GDC to be the key forum for such a reveal to take place. Rather, E3 2013 seems like a better fit for Bungie to show off more of Destiny. Perhaps they will come full circle and showcase more footage during Microsoft's press conference.
With SimCity's failures, are you worried about Destiny's always-on requirement? Do you think that Bungie will actually be able to handle a massive launch-day population?
Destiny is believed to be a 2014 release on the Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, and other next-gen platforms.