Microsoft Creative Director ‘Doesn’t Get The Drama’ Around Always-Online Consoles, Devices

Microsoft Creative Director ‘Doesn’t Get The Drama’ Around Always-Online Consoles, Devices

Adam Orth is a creative director at Microsoft Studios. That places him pretty high up on Microsoft’s video game chain of command. Not the top, but he’s an important guy.

Anyway, earlier today, Adam took to Twitter to seemingly talk about our report that the next Xbox console will require an always-online internet connection.

While Microsoft has never publicly acknowledged or referred to this next machine, or that report in particular, Orth nevertheless felt the need to comment personally, telling people – as first collated by NeoGAF – that “I don’t get the drama around having an ‘always on’ console. Every device now is ‘always on’. That’s the world we live in.”

What followed was…this.


It’s very interesting that such a prominent Microsoft Studios employee would comment on something like this at all, let alone get into it with people – including game developers – over Twitter. While his opinions here are clearly his own, and make no specific mention of a new Microsoft console, it’ll still turn heads given his position and the timing of the comments.

We’re still weeks or even a couple of months away from the official unveiling of Microsoft’s next console. They’ve got plenty of time to re-think their plans, refine their message, squash rumours or convince us further that an always-online console is the way to go.


    • Arrogant developer steps down after telling customer base to go fuck themselves.

      He will be a meme like Scumbag Steve in no time. The internetz does not understand context and is a harsh and unforgiving place…

  • That’s some terrible logic right there. What if they’re in an area that can only use the internet via a wireless dongle that isn’t compatible with the new Xbox like they weren’t with the older one? If they’re only accessible to say, very low speed broadband with low dl limits that doesn’t allow them to?


    • I don’t think a bad connection is an issue (unless they want to play online), they only need to verify they are online, whic even a dialup modem could do.

      This will still cost them a lot of customers, particularly given the figures on the number of consoles actually connected to the internet is astoundingly low. From memory, less than 40 per cent.

      • From the rumor mill you can only play for 8 minutes without a connection. Plus there is the consideration of what does it need an always on connection for.
        Pulling down the latest ads or sending data back and forth. Depending on what that is a small download limit of a modem could go over costing much more than the dial up cost. I haven’t check dial up in ages but they used to be something like 100 MB limits of a $10 plan.

        The other concern is what does it need to do before it lets you play a game, are all your menus and options pulled from ‘the cloud’ so you have to wait for it to download something before you can launch a game/

          • Holy crap. That’s terrible. We have sketchy DSL 2 here with Telstra that drops out at least twice a day, sometimes takes up to 15 minutes to reconnect. They’re making zero effort to fix it too, as we’re expected to get NBN in the next 12 months :\ (not happy at all btw about it) so wtf about people like me whos gaming will be unceremoniously interrupted because of that?

            Looks like PS4 all the way.

          • I am subcontracted by the company in charge of the NBN. The NBN is being rolled out now. I know this for a fact because I’m literally rolling out the fibre optic cables into the telstra pits feeding to houses.

          • We’re aware its being rolled out right now, it’s in Goodna near my place, however, they constantly keep letting us know the target time for completion of areas is being pushed back and back. Forest Lake was meant to originally be connected end of 2012, then 1st quarter 2013, now its uncertain.

          • Yeah, my area isn’t even listed on the map as ‘construction to commence within 3 years’. I have no confidence in the NBN being available to me within the next console generation.

        • Okay, if 3 minutes is true (or even any time limit), than I withdraw my statement. If it was only verification upon boot up I think its passable for 99% of people. Personally, the constantly on every minute wouldn’t impact me personally much, but I can see how it would be a significant hindrance to many others.

          • Until recently (bought a new router), I didn’t even have a cable connected to either of my consoles. The only machine with connectivity was my PC, because that’s what needs it. The consoles were netless. And happier that way – “There is an update for this game which is required to play.”
            “What, really? What if I just play it with the internet unplugged?”
            “Oh. Well. Then I wouldn’t know that you couldn’t play. Then I guess you could play. But you’d be missing out on annoying pop-up messages advising when your friends are online and offline! Or ads! Or firmware updates for the machine’s OS to ‘improve’ (jam more ads into) the experience! And patches for your games, delaying you even further from playing them every time you put the disc in!”
            “You make this a very easy decision, xbox. YOINK!”

