Microsoft Studios creative director Adam Orth made a controversial statement on Twitter, as he wrote that he didn’t “get the drama around having an “always on” console. Every device is “always on”. That’s the world we live in.” This comes after a leak revealed that Microsoft’s next console will require an internet connection to run. After getting some critical comments, he compared it to a vacuum cleaner being dependent on electricity to run, saying “Electricity goes out too.”
This analogy seems completely misplaced, as there’s inarguably a huge difference between forcing people to connect to the internet, and making sure they have a power source. It’s very surprising that Adam Orth doesn’t understand the discontent voiced on the issue, as it comes just weeks after the SimCity debacle. To demand that people must always have an internet connection to simply start games is always going to be unpopular. For games it’s understandable due to the issue of piracy, but to build it into consoles seems excessive.
Unfortunately Orth doesn’t offer any real explanation as to why an internet connection will be required at all times, and goes on to write, “Every device is now “always on”. That’s the world we live in. #dealwithit.” This is a very weak argument for defending a required connection, simply referring to the state of things as the underlying reason. It seems more like an expression of techno-utopianism, i.e. that more technology will always be “good”, and being more connected is a benefit, without fully thinking about the consequences. He goes into defensive mode when user Manveer Heir refers to the internet issues one might experience if you don’t live in very connected places, to which Orth replies, “Why on Earth would I live there?” At around that point some PR person at Microsoft ought to have tackled him from his computer and held him as far from the internet as humanly possible. As this story spreads on the internet, Microsoft could be pressured to issue some kind of explanation for it – maybe even an apology – which is unfortunate because I don’t Adam Orth had any intentions of offending anyone. He just didn’t realize he should have backed off right away.
Once companies start looking down at their customers – even if they were entitled to do it – they’re on a very dangerous road. With this statement it seems like Microsoft have completely overlooked the fact that some of their customers might not want a constant internet connection, either because they feel it’s intrusive, or because they have unstable internet connections.
Why should the quality of my internet connection prevent me from enjoying game when I want to? What are your thoughts on this issue? Let us know below!