On Thursday, Microsoft Studios creative director Adam Orth sent out a slew of tweets implying that he sees nothing wrong with rumors of Microsoft’s next Xbox, codenamed Durango, requiring an “always-on” Internet connection to function. Unsurprisingly, the backlash from users was massive, and although Orth ended up setting his Twitter account to private to hide them from the general public, by then the damage had already been done.
Microsoft on Friday released an official statement regarding the tweets:
We apologize for the inappropriate comments made by an employee on Twitter yesterday. 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. We are very sorry if this offended anyone, however we have not made any announcements about our product roadmap, and have no further comment on this matter.
If you’re just tuning in now, here’s the background story. Before Orth set his account to private, NeoGAF grabbed a few screenshots of the tweets he sent out:
As you can see, Orth never publicly acknowledged or referred to the Durango nor the Xbox, but he did say “console” and it was quite clear what rumors he was referring to. Reports of the upcoming gaming system having the supposed limitations have been circulating for months, with the most detailed ones coming from Kotaku and The Verge.
It’s very surprising that Orth would make such comments publicly, whether they are his personal opinion or not. Given his relatively important position at the company, it’s not a big surprise that most would take his comments as confirmation the Durango will indeed have the so-called “feature.”
Again, here’s the quote that got everyone so rattled last night and throughout this morning: “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.”
It’s mind-boggling how one can think this, sure, but it’s even more surprising that he thought it was okay to tweet about it. There’s a difference between devices that are “always-on” and devices that purposefully limit functionality when they’re not connected. When I’m in the subway or on a plane, I can use my smartphone to check the time, or even… play games.
While Microsoft’s apology is appreciated, everyone knows issuing one when things get out of hand is just business as usual. If the Durango does indeed have the dreaded requirement, statements like “the customer centric approach we take to our products” will only add insult to injury.
We’ll know soon enough. Microsoft is expected to reveal the new Xbox as soon as this month or next.
Top Image Credit: jamiemc/Flickr