  • Not sure this is a legitimate twitter account. Usually people in such positions have “verified” twitter accounts…

  • Vodaphone’s reception is basically 0 in my house.
    It means that I still want a mobile-plan, but I won’t be buying it from Vodaphone.

    Same thing goes with the NeXbox. I prefer the original Xbox and the 360 over their generation’s counterparts, but I won’t bother with loyalty if they require internet.

  • Define ‘always on’. ‘Always needs’ or ‘always has’. Because a vacuum cleaner needs electricity, but games don’t need internet (having it is an optional benefit).

    • That’s what I thought was silly with that comment though I get what he’s saying. You could also say “Sometimes the electricity goes out. I will not purchase a flashlight.”

      Sure a flashlight might be better if it’s always plugged into a power socket as it will never run flat. Making it so it won’t work of the battery though restricts the practical use of the flashlight and would be a stupid design decision.

      Edited to try and explain what I wanted better.

      • I think that’s a nice analogy that highlights just how stupid he is. I mean is this match fixing? Do Microsoft want their console to look like a turd compared to the PS4 before it’s even announced?

    • My vacuum cleaner just needs to have been charged. It doesn’t need electricity. Until it runs out of charge :(.

  • If this is a real account, then he’s being really “professional” by stirring up a shit storm and essentially getting into fights via Twitter. I’ve seen other idiots fired for less idiocy over Twitter. Needless to say, he’s coming across as a real dick.

  • A someone that’s had a solid internet connection for the last 10 years, I’ve never fully experienced the problems behind an always online service (I really didn’t have that many problems with Diablo 3)… Except for this one: It’s not when my service is down there’s a problem, it’s when your service is down that there’s a problem.

    Don’t tell me I can play at your convenience and then not deliver a stable service. It’s been fairly put up with for games for so long because they’re $60 investments… Asking us to fork out over $500 for a product that may not work on launch day because Anonymous decide to DDOS your servers for laughs will go down really well with consumers.

    • Yes I was going to post something similar. My internet is perfectly fine, I can stream HD quality videos from any time I like and I’ve hardly ever had a problem. But I have noticed that about a quarter of the time I turn on my 360, it tells me it can’t connect to XBL. This is going to be a major issue as I don’t see why their new service will be any better. I won’t be getting an xbox 720 if it needs you to be online, it’s that simple.

      • Exactly. The problem for most potential buyers isn’t the occasional internet outage at our end; that’s pretty rare. The problem is that the “always on” requirement means an outage when the publisher’s server fritzes out. Historically that happens rather a lot, just ask Ubisoft or Maxis.

    • Same for me. Never had a problem (except when I moved, and I caught up on all those Wii and 3DS games), and didn’t have internet for a week. I mainly play PC though, so having internet on all the time is just normal.

      For console users I can see how its different.

  • Wow, they must have some amazingly tall ivory towers in Redmond. Hope they can afford the upkeep. God knows I won’t be buying any Xbox that needs “always on” connection. I can only get dial-up speeds in my flat, and I’m damned if I’m going to give up loading Kotaku for the privilige of accessing Microsoft’s network. I get CloudSave errors a couple of times a week as it is.

  • Wow, this guy just signed an internet death warrant. Imagine all the hate mail and death threats he’s going to get soon. Only an idiot says comments like this. Supporting always on is one thing but down right insulting your customers takes it to another level. If you’ve read his other comments, it becomes extremely difficult not to want to punch this idiot in the face.

    • No, he has not signed a death warrant. Nor is he going to receive hate mail, etc.

      Instead, when the sales figures come in show that less than 0.01% of manufactured consoles are shifting, the execs are going to see the comments he made and say, “Nice one….”

      • You gravely overestimate the number of people who care about ‘always online’. Diablo 3 sold millions and still has millions of regular players despite the uproar, as did SimCity. As much noise as ‘always online’ seems to generate from people who hate it, those people don’t end up making that much of a difference to the end result.

  • Thing is, we don’t have to “HASHTAG-dealwithit” we can just purchase a competitor’s system.

  • When I go over my humble monthly Internet quota, I enjoy being able to play my PS3 offline without having to download patches at dial up speed. Always online has too many problems with it if you’re not in the .01% of the world’s population with consistent high speed, no limit broadband.

  • What an arrogant arse! Not everyone can afford the internet and telling them to ‘get with the times’ – you do realise we’ve just been through/going through a recession, right?

