Microsoft’s Adam Orth, The “Always-On” Tweeter, No Longer With The Company

Microsoft’s Adam Orth, The “Always-On” Tweeter, No Longer With The Company

According to a report on Game Informer, Adam Orth, the Microsoft creative director who last week upset some folks with his comments about always-online technology, is no longer with the company.

A source close to Orth tells Kotaku that Orth resigned from the company and was not fired.

Responding to a Kotaku report that claimed the system would require a constant connection to the internet, Orth made several comments such as “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.”

His outbursts, which included some snarky comments about the merits of living in certain cities, prompted an apology from Microsoft, who said “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.”

Asked for confirmation from Microsoft, Kotaku was told by a spokesperson “We do not comment on private personnel matters.”

Following Twitter Tirade, Microsoft Creative Director Adam Orth No Longer With Microsoft [Game Informer]


        • I’m serious. It just seems a bit too convenient, kinda like how politicians leak their policies prior to launching them. It’s a very clever way to do a bit of focus testing. The guy was deliberately inflamatory, so the tweets ended up on every gaming news site out there. Commentary was forthcoming, which can really show the execs at Microsoft what the public really think.
          Also, that profile picture – it’s like it was designed to be disliked.

          • But the commentary was already forthcoming, so the execs could already see what people thought. This guy’s tweets were in response to the commentary, not trying to generate some.


    Gaming enthusiasts, please stop flipping your goddamn shit every time someone says something dumb on Twitter. This guy did NOT deserve to be fired.

      • Was he a shitty employee though? We don’t know that. I’d never heard of the guy until his twitter convo blew up last week. Maybe he did a great job.

          • Nonsense. An employee is the work he produces. Being a bastard doesn’t affect your output, it just means people won’t like you very much. Not everyone is meant to be liked.

          • Yes and no, if part of your employment is to be an advocate for the brand then yes misrepresentation and ignoring policy is the sign of being a shifty employee.

          • Really? I’d say in most workplaces (especially creative ones) a persons ability to be a part of a team and be friends with everyone is very important, bastards make going to work less enjoyable and bring everyone down.

          • Yeah, Moop’s got the most accurate definition of being a ‘good’ employee so far. Being a bastard at work, slagging off clientele and/or posting inside jokes on twitter that can very easily be taken out of context on such a public forum are good examples of unprofessional conduct. He might be a good guy to work with and a decent guy in general, but, for good or ill, Orth’s action were an exercise in poor judgement.

          • Every big company I have worked for recently has a policy around what you say on social media. If you are not an authorised spokesperson, then you need to disassociate yourself from the company. He should have said something like “this is my personal feeling and doesn’t represent my employer” or removed his job title from his Twitter account, or even better, kept his mouth shut.

          • When I worked for The Man one of the first things they told us is that if you’re approached by the media, you say “no comment” and direct them to the PR department. Microsoft probably have the same policy.

          • Well I’d say there’s probably a clause in his contract about comments made regarding work on social media. Hell I work in a very small company and even I have clauses in my contract about what I’m not allowed to mention on social media. Say I went and bagged out an architect we’re working with, nobody would probably see it anyway in my case but my boss would be in the right to take disciplinary action.

            In this guys case his comments not only ended up firmly in the public spotlight, but they were pretty much guaranteed to. I mean he was directly addressing the public and being completely antagonistic. Maybe he didn’t deserve to be FIRED, but he definitely deserved disciplinary action. Some sort of repercussions shouldn’t have come as a surprise after his comments is all I’m saying.

          • Start some arguments with your clientele over Twitter and be disrespectful towards them while having your twitter status set to your position at work & your company. Let me know how that works out for you.

          • @mattm
            How about I post tweets about how stupid public liability claims and legislation can be at times? Oh wait no one cares.

          • @ Matthew K

            Ah – I see. You work in insurance. No wonder you don’t care about offending anyone.

          • I’m thinking that the more these cases happen, the more that people will realise that facebook, twitter and such are not your damned soapboxes. When you say something in a public place where everyone can see/hear you are colouring their perception of you and by extension things you are connected to.

            Employers have a right to not have their reputation tarnished by some idiot who can’t control his mouth in public. If those comments were just ‘regular trolling’ with a good friend then why the hell were they not over an IM or private?

            That is the way things are and sometimes idiots have to learn the hard way that there are certain things you only post under pseudonyms.

