First with the introductions. Adam Orth is the creative director for games at Microsoft. He sent out a tweet, in response to rumors that the next XBOX is going to require always-on internet, that basically said he didn’t get what the problem was.
To which many a person replied. Orth then compared internet access to electricity, in that it’s just always there.
A few points. Point the first.
Now, I’m no rocket scientist but I do knows my
stuff things. My electricity goes down maybe twice per year and I might suffer a brownout or two (where it drops and comes back suddenly). My internet however, goes down more than a few times per week due to multiple issues, the least of which is a crappy router. My provider, as reliable as they are, still are not anywhere close to the reliability of electricity. And I live in a high urban area. My friends in the burbs or in the country, well they either don’t have access at all or suffer through horrendous service and garbage speeds.
I know people who live year round near my cottage have no internet other than tethering to a phone, facing north, in a special 4in x 4in corner, with no clouds, and no one can move while the internet is up.
Has Mr Orth been living in a cave this past month? Year? There wasn’t a day in March that didn’t talk about SimCity and the always-on requirement. Hell, it (partly) cost the CEO of EA his job. Diablo 3 is standing right behind you, same with the UPlay from Ubisoft. Steam is somewhere there smiling too, what with the offline mode and all. Always-on is clearly not ready for prime time. Unless you want to cut your market share.
Point the 3rd.
It is hard to believe that someone so highly placed within MS think this way. Even more so when it comes to the gaming division. I have such a hard time believing it that I am beginning to think that his account was hacked. That truly seems to be a more reasonable answer to this. Or, the entire point of the tweet was to gauge the public’s readiness – maybe. That seems too meta for MS though.
Here’s what I’m thinking is going to happen next. Orth is going to tweet a clarification of some sort (or move companies). Microsoft is going to modify their always-on requirement so that offline play is possible. There will continue to be massive speculation about always on until MS comes out with an official statement. Until that statement, every discussion about that console is going to likely be negative press.