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Microsoft Game Director Adam Orth Resigns Following Xbox Comments 261

Posted by timothy
from the just-don't-get-it dept.
DavidGilbert99 writes "According to anonymous sources, Microsoft's game director Adam Orth has left the company following a series of comments on Twitter about the rumoured always-on aspect of the next generation Xbox console. It is still unclear if Orth left voluntarily or was pushed out but either way it's not good news for Microsoft." If you'd prefer your news without obnoxious auto-playing video ads (with sound!), IGN reports Orth's departure, too.
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Microsoft Game Director Adam Orth Resigns Following Xbox Comments

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  • Fantastic. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by popoutman (189497) * on Thursday April 11, 2013 @08:49AM (#43421333) Journal
    This is one appropriate course of action for someone in that position that made those comments. However it should have been treated publicly as a firing offence though instead of a graceful exit, as most companies I know would have seen these communications as an example of gross incompetence and would have treated accordingly.
    • Re:Fantastic. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gameboyhippo (827141) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @09:50AM (#43421809) Journal

      Sometimes a person can be both gracious and just. Nobody is perfect and will make mistakes in their career. So if we would not like to be publically humiliated, why call on Microsoft to publically humiliate Orth? So what if it's a PR disaster. Things happen.

      If you're just upset about Microsoft's always on DRM, then buy a Wii U or PS4.

      • Re:Fantastic. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@RABBI ... minus herbivore> on Thursday April 11, 2013 @10:00AM (#43421915) Journal

        why call on Microsoft to publically humiliate Orth?

        Exactly. he deserves our support, not this tarring and feathering. At least he was honest and said what others at Microsoft clearly thought and intended, but were too sly to admit publicly. Those sly, dishonest people are the only ones who've been damaged by his comments..

        Thanks to him, potential buyers of this product know what they're facing. Any potential customers here should be thanking him for giving them the heads-up.

        • Re:Fantastic. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Tridus (79566) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @11:04AM (#43422455) Homepage

          When he started saying stuff like "why would anyone want to live there?" in response to comments about not having quality broadband available everywhere in the US, he stepped across the line into general jackass territory.

        • by dstyle5 (702493)
          "Thanks to him, potential buyers of this product know what they're facing. Any potential customers here should be thanking him for giving them the heads-up."

          Actually they don't, because nothing has been formally announced or proven beyond a doubt yet about what Microsoft's next device requires. If anything we can thank him for showing Microsoft and other gaming companies just how much people loathe always online.
      • by poetmatt (793785)

        This is absolutely and entirely incorrect. Nobody pushed MS to do anything, they chose to do it on their own. They could have left him with the company.

        Orth deserves no support here. He said the most intellectually dishonest things that could possibly be said. That's not defensible.

        • He said the most intellectually dishonest things that could possibly be said.

          What did he say that was more intellectually dishonest than;

          “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.”

          Are you sure you're not getting things mixed up here?

        • Orth deserves no support here. He said the most intellectually dishonest things that could possibly be said. That's not defensible.

          I don't see it as intellectually dishonest. What Orth said is probably EXACTLY what the company thinks when consumers complain about it. They pushed him out because he was too honest.

          What do you think is going to happen now? The internet connection requirement is going to vanish from xbox? that Orth was somehow the evil genius behind it all? Now that he's gone the rest of microsoft will start singing ding dong the witch is dead and only do what is in our best interest? No. it's still there. They are stil

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        Because unless he was drunk it was douchebaggery and most folks hate douchebags?

        Of course the bigger problem for MSFT is the cat is now out the bag which means they won't get the early adopters that actually read the Internet, especially since Sony made it VERY clear after the whole thing broke that the PS4 will NOT be online only. But considering this is the same company that has given us such "hits" as Zune, Kin, Zune Market (boy THAT was fucking retarded, they had with playsforsure a growing rental busi

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          Of course the bigger problem for MSFT is the cat is now out the bag which means they won't get the early adopters that actually read the Internet, especially since Sony made it VERY clear after the whole thing broke that the PS4 will NOT be online only. But considering this is the same company that has given us such "hits" as Zune, Kin, Zune Market (boy THAT was fucking retarded, they had with playsforsure a growing rental business that was looking like it could compete with the Apple model and just shot it

          • by davros74 (194914)

            Microsoft eventually got this right, IMO, with the X360.

