Here's my take on the issue:
I'm more concerned about what always online means for used games on this system. Is "always online" just a way for them to implement a no used game policy? If that's the case, I'll take my dollars elsewhere. The only way I'm willing to buy a console that doesn't allow used games, is if there are 75 to 80 percent off sales maybe 4 or 5 times a year. Daily sales that always cycle through. You gotta give me those super deep discounts, if you're never going to let me sell that game to somebody else. I buy a lot of games from Steam and GamersGate and Amazon Downloads, etc, etc. I don't mind buying these things I can never ever sell to anybody else, but if I'm going to sign my life away to leasing instead of owning, then I better get a ginormous discount.
Of course, we know that huge discounts like what I'm talking about won't be coming along for several years. Sure, discounts like that might eventually happen, but only when this new machine has a back library from a few years prior that they can start putting on sale at 75 or 80 percent off. So, I'll probably just sit on the sidelines when it comes to the next Xbox. I know I'll pick one up eventually, regardless of how crazy MS gets with everything, but I'm normally there on day 1. I bought my original Xbox and my 360 on launch day. It will be really weird for me to not buy this new Xbox on launch day. Assuming the whole no used game thing actually happens.
If the "Always Online" doesn't also bring along the no-used game thing along with it, then my general attitude is that I'm not necessarily all up in arms about always having to be online. I think I have some PC games that have DRM like that, and so far that hasn't bit me in the butt. My internet has been pretty solid for the most part. Still, a huge worry would be the kind of disaster that happened to Sony when PSN got hacked and was down for all that time. People that owned that Final Fight game that Capcom made for PSN, couldn't play that game for almost two months (or was it even longer ?) , because it required a connection to PSN. That's the thing. I know that MS hasn't had such a long outage, but they have ran into problems a few times during the launch of certain games.
The other thing is, that the whole always online thing is going to bring some other unpleasant things along with it. Part of the reason they want to have that so bad, is because they want to be one button press away from your wallet. They need you to be connected to online, signed in with your gamertag, and (hopefully for MS) a valid credit card on file ready to buy all the little microtransactions that everybody is going to try to throw down our throats at every possible opportunity. You know that one of the huge goals for all the publishers in this next go round, is to make the process of paying for in game items much easier and more seamless and less obtrusive. Obviously, they need you to be online for the transaction to go through. If you really think about it, Microsoft doesn't make much money on customers that aren't online. They really need you to be a part of the whole program. Paying for Gold, so you can get Netflix and play online, etc, etc, paying for map packs and skin packs, etc, etc. Maybe renting an on-demand HD movie or something. They want you in "their" ecosystem, spending your space bucks. If you're offline, it's pretty hard to do that. Sure, if you're offline, you still might be buying a few games here and there, but you're not really in their ecosystem, spending the kind of money they really need you to spend to make the whole deal worth it for them.