Xbox president Don Mattrick says Microsoft has a product for people who don't have Internet connectivity: “it's called Xbox 360.”

The revelation came during an interview with GameTrailers prior to Microsoft's E3 conference, as Mattrick attempted to explain Microsoft's strategy and rationale for requiring an Internet connection on Xbox One.

Once people see Microsoft's line-up of games, “people are going to love it,” said Mattrick, “and they're going to understand what we are trying to create, and how it links games and entertainment, the functionality of the box, some of the advantages that you get, of having a box that is designed to use an online state. So that to me is the future-proof choice, and I think people could’ve arguably gone the other way if we didn’t do it, and fortunately we have a product for people who aren’t able to get some form of connectivity, it’s called Xbox 360.”

GameTrailers host Geoff Keighley pressed Mattrick on the point: “Stick with 360, that's your message, if you don't like it?”

“Well, if you have zero access to the Internet, that [Xbox 360] is an offline device,” Mattrick replied. “Seriously, when I read the blogs and thought about who's really the most impacted, there was a person who said ‘hey, I'm on a nuclear sub[marine]’ – I don't even know what it means to be on a nuclear sub, but I've got to imagine that it's not easy to get an Internet connection. I can empathise, if I was on a sub I'd be disappointed.”

Asked to explain how the connection requirement fit into Microsoft's vision for the Xbox One over the next five years, Mattrick elaborated: “It's a service-based world. If you think about things and how they get better with an Internet connection, that's a design choice that we've made. I think people will appreciate it, it's something that when people experience it, it's easier than having people like me describe it. It really is powerful, and we did a lot of testing, a lot of consumer research, and I think we made a good choice.”

Mattrick admitted that Microsoft knew they would get some push-back from consumers. “Absolutely. It's a super-passionate community of people. They're loving what we do, it's very important to them, and they're opinionated. And they're smart. They look at all those things and they say, ‘hey, is this going to impact me in a negative way?’ and until you use it, it's really hard to understand what all the advantages are.

“Xbox has been created by gamers for gamers. I find it kind of ironic when people take a step back and think, look, this is a company that hasn't thought about at its core what it means to have great game experiences. We're going to deliver that. And we're going to continue to innovate on the platform, on the capabilities of what Xbox One can do, and I think in the long run we'll build a global leading product that people are going to love and embrace.”

Sony's next-gen PlayStation 4 console will not require an Internet connection.

Update: Other Microsoft staffers have been repeating the “stick with 360” line to journalists at E3, so it appears to be the official PR position and not just a slip by Don Mattrick.