Microsoft Creative Director Defends Always-Online, Insults Customers, Murders Logic…All In One Day!
from the the-dark-side-is-strong-in-this-one dept
Remember that whole SimCity thing, where the always online requirement of the game turned into launch failures, massive backlash, and caused EA/Maxis to lie like it was their job? Yeah, good times. It was almost as if the whole debacle was some kind of how-not-to-do-video-games piece of performance art. Well, the good news is that everyone in the video game industry has learned their lesson, realizing that they need to treat their customers with respect and understand that their demands fuel sales, which means not including requirements they don’t want. Yup, they all get it now. We won.
Hint: If all of you aren’t laughing like this by now, your sarcasm detector needs tuning
Image source: CC BY-SA 2.0
Just kidding! You see, amid heavy speculation that the next Xbox from Microsoft will require some form of always-online component, Microsoft’s Creative Director Adam Orth decided now was the time to head to Twitter for what appears to be an “insulting customers and forgetting logic” incantation that I can only imagine is intended to Bloody Mary his career. Let me first stress two things: the rumors about the Xbox are not confirmed, and Orth does not make mention of the Xbox specifically. Instead, Orth tweeted:
“Sorry, I don’t get the drama around having an “always on” console. Every device is “always on”. That’s the world we live in. #dealwithit”
Except that isn’t true, of course. My iPad isn’t always online. Neither is my phone. Or, hell, my damned computer. In fact, come to think of it, this side of a couple of poorly thought-out pieces of gaming software, I don’t know that I own a single device that is required to always be online. And what about potential customers that might not have access to reliable internet connections? Or might not have connections at all? Well, according to Orth:
“Those people should definitely get with the times and get the internet. It’s awesome.”
It’s hard to imagine a more out of touch dismissal of a reasonable question. There are people who, for a variety of reasons, don’t have reliable connections. Broadband penetration in the United States is pretty wide, but in terms of speed and reliability we’re well behind the rest of the industrialized world, 15th out of 30 in penetration and 26th globally in terms of speed. And that doesn’t even take into account less common circumstances, such as those serving abroad that might not have access to the internet for a host of reasons. You’re simply telling them to “get with the times?”
But if you thought that was bad, Orth then goes completely off the logic rails in what he thinks is a rebuttal to shoddy internet connections.
“Sometimes the electricity goes out. I will not purchase a vacuum cleaner. The mobile reception in the area I live in is spotty and unreliable. I will not buy a mobile phone.”
This is where I get really, really pissed off. If you want an always online system and if you want to dismiss part of a potential customer base in the process, go ahead. I don’t think it’s smart, but it’s your business, do what you want. But when you start filling my eyes with bullshit like the above, you’ve gone too far. See, the thing is that a vacuum cleaner isn’t a device that could run without electricity but was designed to not work unless it had it. Always electrified isn’t a choice for vacuum cleaners. And with spotty mobile coverage, guess what, sir? If I couldn’t use the damned phone due to crappy coverage, you’re damned right I wouldn’t spend the money on the phone. Who would? But even so, the very nature of the phone requires coverage. It isn’t a manufacturer choice, it’s the nature of the device. Game consoles, most software, and a host of other technology products, on the other hand, opt in to always-online. Pretending those analogies are the same is a further insult to your consumers, who you must think are too stupid to know better.
So, to recap simply, we don’t know if the new Xbox will have an always-online requirement, but we do know that Microsoft has a real problem at the head of one of its departments. Perhaps someone should explain to Adam Orth that insulting customers isn’t the best way to do business. Personally, I’d like to see that explanation written on the back of his termination papers.