            Yes, downloaded content will only work on the original console it was purchased from (by serial number) or the Xbox Live Account. However, I suffered through no fewer than 3 red-rings of death from 2006-2009.

            The first console came back with a different board, different serial number. My content would only work by logging into Xbox Live. Royal PITA.
            Second console came back but MSFT allowed the content to be re-downloaded and authorized on my new serial

        • It is true that a lot of people hate jerks and thus are jerks towards jerks which makes them a jerk which others hate and so on and so forth. Sounds a bit too complicated. Lifes too short to live like that. (- This is usually the part where people accuse me of not living in the 'real world' when discussing more serious topics). Why not just admit he made a mistake, realize he got punished for it, and hope the best for him in his future endeavours?

          Grace, mercy, and forgiveness are freeing. Not only that

      • by Tmann72 (2473512)
        All consoles are DRM by nature. You can't take that disc and play it on any other console. A wii u game can only play on the wii u. This is a form of DRM even if you don't realize it.
        • You're correct. I think the OP's problem is a form of DRM called "Always On DRM". This prevents a product from working unless it has an active connection to a DRM server via the Internet. The Wii U does not have this since games can be played offline and, afaik, the PS4 will also not have this.

      • by Zephyn (415698)

        Sometimes a person can be both gracious and just. Nobody is perfect and will make mistakes in their career. So if we would not like to be publically humiliated, why call on Microsoft to publically humiliate Orth? So what if it's a PR disaster. Things happen.

        If you're just upset about Microsoft's always on DRM, then buy a Wii U or PS4.

        Therein lies the reason for the firing. Consider the timing here: It begins with a great deal of uncertainty and rumors regarding a possible 'always online' requirement for the upcoming generation of consoles. Sony comes out and states that they won't be implementing it, which turns all the speculation squarely at Microsoft. Microsoft remains silent on the subject, and then all of a sudden one of their employees shoots his mouth off with some highly scornful Twitter posts about gamers that are concerned abo

    • However it should have been treated publicly as a firing offence though instead of a graceful exit

      It SHOULD have been treated with a repudiation of intrusive DRM.

      The bluntness of his tweets was utterly inconsequential. MS cares about the PR disaster, but that's not the underlying issue. The fact that they think it's okay to treat their customers like they're Lance Armstrong trying to enter the Tour de France this year, is.

  • by mystikkman (1487801) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @08:53AM (#43421359)

    but either way it's not good news for Microsoft

    An employee posting company related information without clearance, especially things like "deal with it", deserved to be reprimanded at the least.

    • Crediting sources who "wish to remain anonymous"...

      For everyone but the person that leaked THIS story, of course...

    • Re:Why not? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Xest (935314) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @08:58AM (#43421389)

      That's what I thought, I don't see how "either way it's not good news for Microsoft". If the employee was incompetent because he caused harm to the company then getting rid of him is damn good news because it means he can't do it again.

      I somewhat wonder if Microsoft have been having the always-on DRM debate internally and Adam Orth was in fact on the losing side of that internal discussion and took to Twitter to bitch about consumers who don't like always-on DRM simply because he lost the internal debate on the topic to the argument that consumers will fucking hate it.

      I say this because I'd be surprised if Microsoft do go the always on DRM route, I don't think even MS is that stupid, but time will tell I guess.

      Either way, good fucking riddance. This is one of those few things every once in a while Microsoft does that is absolutely right and that they absolutely shouldn't be faulted for. This guy was an idiot.

      • Re:Why not? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @09:01AM (#43421403) Homepage Journal

        I say this because I'd be surprised if Microsoft do go the always on DRM route, I don't think even MS is that stupid, but time will tell I guess.

        Stupid might not be the right word. "Being stuck inside the corporate bubble" but be better. "Arrogant" might be another.

      • Re:Why not? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by RogueyWon (735973) * on Thursday April 11, 2013 @09:08AM (#43421437) Journal

        Indeed.

        I think the other point that dropped out of the discussion in this particular case (though plenty of people have brought it up elsewhere) is that people don't so much fear always-online requirements because they're worried their net connect might blip out (though that's a perfectly fair concern), but rather because they can see the thin end of the wedge approaching and recognise always-online as a direct underpinning for blocks on used games and rentals.

        MS may be getting a lot of pressure from game developers to implement those blocks, but to do so would be absolutely suicidal given customers have a choice to jump to an unrestricted PS4 instead.

