Adam Orth has a lot of experience in the games industry having worked at PopCap Games, LucasArts, and Sony Computer Entertainment America. But in his current role as Creative Director of Microsoft Studios, his comments clearly reflect what’s happening in the company’s gaming division.
There have been multiple rumors lately that the next Xbox will be an always-connected console. The last of those appeared yesterday, suggesting that not only does the Xbox 720 require an Internet connection, it will stop you playing after just 3 minutes of being offline.
For the most part Microsoft has ignored the rumors and refused to comment. But Orth has come out to defend such a move. Using his Twitter account, Orth explained that he didn’t understand why there is so much drama about the potential for an always online console. He also pointed out pretty much every device is always on and used the tag #dealwithit.
In response, it was pointed out that not everyone has access to a reliable Internet connection. His surprising come back, after being given an example of a place where this was the case, was to say “Why on earth would I live there?” When it was also pointed out that always-online can backfire, such as in the case of SimCity’s launch recently, Orth just compared an Internet connection to electricity, stating both can fail.
Orth’s comments show a worrying naivety for someone in such a key position at Microsoft. It’s also telling that he has now protected his Twitter account following the conversation.
Requiring an Internet connection to use a console in no way benefits the consumer. Shipping a console with such a requirement will cause a backlash against Microsoft and the Xbox brand, and will impact sales in my opinion. If Microsoft is planning an always connected Xbox 720 then they should be taking notice of the feedback the rumors are getting. Nobody wants this.