          • If your employee is telling its target ‘to deal with it’ and (based on response so far) potentially cost the company millions of dollars because they’re no longer buying your product, you’re gone.

          • Totally agree. Don’t get in the way of the circlejerk though, you’ll be run over by the stampede

          • I work for a big multinational. Part of my contract is about “Social network responsibility”, Basically you have to keep your mouth shut about anything to do with the company and your work there. Even remotely related gets investigated with “appropriate responses”, usually warnings, but there have been firings. The work around is having a work account and a social account. That’s what I do.

        • He may have been the best, most hard-working employee ever, but in order to save face and look like they care about the people whinging about this guy, they chose to fire him. They’d rather lose a valuable staff member than potentially lose a bunch of customers.
          I’m sure it makes the other employees of Microsoft feel so very appreciated and secure in their jobs…

        • Matthew K – he was a shitty employee. Sure, he may have done his day-to-day tasks well, but thats not why he was fired. He’s done massive damage to the brand. There’s no getting around that.

        • The guy was “Creative Director”. How much creativity have you seen coming out of MS lately? They churn out sequels to existing franchises, casual bullshit for Kinect and a whole bunch of non-gaming related bullshit.

          Regardless of what he did or didn’t say on Twitter, this guy was a bad creative director because he obviously hadn’t directed any creativity for years.

          • Bullshid. There is more cool shit coming out of microsoft research than the stinky lower intestine of Sir Howard Stringer.

            Two words: IllumiRoom

    • Did you read the full transcript though? He kinda did… He pretty much declared the customer was wrong and should just STFU and stop whinging. He’s a lead executive and should conduct himself better.

      The same thing occured with the whole Jay Wilson “Fuck that loser” comment, except in this case Adam Orth kept putting fuel on the fire.

      I work for Dell now, and since they bought our company we’ve learnt many things about social media and how to conduct yourself… If I said the same things about a Dell product I know I’d have my ass handed to me.

      • While he was tweeting publically, he was mainly joking around with a friend. I understand he has to represent his brand and Microsoft is probably especially conscious of the effect the “always on” rumours are going to have on sales, but this response feels entirely disproportionate.

        • That one word, publicly, makes all the difference. Joke all you want about the company you work for in private with your friends, but not in a public medium like Twitter where you tweets can be viewed anywhere by anyone.

          • And reactions like this are going to prevent companies from engaging with their customers in any way other than buzzwords and press releases. Let’s just go ahead and subvert the entire point of social media because a few people can’t take a joke.

          • On this part I almost agree. We don’t get much ‘Real Talk’. Not as much as I’d like.

            The problem with RealTalk is that this was just one guy and it was his personal opinion. It could just as easily have been something racist or sexist or whatever, and had a similar result.

            The thing about getting RealTalk from a company is that you need it to come from someone who can actually assure everyone that he IS talking real on behalf of the company. So, for example, see pretty much anything Smedley says for SoE, Gaben for Valve, Pitchford for Gearbox. Positions of power, or private companies (not publicly listed and thus not beholden to the perception-based share price).

            This was some random dude in charge of one of their projects, but not the project relevant to the larger discussion. But in our desperate hunger for RealTalk, we point to this little nothing as indicative of the obviously hidden truthiness running rampant behind the meticulously-curated PR spin (ie: LIES!!) we’re carefully spoonfed through our news-site/blog feeds.

          • Absolutely spot on. We all want transparency and freedom, until we don’t want it anymore because somebody will eventually say something even remotely offensive, and all that pent up faux rage gets vented upon the hapless soul who happened to have a contrary opinion.

        • No he wasn’t. He was lying about it being a conversation with a friend, it was blatantly obvious. Hardly any of his tweets had that friend tagged.

    • I dunno man. He got enough attention to put Microsoft in a bad light and I am sure they do not want that. He should’ve really thought about what could happen before posting such comments.

    • You’re quite wrong there. With the condescending attitue, the disregard for company policy in letting out secrets regarding an upcoming platform and his sheer disregard for the consumer base? He definitely was not suited to his position. MS decided on his fate, not the public.

      • Did he let out secrets though? He was commenting on the reaction to some rumours. He didn’t confirm or deny if said rumours were accurate. Should people really be able to be fired for being condescending? Sure, the remarks about how those customers who don’t have their 360s online should just “get the internet” were slightly off but destroying a man’s career over it? Why is this considered a positive or even reasonable outcome?