        • Re:Why not? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Vanderhoth (1582661) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @09:35AM (#43421665)
          Or since the next generation of consoles are x86 architecture anyway, just jump back to PC gaming. The whole reason for using the standard x86 is so developers can more easily port games between consoles and PCs. Why bother with a five to eight hundred dollar console with very few exclusive games that's going to allow MS or Sony to control your gaming library, username and passwords (Which they don't protect properly) and how and when you can you play, when you can get a PC that's going to be twice as good (spec wise), upgradeable as needed for a better experience, will have the same titles and more, allows you to do more than the console will ever allow (media server, indi development, emulator, video player, and much more) without jail breaking/hacking it and when all else fails after buying a game with a shitty DRM will allow you to download a working copy so you can play a game you paid for (Not that I've ever done that, but it's an option)?

          My personal opinion is the next generation of consoles is dead in the water. I only have a linux machine at home and with the availability of Steam and indi games, I've only turned my PS3 on in the last 10 months so my 2 year old could watch the Care Bears movie, which doesn't seem to be available on Netflix (build into my TV). I was surprised the PS3 even worked, it's one of the original consoles that had the OtherOS Feature. I was sure Sony would have bricked it by now in some update, which I don't have to worry about them doing on my PC.
          • The funny thing is, your comment just gave me a very clear idea. Microsoft really should have, instead of wasting all the time and energy into making Windows 8 and following the tablet crowd, tried to better integrate MCE as a core part of Windows and pushed developers for more 10 foot UIs--which Metro might have been good for coupled with kinetics for gesturing (emphasis on the might, since AFAIK, the issue is really MS's implementation, anyways). But, I'd guess that idea was put off because it might com

        • The Playstation 4 is only "unrestricted" in so much that Sony is not making always-on DRM a requirement for games [arstechnica.com] to play on their system (at least, right now; Sony has a habit of changing their minds about stuff like this). The Playstation 4 will, however, allow always-online DRM and you can bet that the publishers will be making use of it just as readily as they do on the PC (and are moving as far forwards with as they can on the consoles).

          I bet there's a team of accountants in Sony somewhere crunching nu

          • The Playstation 4 is only "unrestricted" in so much that Sony is not making always-on DRM a requirement for games [arstechnica.com] to play on their system (at least, right now; Sony has a habit of changing their minds about stuff like this). The Playstation 4 will, however, allow always-online DRM and you can bet that the publishers will be making use of it just as readily as they do on the PC (and are moving as far forwards with as they can on the consoles).

            So? The PC "allows" always-online DRM because it "allows" publishers to do whatever they want. The PS4 is no different in that regard. I'd rather have an open platform and simple vote with my wallet not to buy games that have that crap.

          • Sony made the right decision here. If a game publisher wants to cripple their games with always-on DRM they should have that right. And the publisher will be punished through customer outrage and lousy sales. But it's all on the publisher - their games, their risk. If the PS4 gives them the option, as rumored, any game publisher is free not to utilize it.

            Microsoft, OTOH, is mandating this for all games. Publishers reportedly can't opt out. The only way games can voice an opposition in this case is
        • I'm waiting for EA/MS or others to start offering a subscription service a la Netflix or more accurately a Cable TV company, where you pay a sub to them to get their entire catalogue.

          Basic packages give access to older games, while you can get an addon for EA Sports, an addon for EA Premium and an addon for EA DLC 'channels'.

          Would be just like them. That way you never get to own the games, or sell them on. And if you stop subscribing, then no games access for you!

        • Honestly? I'm betting it's mostly the net outages (and time spent away from the Internet in general).

  • Talking of ads ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by magic maverick (2615475) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @09:03AM (#43421417) Homepage Journal

    I'm going off topic here, but I want to make a complaint. /. has gone down hill since being bought by Dice. In the old days /. would make it clear if there was some relationship between /. a site it linked to (e.g. "Slashdot and SourceForge are both part of OSDN"). However, now this doesn't happen any more. And it should. Not only that, if a submitter is related to Dice or to /., it should be made clear. And if you are only linking to an article on /. (e.g. in the ridiculous BI or SlashCloud sections) it should also be made clear.

    Now mod me down (I shall become more powerful than you can imagine).

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      /. has gone down hill since being bought by Dice.