    Microsoft need to muzzle their employees before they destroy their consumer base.

    • Tub of popcorn, $10.
      Soda, $8.

      Watching the PR meldown at Microsoft, priceless.

      Somethings money can’t buy. For everything else, you know the rest….

  • If this guy had access to a time machine he could get himself a pretty high-up job at Sony circa-2006, I reckon.

        • To paraphrase “So what if we don’t have launch games, fuck you you’ll buy it anyway because we’re Sony bitches. Also $600 USD please, if you don’t like it I guess you won’t be playing any games.”

  • The balls on this guy! I haven’t seen balls of this magnitude since… Bill Hicks. But he wasn’t an arrogant dick about it.

  • Just occurred to me, if this always online thing is true (and this almost reads like an aggressive, childish confirmation) it means that in 20 years when Microsoft eventually decide to shutdown those servers, having a retro collection of Xbox 720 games is gonna be impossible. My NES will probably still work then as well!

    • Yes, and this is an issue with digital downloads and DLC in general. Whenever you have any sort of dial-home check, you’re ensuring that the games will stop working if
      (a) You are in a situation where the Internet is not working well (eg. on an airplane or a cruise ship)
      (b) The company shuts down their servers because they aren’t earning their way (have you tried playing the original Halo with multiplayer lately?)
      (c) The company running the servers goes bust (looked at Sony’s financials lately?)

      A one-off phone-home on registration (without constant checkins) is common with PC games but only addresses problem (a).

  • FWIW Adam Orth later went on to tweet (and Manveer re-tweeted): “Just the normal daily back and forth I have with Manveer. Apologies for offending non-cities. I was trolling him personally.”

    Oh and to be clear, he was talking about “always on” NOT “always online”.

    • Re-reading his tweets as ‘always (powered) on’ instead of ‘always-online (internet)’ makes a lot of sense. Lots of electronic appliances have a standby mode where they are still drawing power to keep settings stored, or enable auto-updates like ps3.

      I believe this may be a storm in a tea cup that has originated from a misinterpretation of the ‘always-on’ term.

      Always requiring to be powered on – I can live with.
      Always requiring internet – not ideal!

      • I don’t like the idea of always on either. Because it’s inefficinet and wasteful. If I didn’t have a fridge I’d switch my power off everytime I left the house.

      • Well you can already leave your Xbox downloading when you “turn off” the device so that you can still download. So “Always On” could make so much sense. Microsoft is pretty good, in some aspects, at listening to customer needs and viewing trends so hopefully they won’t shoot themselves in the foot and go Always Online.

    • I think he’s still talking about both otherwise he would have never replied to Adam Wells comments about people without Internet with: “Those people should definitely get with the times and get the Internet. it’s awesome.”

      While that reply can be taken by itself; if I was him I would have been so confused about people pointing out a lack of Internet connection, when I was simply talking about power. This is made worse by his reference to power going out as a backup to his argument rather than the point and his example that he still needs a mobile phone in a spotty neighbourhood.

      Not only that but as a Microsoft director he would know about the new Xbox rumors as well as understanding the value of online functions that have been pushed aggressively for both Xbox and Windows.

  • Bloody Microsoft! I think they don’t realise that some parts of the world still have spotty internet connections. I mean even in here is Australia – some suburbs can only get wireless 3G as they are too far from the exchange and there is no cable in the area

  • I’ve had 316 disconnects on my ADSL2+ from iiNet n the last 2 months… I should just #Dealwithit

  • Apparently Manveer Heir and Adam Orth were just trolling each other and are friends. Based off a tweet from Manveer.

  • With the mobile phone analogy… I would still buy the mobile phone but if given the choice between one that doesn’t even allow me access to my music and games when I don’t have reception and one that does, I know which one I’ll buy!

  • The comments he’s made would make perfect sense… if he worked for Sony! Pretty much every tweet he’s made is $ in Sony’s pocket rather the MS. Personally I don’t like the “always on” but like even less the rumour about 2nd hand games. It’ll cut game sales if people can’t return/trade in games they don’t like.

  • My internet is usually pretty stable so it shouldn’t technically be an issue, but what happens when there’s some big release like GTA6 and their servers are suddenly overloaded and people can’t connect?

    It’s not likely that I’ll buy the thing anyway, but this rumour isn’t doing them any favours so if it isn’t true they should probably announce that is isn’t true and end the speculation.