        • Matthew K – have you been in the workforce long? I’ve seen people fired for a hell of a lot less than a global faux pas like that. I also didn’t get the “joke” part either. Given the number of your replies though I’d say you have vested interest in this somehow.

          • I’ve been in the workforce for 14 years.

            I don’t have a vested interest here, I was just attempting to respond to the voluminous responses my initial comment received. I have since written this off as a lost cause. Everyone else seems to think this man deserved to lose his livelihood over a few misplaced words on Twitter, so whatever.

          • Like Matthew K ‘Given the number of my replies’ Im just interested in the topic too. The guys a douche. Im at home doing assignments and every so often I need a break so I browse Kotaku or play a game on Steam. Im 35 and have worked in marketing, retail, IT and various industries. He did let out secrets when via his discourse he revealed the always on nature of the new Xbox. He’s an employee who mentioned it, this wasn’t speculation by a website, this was an employee of the company, a far more credible source. As an employee he is a representative of said company. I’ve fired people myself in the past for behaviour like this, not twitter, this was ‘pre internet (well, pre social media)’ days when we busted people conversing at conferences and things like that, flaunting their egos. It hasn’t ‘destroyed’ his career, he did that the moment he took to a public forum like twitter to do so. He and his friend could SMS each other quite easily, or facebook each other with messages privately. Twitter has an audience and they very well knew this so the end result is very much justified. What they don’t need is to be patted on the back and told ‘Hey, it’s ok, this kind of negative behaviour is all good! Just don’t do it again.’ When they’ve dragged the companies proverbial face over the cheesegrater.

        • “He was commenting on the reaction to some rumours.”

          And when the critisim came back he proceeded to make immature and arrogant comments back at the users. See case in point when he compared the discussion to mobile phones.

          “Should people really be able to be fired for being condescending?”

          Of cause they should! No one deserves to have treated in a condensending manner. Such behavior is unwarrented and unacceptable in public so why should it be any different via electronic means?

          Microsoft, like most other corporations, is bound to have a code of conduct and I would not be surprised that if the document surfaces it would clearly show he violated it.

          “Sure, the remarks about how those customers who don’t have their 360s online should just “get the internet” were slightly off but destroying a man’s career over it?”

          Slightly off? They were outright attacks at those who disagreed with him. To say “has a glass jaw” does not even begin to describe Orth.

          And finally, his career is not destroyed. His current employment has been terminated. If Orth has trouble getting employment afterwards due to his comments that is his own fault and he has to own the consequences.

    • If you’re dumb enough to slag off your companies consumers in a public forum you deserve to lose your job. It’s the same as if he walked in to an EB Games and started belittling the people buying Microsoft products in store. Not acceptable.

    • Why blame people for getting upset? The opposite response allows one to be a dickhead without getting pulled up for it.

      If anyone this is another example of Microsoft management being cockholes. This guy just said what the perception within the company is, regardless of Microsoft denying this. to be the case.

    • Except he wasn’t fired. He was a stubborn person just like that guy “working” as a contracted artist for the Blizzard card game and talking shit about Tiny Tina being racist.
      “…Orth resigned from the company and was not fired.”

    • Frankly I agree in principle, but this is probably the first time I have disagreed on one of these things in practice. This isn’t a graphic artist commenting on how games are too easy these days, it’s the creative director of the next xbox displaying he’s utterly out of touch with what people want in the next xbox, and even more worrying, scarily out of touch with the reality of understanding facts vs personal bias. His personal opinion is very much 100 % without a doubt relevant to his ability to perform his occupation, especially as a ‘creative’ director where you’re not just performing rote workings like using a set equation to solves problems, but instead drawing on various experiences and personal knowledge and feelings to innovate.

      I’ll concede it was straight up unfair (assuming he didn’t resign for ‘unrelated reasons) if the next xbox does come with an always-on requirement, which is quite possible I’d say, but as it stands this guy basically stood up and said to the world ‘I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a console with a feature that adds nothing beneficial for the consumer but has the possibility to screw them over.’ Or, to paraphrase, “I shouldn’t be the head of anything related to designing a major worldwide console.’

