Microsoft has since issued an apology for Orth's comments (although they don't touch on the online-only remarks):
We apologize for the inappropriate comments made by an employee on Twitter yesterday. This person is not a spokesperson for Microsoft, and his personal views do not reflect the customer centric approach we take to our products or how we would communicate directly with our loyal consumers. We are very sorry if this offended anyone, however we have not made any announcements about our product roadmap, and have no further comment on this matter.
This online-only Nextbox rumour just doesn't seem to be going away. Kotaku are reporting that they have two separate sources who confirm the next Xbox requires an internet connection. Fair enough, maybe it's just another run-of-the-mill rumour article.
However, Microsoft Studio's Creative Director, Adam Orth has added credence to the Kotaku rumour with an outburst on Twitter. Orth has since changed his Twitter settings so you can't now view the Tweets in question, but the folks over at NeoGAF managed to take some screengrabs. Here are the most controversial snippets:
Orth has since qualified his remarks, saying that it was just a bit of banter between friends. Perhaps his comments are pseudo-confirmation that the next Xbox will be online-only, perhaps they aren't, but since then a developer at The Workshop Entertainment posted the following comment in a forum thread where the whole thing was being discussed:
"Given that legally I cannot confirm or deny if this information is true, nor can I comment on rumor or speculation, all I can say is be sure to pay your ISP bills ;)"
Naturally, at this stage this is all very much just rumour and speculation - none of this is concrete and we'll have to wait for Microsoft's reveal before we know for sure - but it's not looking too good right now.