Yes they are different.They're 2 different worlds. Its not about being able to connect it,its the fact that they're taking the option to play offline completely. Sometimes I don't sign in or play online,sometimes I don't like to be bothered.Also, playing online all the time uses up internet usage , not everyone has unlimited usage. If you can't see the big deal, then you're just lost in this conversation.
The fact that, you can't even bring over your game to a friends house without having to bring your new xbox is ridiculous. Locking the game to your console is absurd. Not everyone drops 60$ for games , not saying used games are the way to go but you have to think of it that way. There are people that have bills to pay on important things , sometimes they can't always get new games so they play with their friends but since the games are console locked you can't exactly do that without the hassle of bringing your console as well as the game.
Thats the big deal
they arent asking you to play online. Just that you have the xbox connected with an internet connection. Is it that difficult to plug an ethernet cable into your xbox or connect to your local wireless network?
Let me say this one more time:
They are not forcing you to play any games online, only be connected to the internet through the Xbox.
This is most likely to do verification checks for the validity of the games you're playing. If you don't like it, there's a good chance that for the first couple of years, the Xbox 360 will still be around. Buy one, soft-mod it, and play all the pirated/used games you want without an internet connection.
With regards to "OMG YOU CANT BRING YOUR GAMES TO A FRIENDS HOUSE!"...Are you sure that they arent going to release news about their new format? For all any of us know, they may start using a cloud gaming service. Let you log in to your account from a friends house with your account information, and play the game from there. You know, kind of like how steambox is going to work (or is assumed to work).
Again, a whole lot of noise in this thread about something that no one knows more than the basic details about.