Adam Orth, creative director for Microsoft, took to Twitter yesterday to bemoan negative sentiment towards “Always On” technology. The tweet heard ’round the net quickly caused waves over the supposed implication that Microsoft’s new console might require a constant Internet connection. What rankled people the most was Orth’s dismissive attitude towards those living in more rural areas where high speed Internet connections are problematic. Manveer Heir, senior gameplay designer from BioWare, took Orth to task which lead the two into a very public and ugly spat.
While the Internet raged on and Orth continually dug himself deeper into a hole through the night, Manveer eventually revealed that he and Orth are friends and that the whole episode was nothing more than trolling. Orth is no stranger to expressing his “passionate” opinion and was once quoted as saying, “F*** Halo.”
Claiming the whole episode as nothing more than friendly banter is hardly an excuse for such behavior. At the very least, this is the sort of discussion best saved for personal email accounts or Twitter’s direct message system. The wounds caused by the disastrous launch of Diablo III and SimCity are still fresh and to treat the ongoing (and justified) argument that an Always On system is anti-consumer so flippantly shows an insufferable level of arrogance. And coming from a Microsoft employee, no less!
Since Sony’s successful introduction of the PlayStation 4, Microsoft has been pressured by a gaming press that really wants to know how the new Xbox will top Sony’s forward thinking and indie friendly platform. While there have been rumors that the “Durango” will come with a Kinect, force game installs and require a constant internet connection, no one can say what the device will do until Microsoft is good and ready to present it. Thanks to the antics of a corporate loudmouth, the new Xbox will face intense scrutiny and Microsoft will be hard pressed to justify any unpopular schemes.