    • I’d suggest that they would argue that they’ve coped with every Call Of Duty launch… so they should be able to manage it.

      *I’m not agreeing, I’m merely putting forth a possible argument.

  • For the last 5 years of my life I have been shut out from reality attempting to build a program that is capable of slapping people over the internet and physically hurt them.

    I am still without progress and things like this…tear…me…apart…

  • This guy has over looked on huge factor.

    If Microsoft goes bust (it can happen, Sun Microsystems is now just an arm of Oracle and it used to be bigger!) and the serves get shut down, how the hell is anyone suppose to still play the consoles?

    This is where all online DRM fails: those who maintain it are not going to be around forever.

    It’s almost as if they are trying to create the modern day DIVX (the player, not the codec which is spelt DivX).

  • Sounds like this fellow suffers from the ‘Everyone is like me / should be like me’ sydrome/delusion. Not all people have great internet access. Not everyone wants to be online 24/7 either. Looks like I’ll be getting a PS4 next console generation.

  • All I’m getting today are reasons to avoid the Xbox 720 and get a PS4 instead.. and none of it is coming from Sony!

    • Who says Sony needs to advertise/give us good reasons to buy the PS4 when they can just sit back and wait for MS to screw up? 😉

  • I have friends who live and work on a Cruise Ship and their internet connection is strictly limited to being on shore, Their current 360 can’t access the internet as its blocked behind a web portal but that hasn’t stopped them from having “Halo nights” in the crew mess hall.

    What about people who’s internet connections are locked behind portals cause of where they live and work Adam?

  • I’ve tended to be against the rest of the world in regards to DRM. I don’t throw my arms up in the air in a rage when a company tries any little thing to mitigate piracy and used game sales. HOWEVER, always online on a console at this stage of the game is just plain stupid. Forced online game registering is a much better step. Actually, now that I think of it, maybe this is just a distraction so people are less annoyed when that becomes the ‘compromise’ later.

    Also the guy is a moron.

    • Registering a game isn’t necessarily any better though. I bought Portal as an impulse purchase the last time I was at EB Games in Melbourne CBD, came home to install it, and the code to register it didn’t work. Sure, it was fixed, but only after I jumped through hoops to prove I had bought a legitimate copy of the game. While I understand why I had to prove I actually bought a copy (that’s not the problem), what annoyed me is that through no fault of my own the code didn’t work in the first place. And this isn’t even the first time I’ve had to deal with this sort of thing, even though I’m not that much of a PC gamer.

  • What a terrible attitude to have! From a business perspective Microsoft should be giving us good reasons as to why we should purchase their console in the first place (granted nothing’s official yet). Placing silly restrictions like this only alienates potential customers and is really only a reason NOT to buy it (for the record i’m connected 99% of the time barring any internet problems but have taken my 360 to houses without internet and damn well expect the ability for either scenario!)

    Besides, these statements and the obvious attitude behind such a decision really only show how conceited and arrogant Microsoft are as a whole – throwing in one sided restrictions and expecting people to “deal with it” (well people WILL deal with it one way or another, hopefully by sending Microsoft a clear message by not buying it).

    Should the rumours of this, as well mandatory Kinect and (to a lesser extent) even retail games requiring a one use key to play (basically turning the console into a sub-par PC) all turn out to be accurate – then I outright refuse to support such a ridiculous “console”.

  • I know i am going to be one far from normal, but I have a xbox 360 in my Audi S4. I don’t have internet in my car so with a new xbox i wont be able to play LIMBO at traffic lights?


  • I’m reading those tweets and looking at the reaction on the comments. Wow what a disconnect. It seems the level of sensitivity and PRness is through the roof online. Tact is seen as being condescending? I think he’s just having an honest debate, which I find an interesting one to have. I guess if you’re working for a company you should have zero opinions.

    • The fact that he holds these opinions isn’t the problem. (It’s a bit of a problem, but not the main reason for the backlash.)

      The problem is that the Creative Director at Microsoft Studios is literally telling customers who have legitimate concerns to “deal with it.” It’s actually mind-boggling that someone as high up as this guy is this ignorant. His head so far up his own ass that he believes that the only reason people might not have an internet connection is because they are “behind the times”.

      He can’t even defend his own position, even though he tries to with a few false equivalences. It’s troubling that this guy is in charge about a lot of decisions that will affect Xbox’s future and he holds views that he can’t defend. It’s even more troubling that he thinks his vacuum cleaner and mobile phone analogies are in any way relevant.

