A couple of weeks ago, we posted about a rumor that suggested Microsoft‘s next console, code-named Durango, might have an always-online requirement. This idea that the next-gen consoles would require a constant internet connection has been floating around for a while, but following the reveal of the PlayStation 4, Sony dispelled the rumor, at least in regards to their own console.
Microsoft, on the other hand, continues to be tight-lipped about the state of their next console, refusing to either confirm or deny many of the rumors that accompany Durango. However, a series of defensive and dismissive tweets made yesterday by Adam Orth, Creative Director of Microsoft’s video game division, may lend more credence to the always-online rumblings.
It all started with Adam tweeting the following public dismal of the always-online idea:
“Sorry, I don’t get the drama around having an “always on” console.”
The complete exchange between he and Manveer Heir @manveerheir, a Senior Gameplay Designer at BioWare, can be seen in the screen capture below thanks to the quick thinking of NeoGAF users who sensed the inevitable “protected account status” update that was soon to follow.
Orth protected his account not long after the above conversation, but the screen cap shows that he completely missed the point of the argument. Dismissive comments such as “Electricity goes out too,” and “Why on earth would I want to live there?” when Heir suggested he live in a smaller city with a less reliable internet connection started quite a fire, especially on Reddit, and seems to hint at the man being rather short-sighted.
As if that in itself weren’t bad enough, he also made several jokes that further missed the point of the ire behind the always-online idea. Not purchasing a vacuum for fear of electricity going out, and not buying a cell phone because the reception in your area is unreliable are not analogous to not buying a game console because of its always-online requirement.
I could say a lot about this. Growing up, we never had a lot of money. A video game console was a luxury, one that we were always extremely excited to receive. We couldn’t afford to pay a monthly bill for an internet connection, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t play video games. Forcing the console of another family in a similar situation to always be online would eliminate that possibility.
Furthermore, electricity doesn’t have different degrees of strength. If you’re paying a utility bill, you’re getting electricity, plain and simple. Some internet connections are just weak and unbearable at their lowest price point. I have pretty decent internet at the house I live in while at school, but when I go back to my parents’ house during the summer months, they have satellite internet. Living in a rural area, that’s the best they can do, and sometimes, the nature of the satellite connection means that our consoles just won’t connect. It isn’t the same as losing electricity. Hell, it isn’t even the same as bad mobile reception, because when the reception is there, a phone will pick it up. These always-online consoles wouldn’t necessarily be able to use any active internet connection. What if you had to use dial-up? What then?
I have to stop. This makes me angry.
Update: We reached out to Microsoft’s PR firm, Edelman, and received the following statement regarding the tweets made by Adam Orth:
“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.” – Microsoft spokesperson
What’s really comical here is that the Chief of Staff for Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft, Aaron Greenberg, publicly admits on Twitter that he has no idea who Adam is. In response to an upset customer, Greenberg tweets:
“Very sorry if you were offended, I don’t actually know who he is.”
I’ll be counting down the days until Microsoft pulls the plug on Adam’s employment. Share your thoughts in the comment section below.