I'm a little shocked that you need an update before it will play a game, and a bit skeptical that this could be a case where someone's words were taken out of context.
I think in Sony's case it has to do with licensing fees, just like they said on the bombcast. If people remember clearly... Years ago you had to activate a feature on the PS3 online before your console would stream WMA/WMV files from your PC. It's probably still the case.
With Microsoft, if it's true about the games not being playable, I would lean more towards security and copy protection. It's given them a lot more time to work on the EXACT build of the OS that will allow games to be played out of the gate. Remember there is a pretty robust piracy scene still on current gen consoles that publishers still want to put a dent in.
I do feel for those internet challenged locations though, however, trust me... Those folks are used to improvising even for day to day stuff like the challenge of having enough fuel, food, easy access to health services, hostile wildlife, you name it. If they want an Xbox One and it needs to connect to the internet once, I bet they will find a way to make that happen.
I think it's super interesting and cool that we're finally far enough along where they can start manufacturing early enough to make a ton of consoles and still be working on the OS until the last week before the street date.
By now hopefully most of us are used to connected devices and computers. We all love Steam so much but I think it's easy to forget the online requirement which is actually the thing that has made it such a success.
People who complain about piracy are sad people. If you don't want people copying your digital information, stop selling digital information. If there was a machine that could replicate any car aesthetically and mechanically, everyone would build themselves a Ferrari and no one would have a problem with it because you'd still have to buy all of the materials, but copying digital information is free and that's somehow a problem. The beauty with ideas (information) is, you can claim ownership as much as you want, but once it's out there, I can do whatever the fuck I want with it.
If you want to control your work, you'll have to actually control your work and force people to play your game at "game theaters", but once you sell your service remotely to multiple people simultaneously for an easy buck, don't pretend your greed is anything less than my greed. And by way, between pirates and CD Projekt RED, who is making money out of other people's [previous] work? You iterate, I pirate, deal with it.
It is normal in some cultures, particularly in Asia, to view an idea as a resource where the only cost is the expense/time it takes to acquire it and make use of it. Compensating the originator of the idea is entirely optional. In the U.S., intellectual property is protected by law. Whether that is agreeable to it's citizens is up to them (ideally). We (U.S. citizens in my case) would need to go through a process to change the law to make ideas 'free' when used for commerce before it would be legal to 'pirate' something protected.
I wonder, though, what kinds of products we would get, and of what quality, if content creators were not protected by their societies.
If I could simply resell my copy of GTA V to you for $1, because I acquired it for $60, or for nothing, do you think that GTA V would have been created at all?
There are some great technical nuggets in this thread in between the bickering.
Software can do amazing things. It's always fascinating when a developer can do something amazing with hardware that others can't seem to do. A classic example for me during this generation has been what Naughty Dog has been able to do with the PS3. Just thinking about it makes me want to boot up The Last of Us.