    • So he took it upon himself to publicly respond to concerns raised by consumers with #dealwithit, damaging his employer’s reputation and potentially raising concerns with investors that his tweets may affect product sales and he doesn’t deserve to be fired?

  • Wow.. That didn’t take long at all. Probably a wise move on Microsofts behalf.

    Hopefully Adam has learnt his lesson and won’t say such stupid shit on social media again at his next job about the companies upcoming products.

  • Was I the only person that enjoyed his statements? Sure they’re not a ringing endorsement for Microsoft but it’s nice to hear someone be frank about things.

    • Frank is ok, condescending isn’t. Qualifier is: when you are (or perceived to be) representing a business. If he wants to be a jerk on his own time thats fine, but the line he wlaked was just too blurred.

      • He was definitely in the wrong. I just enjoyed that he didn’t hold back, it’s very refreshing to see someone from a major corporation do that.

        Hell, there are some things that I can’t say on Twitter or Facebook and I was just a low level admin/IT guy. Well, I can now that I don’t work where I used to work but I won’t.

    • No. His comments came across as elitist rich.
      To someone like myself who doesn’t earn a big salary those kind of comments are really insulting.

      • “His comments came across as elitist rich.”

        I wouldn’t say elitist right. Being one requires having some form of respect and intelligence Orth clearly showed he traded both aprior for Microsoft Points!

        • I don’t understand what you’re saying.

          I mean he sounded like a rich dick who thinks poor people should solve their troubles by being rich.
          And that offends me, because I am not rich.

  • It’s sucks whenever someone loses their job, but lets look at Microsoft’s history here. They are the best known company for saying ” We don’t comment on speculation and rumour” – that old chestnut.

    Orth did exactly the opposite of that in an extremely public setting. There was only one course of action MS was ever gonna take, regardless of the impact it actually had or not.

  • Idiots saying stupid things on the internet are a dime a dozen – but he did it while supposedly representing Microsoft so if they decided to fire him then that’s their business.

    But hopefully this event will make Microsoft realise that an always online console (if they are indeed doing that) might not be the most welcomed idea.

  • Read this very carefully…

    “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.”

    That does not say that this guy wasn’t speaking the company rhetoric. His “views” do not reflect the “customer centric approach”, meaning: “we wouldn’t say it this way”. But the reality is, what he said IS the perception within the company.

    The fact they fired him for saying what they all believe makes them a weak pack of assholes.

    • You’re an asshole and a loser if you think somebody losing their living is a good thing because he upset you on the internet.

      What he did showed terrible judgement and Microsoft had every right to sack him because of the negative press he caused to their very expensive project. Individual nerds celebrating because he upset them need to grow up.

  • Sucks that he got fired but it showed amazingly poor judgement. From Microsoft’s perspective he caused a considerable amount of negative press for a project worth hundreds of millions of dollars which hasn’t even been announced yet. They didn’t HAVE to sack him but I don’t blame them for doing it at all.

    The losers who got upset about the things he said are losers. Just wanted to get that in.

  • Pretty sure he would have broken an IT policy to say what he said. When I was at a recent employer the IT policy forbid people posting in forums, tweeting etc.

    Anyway, no replies plz, I don’t really care.

  • The damage that Orth caused was immense. Nobody likes an arrogant company that tells you to deal with it – Sony made that mistake when it launched the PS3.

    I’m not sure why there’s some debate about this? This has always been the world we live in.

    Last year a greek athlete was kicked out of the Olympics for a racist joke she made on twitter. Do you know what it does to an athletes career to miss out on the Olympics? They don’t run that event every year you know, and the window of being an Olympic level athlete is very small.

    But that’s what happens when you are held responsible for representing an organisation. If you want the benefits ( a job, a spot at the Olympics) you have to respect the organisation’s public image.

    That saying “the customer is always right” has nothing to do with the customer being right, and everything to do with public image. It’s better to be humble and take the cost of placating a stupid customer than to take the much larger cost associated with negative publicity. If you don’t understand this and think it’s okay to publicly make the company you represent look really bad, then you don’t deserve the job you have.

    • Damage that Orth caused was immense? Seriously, get a grip. The entire Diablo 3/SimCity online on DRM business is the biggest pent up faux nerdrage beatup story of the year. We’ll all look back on it a few years down the track, and people like you will probably be the ones saying ‘haha look at us trying to fight always-online. Now everything is always online. They sure were foollish’

      happens all the f-ing time. iPhone, DLC, remember the faux outrage when PC games first started releasing patches when the internet got fast enough? I remember all the “OMG this is outrageous. Companies should not be releasing games that need patching later. I’m never buying from them ever again”. Didn’t last long either.

