Bad Microsoft PR spelling doom for new Xbox launch?

Bradley Wint
By: - 6th Apr 2013
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Has a bit of bad PR already ruined some of Microsoft’s sales on its next Xbox?

If it’s anything we’ve learnt is that gamers hate ‘always-on’ video games. SimCity was a shining example of how an always-on game could ruin the general experience should the gamer have a crappy connection or no Internet access at all. Let’s face it, even Steam can get quite annoying when it requires you to go online just to get the client running to launch certain games.

Adam Orth, Creative Director at Microsoft Studios, didn’t seem to care about what gamers thought about always-on gaming, saying:

Sorry, 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. #dealwithit

He also got into an argument with Manveer Heir, the Senior Gameplay Designer at BioWare, taking a stab at those who don’t exactly live in “connected” areas. While they both cleared up the exchange as just them trolling each other, the Internet has not taken kindly to Orth’s initial statement. The image which was posted to Reddit and NeoGAF, amassed over 1 million views with a thread full of hate comments and retaliation toward the idea of an always-on system. Of course the CSI investigators were all over Orth’s LinkedIn profile and even dug up more history of him saying “F*** HALO” in an interview with David Jaffe.

Orth quickly changed his Twitter profile to private after being unable to deal with the onslaught of negative feedback.


Of course Microsoft issued a statement an entire day later apologizing for his behaviour.

“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.”

The truth about the matter is that we still don’t know if the next Xbox will or will not feature the dreaded always-on option. In reality it’s not a bad feature, but can get annoying those few times when your Internet is on the fritz. Also, if you live in area where Internet access if limited for whatever reason, it could pose a major setback.

While there’s been some back and forth about the issue, it’s clear that a bit of bad PR could spell disaster for a product’s branding long before it even goes on sale. Many Redditors and NeoGAF forum members have already vowed to skip the next Xbox in favour of the PS4 (even die-hard Xbox players). Of course we don’t know what their final decision will be, but it’s clear that Orth has had a history of being a smack talker and having ‘douchebag-like’ ways at his previous places of employment. It’s a shame that Microsoft overlooked this when hiring him. Even if they said that his views don’t always represent that of the company, it’s not like they were posted in a private forum. The entire Internet could see them, meaning that once it got out into the open, he would have no control over how the Internet interpreted his statements.

Now that the Internet hates Orth and is already ridiculing him in meme form, what does this mean for the next Xbox? Has Microsoft already lost some of its fan base even before getting off the blocks? Situations like this remind us of why we should be careful of what we say on the web, especially when we have some kind of command in the industry. It’s not like he was a janitor at Microsoft, he held the position of Creative Director which pretty much has its ranks. It’s clear that he’s in support of the idea, but structuring opinions doesn’t seem to be his forte.

[Cover Image: quickmeme]

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