      Once Dice.com instituted an "always on" Internet connection policy to read Slashdot, it became nearly impossible for me to read. It's become particularly hard since I lost my job and can no longer browse and troll Twitter from work.

  • The Question is: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nyder (754090) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @09:04AM (#43421423) Journal

    How does MS feel about an always on Internet Requirement for all games on the Xbox? Obviously the customers don't like it, but does MS care what it's customers want?

    • by Zimluura (2543412)

      I think it's more of a "What does MS think they can get away with?" question. If MS does the dreaded online only DRM, then hopefully Sony won't do it and this next fight will play out like ps2 v xbox1.

      Of course, if the two companies have colluded on the matter the console space may get very unpleasant.

    • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @09:38AM (#43421703)

      Obviously the customers don't like it, but does MS care what it's customers want?

      If they did, they wouldn't have released Windows 8.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TWiTfan (2887093)

      It wouldn't surprise me to learn that one of the the reasons MS pushed the Xbox announcement back to May instead of April was because of this controversy, or to learn that there is a serious internal debate going on right now there over whether they should really go forward with the always-on requirement (their original plan) or to abandon it in light of this controversy and Sony's distancing themselves from the requirement on the PS4.

      • I'm not sure they can back out at this point. The relationships with publishers in getting exclusives and launch titles hinges on obligations like this. Remember, it's the publishers who are demanding these sorts of DRM measures more than any console manufacturer themselves, so I don't think MS could pull something so important to that relationship when the wheels are already in motion.

  • by slashmydots (2189826) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @09:07AM (#43421431)
    I don't see the problem with a job that requires you to be always hired :-P
  • by Spy Handler (822350) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @09:07AM (#43421435) Homepage Journal

    I'm not buying that shit. Neither should you.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Chrisq (894406)

      I'm not buying that shit. Neither should you.

      You obviously don't have kids saying "Dad, can I have an x-box", answer: "no".......
      Kid: "Dad, can I have an x-box", answer: "no".......
      Kid: "Dad, can I have an x-box", answer: "no".......
      Kid: "Dad, can I have an x-box", answer: "no".......
      Kid: "Dad, can I have an x-box", answer: "no".......
      Kid: "Dad, can I have an x-box", answer: "no".......
      Kid: "Dad, can I have an x-box", answer: "no".......
      ....
      Kid: "Dad, can I have an x-box", answer: "no".......
      Kid: "Dad, can I have an x-box", answer: "oh fuck i

      • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @09:19AM (#43421511)
        Dad: Here kid, I got you a Ouya!
        Kid: Waaaaahhhh!
      • by Dancindan84 (1056246) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @09:22AM (#43421529)

        Except the problem for MS isn't parents who will say, "No." It's parents who will say, "No. We're getting a PS4 instead because it has 99% of the same games and doesn't have absurd DRM requirements."

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        I hope you don't actually have kids. Giving in like that sends the wrong message.

        • by Chrisq (894406)

          I hope you don't actually have kids. Giving in like that sends the wrong message.

          True, IRL I take the opposite extreme, if I say something I will not back down. My wife thought I was taking it too far when I said "If you do that again your new game is going to the charity shop" when we'd just spent a lot of money on it, but my daughter has never ignored a threat like that since.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LordNimon (85072)

        You're doing it wrong.

        Kid: "Dad, can I have an x-box", answer: "no".......
        Kid: "Dad, can I have an x-box", answer: smacks kids across the face
        Kid: "I'm sorry, Dad"

        That's how it goes in my house.

      • That's when you visit a site like this [ranker.com] to see what sort of crappy knock-offs are available, and get one of those for the kid.

        "Daaa-aaaad! I want an X-Box!"
        "What's wrong with the eXtreme Box I got you last year? It's the same thing ain't it, except it comes with a light gun!"

        Phhht. I ain't got no sympathy for the kids. I mean, all I had was a Coleco Telestar [ultimateco...tabase.com], while everyone else had a Playstation. "It's the same thing, ain't it, except it comes with a light gun!"

      • Sounds like a great opportunity to discuss the issue at length with your kids. You may find that the XBox is just a prophylactic for some need that isn't fulfilled.

        In place of an XBox, for instance, I bought a Wii. I know it's not a hardcore gamer platform, but my kids don't play violent games. They can do that when they're older if they want; I think my son started around 16 or so. He turned out fine and only hates me as much as any teenager should.