      • Nerdrage beatup? Of course it is a bit, but you don’t think these gaffs cost real money?

        Blizzard killed heaps of goodwill around the Diablo franchise and pushed a chunk of it’s customers over to Torchlight because of Diablo 3’s always online and auction house. Every Diablo 2 player was looking forward to Diablo 3 – but how many people are now looking forward to Diablo 4? How many tens of millions of future dollars are lost now because of Diablo 3? How many extra millions of dollars will have to be put into marketing for Diablo 4 to convince people to give it another go?

        Ubisoft abandoned it’s online DRM scheme, because it did the numbers and realised that the cost of implementing it’s DRM and generating all that negative publicity was MORE than the loss of unchallenged piracy.

        Negative publicity in companies this large costs tens of millions of dollars.

        But in a way, you’re right, the damage isn’t “immense” relative to the size of the company, the nerdrage won’t make or break them, but it’s still an order of magnitude more than the benefit of retaining one loud-mouthed employee. I would fire an employee if they made me lose 5 customers for being an asshole – how many customers has Orth turned away?

        Customers > Employees, because it’s a lot easier to replace an employee than it is to replace a customer.

        And of course eventually everything will be always-online and we’ll be used to it, but that time isn’t now. I personally don’t have much of a problem with always-online – my comment was never about that, but rather about the cost of negative publicity. I’m not a big fan of always-online, but I actively hate companies being arrogant and telling their customers to stop whining, live in a place with better internet and “deal with it”. If you run a business you respect your customers, or you won’t be running a business for long.

  • Did he jump or was he pushed? Probably a bit of both, but one thing is for sure – his career options at MS were very limited after his comments on Twitter. Microsoft takes public comments very seriously – anything released to the public needs to vetted by their legal team first (and I mean anything). The penalties for breaching this protocol are severe.

  • @kermitron Unfortunately people in powerful positions making these decisions have the ability to move products in directions that are completely at odds with reality. Like “always-on” doesn’t work with flakey unreliable or insufficient internet connectivity. E.g. a large portion of Australia. 2 weeks ago our entire street lost ADSL connectivity due to rain. Half day outage. Workplace with 60 people working in the IT industry with no internet. What would have happened if we all used “always on” software?

  • So he was forced to resign? Seems a little harsh….. But I guess a company like Microsoft can’t afford to have any employees putting them in a bad light on social networks; it doesn’t help either that you could almost call what he said a confirmation that Microsoft is seriously looking into always-online, if not backing it for their next console.

    • nothing harsh about it.
      He was in Microsoft as their “creative director”, so he was always going to be under public scrutiny and also under the eye of Microsoft.

      He was being condescending and an asshole to people who didnt have his income or stable internet quality privileges. He got what he deserved and he should have always been aware that he would always be under such scrutiny when it comes to social media. the companies I have worked for and currently work for have always had that clause of saying “keep off social media when talking about us” and its something I entirely agree with. I hate the company I work for right now but even after I stop working for them I wont tell them what I think of them in a public manner. That looks bad on them AND on me for future prospective employers. My ass over theirs. always

  • Also remember that Shareholders are just as important a customer base as the consumers of the products that microsoft release. Comments like this that create this publicity, regardless of the depth of the comment itself, will have a huge effect on people who have a vested monetary interest in a company. We are pissy over the potential “always on” of the next X-Box (not me personally but gamers as a whole) but, we can choose to make a difference by not spending money when the time comes. Shareholders can choose to make a difference now with the money already invested in the business. All it takes is a sizable mass of people to sell shares because they thinks this news will ultimately affect how much their money is worth which will drive the price down, which will spread to other shareholders

  • sometimes theres no accounting for personal taste. sadly thats not smething that can cost you your job unless you speak out about- oh wait…

  • Is this an indirect conformation that the next Xbox isn’t online? If the guy was defending always online and the next Xbox was always online I think he’d probably still have his job and be told to shut up. If his defence of always online got him fired, perhaps Microsoft doesn’t want to be associated with the concept of always online.

    I could be wrong, maybe he got fired for representing the company poorly, or photocopying his ass.

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