      If you’re working for a company you’re allowed opinions, but if those opinions are that the your customers deserves nothing but contempt, then you should probably keep them to yourself.

      • Exactly. And at the very least, if you’re someone in such a position within a large company, there’s a certain level of responsibility there because whether they like it or not they generally represent the company when making such comments.

        That being said if he were to say something specifically along the lines of “these are my personal opinions” then that’s one thing. But right now they’re just as much the words of Microsoft as they are his own. It’s fair to assume that this at least potentially reflects Microsoft’s attitude and direction over the situation.

        One more point to make is that a lot of people have already had concerns regarding a lot of the rumours around “Durango”. People were already quite upset before these tweets, so having this on top of that (as well as the attitude behind telling people to “deal with it”), it’s only natural that people would react the way they have over it.

    • But he’s not using any tact. He’s telling people to ‘deal with it’.

      That’s the opposite of using tact.

  • If this is a real account then it pretty much confirms an always on connection.
    Why else would he be defending it?

  • I think this is a troll. “Always-on” means the thing is always switched on.

    If not then are we expecting future consoles to have SIM cards with a payment plan?

    • If he can’t tell the difference between a Power outlet and an internet connection than he really shouldn’t have the job he has.

  • What a dumbshit. It’d be nice if someone with a brain at Microsoft realised what a fucking moronic thing it is this guy is doing and he had to look for a new job.

  • Hey whats the difference between an iPhone with a lot of installed games and no connection
    And an Xbox 720 with a lot of installed games and no connection?


  • Wow. I loved my xbox and my 360, but if this really is the case I’m not sure I’ll be on board next generation, I’ll switch to the PS4. It isn’t my internet connection I worry about (Although I worry about what information is being passed while it is always online, and if it is taking away from my usage), but THEIR servers and their service. I would not submit to the possibility of not being able to play my games if something is wrong on their end. More so, what if I want to play my games far into the future? How will I know if their service is still ‘online’? Locking me out of the games I’ve bought? Ugh. Can’t believe this guy didn’t pay attention to the recent SimCity and learn something

  • I’ve gone without internet for the last 3 months as i moved houses and waiting for telstra to do network lead in work. So if i had the new xbox now i cant play the games ive bought.
    Even steam has an ‘offline mode’

    • Steam does have an offline mode, but I find more often than not that it doesn’t work unless you turn it on *before* you lose internet access. If your ISP suddenly refuses to let your router synch, you try to play a steam game and it just says something like “unable to play this game while offline.”

  • I’ve always been a 360 kid, but if the next xbox is always online, I won’t be getting it, it’s a deal breaker for me.

  • Pretty bad when one of the guys who could actually help the problem, is telling everyone to ‘deal with it’.

    I have adsl. Is it always on? No. In fact, last year we lost internet for almost 7 weeks because of a line fault, and telstra and tpg blaming each other for the issue. Is it then fair that I can’t play any games because I’m not online? According to this guy, I should ‘deal with it’.

  • Surely this will just lead to more piracy, as people will buy the console and get the firmware altered to remove the check?

  • Right at this moment at 9.50PM I can’t connect to Xbox Live. 🙁 Nothing else is wrong with my internet.

  • Remember the PSN outage? That was such a huge thing and didn’t really impact playing a lot of games except for multiplayer.

    So if something were to happen either with a user’s connection or MS servers it’s going to be a major headache.

    I’m typically always connected anyway, but if it were to happen at MS side and stop me playing games I would be raging.

    They need to be careful, especially since MS don’t really have exclusives the way Sony does.

  • I really can’t help but laugh at the sheer stupidity of this bloke. Deal with it you say? You don’t see a problem with always-on consoles?

    Okay then champ, I wasn’t going to buy the next Xbox anyway, but cheers for giving me another reason not to. I WOULD NEVER purchase a console that REQUIRES an internet connection for a variety of reasons,

    Oh and hey dickhead, have fun “dealing” with your piss poor sales figures and the resulting fallout. I’m the the consumer, I don’t have to deal with any product I don’t want to. It’s called choice & competition. This generation I own all three consoles, if all the companies are going down this route I’ll be quitting gaming. Excluding the principle of the matter, I simply don’t live in an area where I can acquire a reliable connection with a reasonable data allowance,

    So, deal with THAT you arrogant twat.

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