        I get them iTunes gift cards and we build things togethe
  • by nimbius (983462) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @09:12AM (#43421471) Homepage
    ranting and bitching about Steve Ballmer for almost a decade with no results. Turns out the correct method is twitter?
  • by theurge14 (820596) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @09:21AM (#43421517)

    I'll be the first to admit I enjoy a bit of give and take with snarky comments on the Internet, but for a person in his position I though his condescending Twitter comments regarding people who dare to live in places such as Wisconsin or Virginia were a bit shocking in their arrogance. I can't say I'm surprised at all at Microsoft letting him go.

  • Advice Orth (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 11, 2013 @09:26AM (#43421571)
    Lost your job? Deal with it.
  • by EMG at MU (1194965) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @09:32AM (#43421627)
    The comments cited by TFA weren't the problem in my opinion. He has a unpopular viewpoint on a subject that a lot of his former employer's customer base feels strongly about but the other comments basically insulting people who don't live in large metro areas are the firing offence to me.

    I can't find the quotation so this is from memory but someone responded to his tweet by saying "sometimes the internet is spotty in other areas of the country like Kansas and that's why always on would suck" and Orth responded "why would anyone live there". That's pretty much a big fuck you to a large part of the country. Not a wise move to disparage millions of potential customers. I think that comment and the attitude it conveys is a bigger problem than him stating his opinion about "always on".
  • They apparently love asshats like him especially with Simcity

  • I know it's anathema for /. to praise MS but this is good.

    The guy made not only catastrophically stupid comments, but came off as arrogant and patronizing. Whether his exit is graceful or humiliating, I don't really care: it's a GOOD THING that he has departed MS.

    Whether it was a higher up 'suggesting he seek another opportunity', or him quitting after getting constant complaints about it, either way it should be clear that his beliefs are not going to be the company line at MS. That's an unmitigated good

    • either way it should be clear that his beliefs are not going to be the company line at MS

      That's not clear at all. We have no idea what the company line internally is, and one person spouting off casually might very well reflect what the rest of the direction is behind the scenes. The guy got shoved out because he made the public angry, and for no other reason.

  • Good. Because his response to criticism about always-on requirements amounted to "let them eat cake".

    If that's how you feel about your customers, don't be surprised when they decide you suck and don't want your product.

    An always-on internet requirement makes this next XBox a complete non-starter for me, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

    #dealwithit

  • THANK YOU Timothy for pointing out the link to ibitimes.com. I can't stand that site and leave every time I end up there without realizing it. Videos with sound on a business-related site? What a horrendous idea.
  • .. #dealwithit [arstechnica.com]
  • Who will be the next executive that loses his job over unpopular DRM? Surely at some point developers will weigh the costs versus the gains and realize that draconian DRM is a losing proposition.
  • probably M$ asked him to step down not because of what he said, but because he let people know ahead of time instead of them not knowing until after they bought the new XBox ...

  • by wynterwynd (265580) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @11:46AM (#43422935)

    I'm going to jump in here and buck the hivemind by saying this may have been a case of Internet overreaction and mob persecution. This guy has said multiple times that this was a snarky banter between friends on Twitter, he just had the lack of foresight to make his feed private. I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt, considering the horrible things I sometimes say to provoke my friends.

    Would you want to be held accountable to your entire customer base for your snarky conversations with your friends? If you made some wholly inappropriate out of context comment while baiting/trolling your buddies, would you want the world to treat that as not only your actual stance, but that of your employer?

    Now before the nerd rage bubbles over, let me caveat:

    At best, the guy was at least a dumbass who didn't realize how connected his life was. In a position like that, even when he's talking with friends, he's talking with the Internet and cannot help but represent his job considering how many people it affects. Games are serious business on the Intertron, and you flick the nose of your customers at your peril.

    At worst, he was the arrogant douche the internet proclaims him to be and sold himself on his company's own Kool-Aid, which is a terrible mistake in any profession and he paid the price.

    I think it's good for Microsoft that this issue was dragged out into the spotlight before the console launched - and I think it's tragic that it cost Adam a career. Let this be a lesson for people in high-profile game industry positions - you are NEVER just talking to one person on the Internet, and the public eye never blinks.

    • On the flip side, remember: Feminists making dick jokes on public twitter to a friend = perfectly fine. Feminists overhearing dick jokes between two friends = get them fired.

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